Letting go of the Past
I’ve talked about Joel’s invisible anchors, but there was another great point being discussed on the Growth Summit with Joel Brown a few weeks ago; forgiveness. You wouldn’t think twice about it, but if you really look deep within you, you’ll soon realize that sometimes, the one thing holding you back might just be your reluctance to forgive something that had happened to you in the past. This can be anything from minor rejections, to traumatizing life events. Whatever the case is, if left untreated and unchecked, these things, though they’re buried in the past, may just be the reason you’re facing the blockade that you’re facing today.
One of the reasons why is because of the trauma that it causes. No matter how big or small the event was, everything has the potential to be a hurdle to you in the future, an anchor if you will. And this is important because if you don’t realize and don’t let it go, you might just end up sinking with that guilt, shame, and trauma as you go on with your life. Sometimes we think that we’ve forgiven something when in reality, all we’ve done is that we’ve buried that memory in our subconscious as a last-ditch effort to try and forget it, forgetting is the easiest form to move on from something, after all, but if we do this, not only will that event eventually grow into something much bigger than what it was, but it will also slowly take hold of your life and weigh you down slowly, and before you know it, you’ve got an invisible anchor, and now that it’s so big and has such a great hold on your life, confronting it will be very hard and painful.
You see, sometimes these “ghosts” from the past can haunt you not only when something in the present triggers it, but also haunts your decision-making process in the future. These traumas and things that have hurt you in the past can make it very hard to trust someone in the future, which is not very ideal when it comes to business as there’s a fair amount of trust involved. This can also be the reason why you just can’t seem to step out of where you currently are and into where your goals are, which is what one of the attendees was talking about, so one of the things that Joel asked them, that really struck a chord with me, was “have you forgiven them?”
Now, it’s important to note that when Joel asked if you’ve forgiven them, what he really meant is have you forgiven yourself? I should probably explain why. Well, the quick answer is that because sometimes we like to blame ourselves for what happened in the past for letting things happen the way they did as well as blaming ourselves for creating the scenario that led to the event in the first place, and that may weigh you down slowly over time, but here’s the thing, none of that was in your control, and there’s absolutely no reason as to why you should keep holding on to the thought that you were somehow responsible for something that you have absolutely no control over.
But how can you forgive your past self?
One of the ways Joel suggested was to write a forgiveness letter. Not to anyone specifically and you don’t have to send the letter to anyone if you don’t want to as the letter itself was meant for you, to help you to forgive yourself and let go of the things that have been haunting you for the past few years. One participant had written their forgiveness letter and read it to their father at his grave and had felt this great sense of liberation. Liberation not only from the bitterness that they have been harboring for so long, but also liberation from the guilt that they have been placing on their past self for not doing anything about it, for being silent, for being vulnerable. In their letter, they acknowledged their shortcomings and the things that have haunted them for years, and in doing so, they forgave the person that they were, and the things that they have done in the past. It’s important that we do this before we go along because these anchors, these feelings of guilt, will do nothing more than to weigh us down and inhibit our growth because they can, and they absolutely will.
Have you ever tried writing a forgiveness letter? If not, you should probably give it a try. It doesn’t have to be addressed to anyone specifically since you can use it as a therapeutic way to deal with the past that has been haunting you for so long. You can also use it to forgive yourself for the things that you’ve done that you aren’t proud of. There is no room for bitterness or hate if you want to move forward and achieve your full potential. There is only room for love and if that’s where you want to get, then it’s about time that you clip those invisible anchors and set yourself free. Forgive yourself.