“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” ~ Deepak Chopra
Since perfection doesn’t exist in life, we as humans are bound to make mistakes. Some of those mistakes may turn into regrets but in order to move forward in life, we need to let go of the past and forgive ourselves. While we don’t have control over the past, we do have control over the present and our job in this scenario is to find the silver lining and learn the life lesson that is being presented to us. The more you know and love yourself, the more opportunities you have in finding out why mistakes happen and how you can learn to move on.
Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment toward a person who has harmed you. It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry” and an even stronger person to forgive. Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from anger by letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In the grand scheme of things, it’s about giving up the hopes and dreams of what could have been and to accept the fact that something happened which changed the outcome.
The beauty of true forgiveness is that it’s a gift to ourselves, the other person doesn’t need to be present or even know we have forgiven them because forgiveness takes place in our minds. We do it for our own peace of mind so we can live our best life, free from negativity. Author Marianne Williamson says “By letting go of the past and surrendering to what is, you create the process of emptying your mind. It’s a return to ourselves which is a return to love; one of the biggest miracles we can create on our own. It is also one of the hardest most courageous things we could ever imagine doing. The only way to stop the vicious cycle of reacting to pain by causing more pain is to step out of the system. Take a step back. We need to let our hearts fill with compassion to forgive ourselves and others. By understanding, we are all imperfect and make mistakes it allows us to see that people do what they do because they lost touch with their hearts. When people behave unlovingly, they have forgotten who they are.”
One of the most difficult but courageous things we can do is to learn how to forgive ourselves. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it and be self-compassionate about it instead of beating yourself up over it. Hindsight is always 20/20 and your best teacher is your last mistake so it’s important to be self-aware of what you did and who you are so you can learn from it and move on. There is some confusion over making mistakes and just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake, there’s a big difference.
When people look to the past it is often with feelings of regret or sadness. On the other hand, when people look to the future it is often with stress and anxiety because of the uncertainty it holds. Therefore, the best moment to live in is the present because that’s all we really have and it’s where we have the most control in our lives. One way to practicing living in the moment is by practicing mindfulness. Author Jon Kabat-Zinn describes what mindfulness is in such a beautiful way, it is “The art of being in the present moment with intention, noticing what is in front of you without judgment, complete awareness with all your senses, quiet time. It is a form of meditation, a new focus. It’s an opportunity to pay attention to the little moments with purpose because you matter. In essence, it’s replacing stress with peace.”
When we feel stressed, we need to take a step back and breathe. By taking deep breaths, we anchor ourselves again and when we become mindful of that, we are refocused on the present moment. When we live in the present moment, that’s when we can find peace and the silver lining of a mistake and learn what it taught us because no experience in life is wasted. They are all here to make you grow and that includes the ones where we find the gift of forgiveness.
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