Our identities are shaped by a collection of experiences we have faced in our lives. Different people, events, personal frustrations and accomplishments provide us with opportunities for growth and more understanding of self-identity. Whether these are positive or negative experiences, each one teaches us a little more about our needs and wants – both physical and emotional.
Learning to acknowledge and accept these experiences is a major step towards growing and moving on. But what happens when we dwell in the past and find we cannot let go of something that had a major impact on us? In this blog we discuss how to recognize what is holding you back, emotions that may be blocking your progress, and how to learn to let go and move on.
RECOGNIZING WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK
Identifying what is holding you back is the first step towards forgiveness and moving on. This may not be an easy task for you to accomplish, but it is one that will relieve you of current negative feelings or behaviours that you are experiencing.
We often point our fingers at someone else who caused our pain and suffering. Not all conflicts are created with only one individual. Did you participate in this negative event? Did this negative event happen to you suddenly? Understanding the event itself is key to processing the emotions you feel regarding this event, and how to accept them to move forward.
Perhaps you fell victim to a crime, and have been living with the negative effects since the event took place. You may not have had any control in the situation, but you are in control of how you move forward. Being unable to let go of past events may be holding you back. Wondering what could have been or what should have happened is a negative thought process that can cause us to get stuck in that moment. If we continue to hold onto those thoughts and feelings, we will continue to live with the pain of that experience. So how do we process the pain that has kept us back?
FEELINGS YOU ARE HOLDING ONTO
Dwelling in the past prevents us from moving on in the future, or living in the moment. The pain you feel can grow and build into resentment and rage for those involved in your past – including yourself. Using the past to justify current actions may lead to more negative occurrences in your life. Ignoring the present and the future, and focusing on the past only leads to a more negative mindset. Resentment is a dangerous emotion for yourself and those around you.
Negative thoughts and emotions can hold us back from living a happy and content life, and this is not healthy for our mental well-being. We feel such a range of emotions, and it is okay to feel the negative ones. It is okay to acknowledge our anger, resentment, or even jealousy just as it is okay to recognize happiness, humour, or self-pride. Recognizing our feelings is a step towards moving on from our past. Learning what is holding us back and how it makes us feel are two steps closer to forgiveness and moving on.
HOW TO LET GO
Now that you have more understanding of what is holding you back, and the emotions attached to that individual or event, you can start to process the possibility of forgiveness and move forward in your life. Recognizing it’s time to move on can be scary, but think of all the positives that can come from releasing this negativity that has controlled your life.
Forgiveness is never easy, but by letting go, you are choosing to put yourself first. You may be surprised to learn how much you can accomplish with the release of the heavy burden that has been sitting on your shoulders. Forgiveness can mean focusing on the now, and your future. It can create distance from the negatives in your life and you may find yourself surrounded by people who love you and want nothing but the best for you.
One practice that may help you move on is creating positive mantras to repeat throughout the day. Words have power, and when you repeatedly use positive words of affirmation, it can lead to a more positive mindset. You can either write down your mantras and repeat them to yourself each day, or speak them out-loud in front of a mirror. Some examples you may use are:
“I forgive those who have hurt me and allow myself to move on.”
“I am a forgiving person, and I do not hold onto resentment.”
“I let go of those who have hurt me, and I embrace a new future.”
Another practice that you may benefit from is meditation. There are many benefits to calming the mind and practicing mindfulness. Focusing on your current state of emotions or focusing on empathy may provide an outlet that allows you to move on with your life.
Perhaps you feel more comfortable writing in a journal. This is a great way to acknowledge your past, your emotions, and how you may be able to move forward in your life. Writing down your thoughts may also make it easier to talk to family, friends, or a professional counsellor.
Forgiveness doesn’t always mean having to confront the individual in your past. You can learn to forgive someone by acknowledging you are ready to move on. Sometimes confronting the past can lead to more trauma and emotional turmoil, so take the time to think about what is best for you in your process of moving on.
Moving on is not easy, but it is important when it comes to ensuring you can grow and live a positive life. Learning how to cope with your past can give you the tools you need to handle future situations. You may find you are emotionally equipped to handle tough situations and know when to seek help. It is important to remember that it takes time to heal. It is important to stay kind to yourself throughout the process of moving on. You may not have the power to control what happens in your future, but you have the power to control how you handle your life experiences. If you would like to discuss mental health and forgiveness with our team or talk to a professional for more information, please contact us HERE.