I’ve been hurt. More than once. I’ve sometimes held on to those hurts longer than I care to admit. One thing I’ve learned is that in order to move forward in life, I have to let go of past hurts. The start of a new year is a great time to move forward. Here are a few ways that have worked for me.
One thing I have learned to do is forgive the person who has hurt me. Does that mean I no longer think about what happened? No. But I chose not to dwell on it. On the flip side, I have hurt people. I don’t always realize it when it happens, but when I do, one thing I have learned to do is to sincerely ask for forgiveness. Does that mean the person always accepts it? Not always, but I’ve learned not to dwell on that either. If someone doesn’t want to accept my apology, there’s nothing I can do about that, which leads to my next point.
Prayer really does change things. When thoughts of past hurts fill my mind, I pray. Sometimes I pray hard and long that God will help me deal with my thoughts and truly make peace with the situation. Sometimes it comes out as Lord, help. Other times, it comes out as a wail of hurt and frustration. When people don’t want to forgive me for hurting them, I pray. Actually, I pray before I go to them to ask forgiveness to make sure that my heart and mind are right and that they will be receptive to what I have to say.
- Stop focusing on the hurt.
You can’t make peace with your past if you keep focusing on the hurt. It’s like a scab. If you keep picking at it, it takes longer to heal. If you keep thinking about the situation, if you keep accepting phone calls or reading text messages from the person who has hurt you, if you keep talking through it with your girls, trying to figure out why things worked out the way they did, you are setting yourself back on your journey to healing. Like the Disney song says, you have to let it go.
- Appreciate the present.
Focus on today. This very moment. There is so much to be thankful for right now. Don’t think that’s the case? You’re reading this. That means you’re alive, which means you still have a purpose. Part of your purpose may be to one day be able to use your past—that thing you can’t make peace with—as your testimony to help someone else.
Today, make a conscious effort to let it all go and make peace with your past.
What are some ways you have made peace with your past?