Having a mindset to let go and forgive means that we release the past, get present to our experience right now, and generate energy to find peace and thrive. In today’s podcast, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares strategies to release your connection to negative stories of the past, including self-blame and regret.
The four main ideas we’ll explore include:
- Release regrets. When dwelling on regrets from your past, recognize that they are only alive in your mind. They did happen, but they happened in the past. Other than your memory bringing them to life, these events no longer exist. What could happen if you allow yourself to let go, and stop carrying the weight of the past? When we are focused on regrets from the past, we cannot be fully present right now. As a result, we will be less than we can be, because we hold ourselves back. Forgiving ourselves can be the most important type of forgiveness we can choose.
- Be open to the possibilities of the present moment. Sometimes, we refuse to forgive and keep telling stories of someone who wronged us or some way in which we were victimized, so that we won’t have to fully live in the present. If we let go of the past, will we choose to be open to the present? Are we willing to live in the current moment, and to experience what we have right now? Being open to the present by letting go of the past opens us to the possibility of courageously living with all of the challenges we’re facing right now, and it can make room to feel peace despite so much chaos in the world.
- Let go by trying physical actions that anchor your choice. One way to physically let go is to hold your hands up in front of you and push them away, saying out loud what you’re letting go of. A second way to physically let go is to open the door and invite the thought or story you’ve been holding onto to leave, then closing the door and letting go of that thought. The body holds feelings we have experienced over time, and for this reason, you might begin to feel physical relief from some of the negative influences that previously held you back.
- Notice what’s real. Just as we must let go of the past to live in the present fully, we can anchor our thoughts in the present by physically touching things in the room with us and saying aloud, “This is real.” Although this strategy might seem silly, it’s a great way to remind ourselves that the thoughts bringing us anger, resentment, anxiety, and pain are just thoughts. They aren’t really events happening in the present, if they are coming from relationships, events, or experiences in the past. They are in the mind, and by getting in touch with the physical reality around us right now, we can get focused on what’s real and let go of what’s not.
Some of the ideas shared about forgiveness in today’s podcast come from “The CBT Deck for Anxiety, Rumination, & Worry, ” by Seth J. Gillihan, PHD, published by PESI Publishing & Media, and available on Amazon.Com.
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