Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about times when you’ve held on to items from your past – did that help or hinder you?
Once you dedicate yourself to achieving goals that go beyond your present concept of yourself, you may also find that you have to work hard at letting go of your past. You have to sacrifice the old story to make room for the new vision of yourself. Doing that may require forgiveness on your part because forgiveness is the way we release the past. You cannot change a situation if you keep holding on to it with negative emotion.
Even though we’ve all heard that forgiveness is a key to growth, it can be hard to sacrifice a feeling of injustice and let go of past hurts and wounds. Start by reminding yourself that forgiveness does not mean you absolve anyone from wrongdoing. The wrong that was done is still wrong and will always be wrong. Rather, forgiveness helps you release the pattern so it will not repeat itself in your life. You don’t want to be terrorized by the memory and the burden of a past incident, do you? Then let it go.
When we keep thinking about and regretting something that happened in the past, we continually re-create it in our minds. We literally change those memories and patterns with the energy they need to stay alive. We saw this in the story I shared of the woman who had been raped three times. She had to learn to stop revolving in her mind pictures of herself as a victim in order to stop magnetizing people into her life who wanted to complete that picture and victimize her.
I understand the dynamic of letting go of past hurts very well. It was an important part of my early training under my martial arts master. My childhood circumstances – being resented by my mother, beaten by my father, shunned by my entire village, and laughed at for aspiring to be a martial artist – would have overwhelmed me with self-pity had my teacher not taught me to take charge of my own life and refuse to be a victim.