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Out with the old, in with the new!

emotional wellbeing forgiveness new year Jan 03, 2022

A new year, a new opportunity for change. Often, however, we find ourselves making the same promises and resolutions year after year. Why? Our ability to move forward in life (whether it be toward specific goals, emotional health, and growth, or personal and professional development) is dependent upon letting go and moving beyond the issues that keep us stuck. We cannot look to the future if we are putting all our energy into our past. The primary indicator of an unproductive focus is our emotional state; anger, regret, resentment, and second-guessing are all the natural outcomes of dwelling on the past. 

When we take accountability and responsibility for our choices, we will learn that we will make, in the moment, the best decisions for ourselves and the others in our lives. This empowerment also frees us from the blame and judgment that we place upon others for a perceived lack of happiness and success in our lives. Statements such as “He made me mad” or the outlook that we are doomed to fail because of the specifics of our lives (“I am bipolar” or “I had a horrible childhood”) gives up our power and prevents us from looking forward and manifesting our natural talents, skills, and gifts.

The act of forgiveness allows us to acknowledge the people, acts, and situations which impacted us in the past and make a commitment to move forward. Once we have decided that we are not willing to do anything else regarding the person, act, or situation, we get to let it go. Forgiveness does not change the past, but rather changes the past's negative impact upon our future.

Gracey's Definition of Forgiveness

You hurt me and that's not okay. I'm going to do whatever I can
to make sure you don't hurt me again. And here's your stuff back.
[your issues, your negative attitude, your bad behavior]

Forgiveness is never saying it's okay. Ever. Forgiveness is also not forgetting: we will learn lessons from our experience to help us in the future.

Forgiveness is for ourselves. If the other person benefits, it is an added bonus. And, sometimes, the person we forgive is the last person we tell, especially if telling them is viewed as an opportunity to hurt us again.

Have you ever held a resentment for a few days? Or a few decades? How did that benefit you?

And...think of the issues with which you currently struggle. How much of the issue is truly that issue, and how much of it is the emotional baggage that you continue to carry because you have chosen to not forgive.

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