Detoxification Series Part 3: Letting Go & Forgiveness
The ability to do so seems to make life more effortless, as it is the path of least resistance. Letting go takes less energy to move freely forward than it does to stew over being wronged… but sometimes, we still find ourselves hanging on. We spend a lot of our energy, time and mental space circling around the same situations that make us angry and frustrated. There are many reasons for this and they can range from the pains of injustice, appearing like a doormat unless we act on it, or perhaps the fact is that the other person is just not sorry, and not willing to make amends. For whatever reason letting go can be challenging!
However, studies support the behavior of practicing genuine forgiveness, which can lead to a more happy, healthy, and positive outlook! Part 3 of our detox series focuses on bringing awareness to the clutter and attachment we have created up in that incredible space behind our eyes, and how we can clear it out making space for some fresh, positive new perspectives!
Holding resentment and anger towards others does not in turn cause the other party any suffering, nor is it very satisfying. What it can do is distract you from listening to your inner voice – you know, the one that really knows what you need to do for yourself in order to thrive!
You’ve been hurt, but you are here now reading this. You made it through some really tough times. When you come to think of it though, those experiences have increased your capacity to be more wise, strong, thoughtful and or more careful. You’ve gained something from your experience of pain. A gift was bestowed upon you!
Robert Enright, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a leader in forgiveness research has laid how to practice forgiveness in 5 steps. So when you find yourself still dwelling on the past, why not keep this in mind? (Remember, just like everything else in life, we need to be patient with our practice, and celebrate the steps we’ve taken to nurture ourselves too!)
Admit you’ve been treated unfairly.
Express your angers and frustrations –
Vent, slam a medicine ball to the ground, pound some pavement with your running shoes, yell, cry … you get it. Do anything that helps you release (in a way that is safe for yourself and others of course). We often try to hide these parts of ourselves that deviate from the socially accepted “composed” and “happy” disposition, but there’s a reason we have so many different emotions available for the feeling. So really get into it and feel it out!
Recognize that the wrongdoer is also a person who is more than the offense at hand – It’s not just about you! Remember that insensitive behaviour can stem from one’s own hurt, life’s challenges, or straight up misunderstanding!
Accept that your pain may never go away completely – but what experience really ever leaves us unchanged?
Find meaning from the experience and grow from it.
You can’t change what has happened, but you can change how you process it, and turn that into fuel to move onwards. You are the creator of the gifts you receive in your life. I find this to be one of the most incredible aspects of being a human being! You are the maker of your gifts gained in any situation. Why not use them for fulfilling, positive pursuits and activities – something that is pleasurable for you, and actually gratifying?
Let go and grow :)
Amy Anderson. (2014). T.D. Jakes: the power to let go. Success Magazine.
Emma Johnson. (2016). How to forgive. Success Magazine.
Janis A. Springs, Ph.D. How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To. New York: HarperCollins Publishers; 2004.
Robert D. Enright, Ph.D. Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step by Step for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. Washington, DC: APA Order Department; 2001.
T.D. Jakes. Let it Go: Forgive so you can be Forgiven. New York: Atria Paperback; 2012.