4 Thoughts on Letting Go of the Past


For many of us the season of Lent began this week. It’s a time of sacrifice, reflection, and atonement. But for some people, things in the past torment them and they carry it around like overweight baggage that will never squeeze into that overhead bin. We all have things in the past we’d like to change; perhaps we’d like forgiveness for something we’ve done or to forgive what’s been done to us.

Yet somehow we just can’t let it go.

Why is that? Jack London said “To be able to forget means sanity.” I think he’s got something there. So here are my thoughts on letting go of the past.

  • Do it for your health, both mental and physical. If you think having something gnaw at you for decades has no impact on your health, you could be in for an abysmal diagnosis in the future.
  • Don’t agonize over mistakes. No matter how big, we’ve all made mistakes. I’m not saying you shouldn’t own up to them, acknowledge them, or apologize for them. By all means, you should try to make things right if that is possible, and say you’re sorry if you can’t. But then you have to let it go. (See paragraph above.)
  • Everyone deserves forgiveness. Yes, that is how I feel. If someone is truly sorry, they deserve to be forgiven. And if you have a hard time forgiving something terrible, huge, then start by trying to understand Practice empathy, try to see things from their point of view, decipher why they did/said what they did. And if you just can’t forgive someone (yes, I know that is a reality) at least maybe you can find some answers for yourself and move on. Hopefully with less pain.
  • If you don’t forgive yourself, you’ll never reach your full potential. Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds hokey. But it’s true. I’m not talking about being successful or wealthy, I’m talking about the whole picture. If you are carrying a load of self-loathing, you’ll never be truly happy or have meaningful and healthy relationships. (See paragraph above.) Or worse yet, you may go around blaming everyone else for things that have happened to you. That is not fun for anyone.

So no matter if you’re religious or not, take some time to reflect as we wait out the end of winter. Are there things you need to settle to really let go of your past? If so, take care of business. Do it for your health, for better relationships, and as Jack London said, for your sanity.

Roxanne Wilmes is a freelance writer, author, ghostwriter, and thirty year survivor of the restaurant and hospitality industry currently with AmericInn Hotel & Suites.


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