There’s no end to the fuel we could use to feed our sadness, regrets, and doubts. But permitting the ghosts of our past to have a life of their own today will not help us recover from emotional exhaustion. We all have people, events, and memories in our background that haunt us, confuse us, and throw us for a loop at the most unsuspecting moments. It’s easy to lament the past and play the role of victim. We can also be consumed with profound doubts about our present and future based on earlier trauma.
Are you keeping yourself from inner healing because you continue to look at past events? What do you think would happen if you revisited some of the old ghost towns that haunt your memories? It would be a wonderful first step to removing the emotional pain that slows you down, keeps you burned out and exhausted, and prevents you from becoming the person God designed you to be.
To determine if memories of your past are controlling your present, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What negative memories seem to haunt me? Which events, and the pain they cause, are still vivid, as though they just happened?
2. What words or voices from the past are still ringing in my mind today?
If you find the past pain still has power over you today, you need to begin moving out of your past and into the present. Start moving out of the ghost town of the past by reminding yourself daily that those negative events are over and they no longer affect you. Think about the good things of the present and be thankful for them. Think about each of your abilities and gifts and how each has played a part in making you the unique person you are.
You will have to make a daily decision to dismiss the hurtful memories of the past and concentrate on the positive things of today until the past no longer controls your thoughts. The choice is yours. It will require some risk and demand a deeper trust of yourself—but that will only enhance your personal growth and your capacity to forgive yourself and others.
Forgiveness is a crucial step in releasing the ghosts from our past. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind while you embark on this path to forgiveness.
- To forget and let go does not mean you stop caring; it does mean you will no longer take responsibility for the actions of others.
- To forgive and let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in your hands.
- To forgive and let go is not to try to change or blame another but to make the most of yourself and recognize God’s design for your life.
- To forgive and let go is no longer to fix but be aware.
- To forgive and let go is to no longer be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to choose their own destiny.
- To forgive and let go is no longer to judge but to allow another to be a human being.
- To forgive and let go is no longer to adjust everything to your desires but to take each day as it comes and cherish yourself in God’s plan for today.
- To forgive and let go is no longer to regret the past but to grow and live for today and the future, using your past as material for growth.
Who do you need to forgive? What words do you need to say, either quietly in your heart, in a letter you never deliver, or face to face? We all have the capacity to become what we were meant—authorized—to be.
We have been authorized by God to break free from our past with its tentacles that can squeeze the life out of us, making us fearful, weak and burdened. Just as a graveyard is the most appropriate location for a resurrection, so can despair and exhaustion be the breeding grounds for forgiveness and hope.
We can develop a vision for the future that believes an exciting, fulfilling life still lies ahead. It’s a vision of hope, newness and a renewed perspective that the best is yet to come. Finding peace and forgiveness in your life will allow you to transcend your past and live the life you were designed to live.
If you have difficulty releasing your past on your own, seek the help of a professional counselor or therapist. Contact The Center • A Place Of HOPE to speak with a highly trained specialist by calling 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 today.
The content of this post was derived from: 1998 Gregory L. Jantz, How to De-Stress Your Life, Spire.