What—or who—are you holding onto today? Of course, you want to remember breakthroughs, manifestations, and the miraculous; there is hope found in memorializing the good and those associated with it. However, we often create memorials and landmarks for the bad that’s happened to us, and this is extremely dangerous. While it may not seem super detrimental to constantly think about how someone has hurt you, the consequences will come. As a result, you must commit to letting go of the past. Here are three major reasons why this is so necessary:
- The Full Life
You need to be intentional about letting go because your emotional condition plays a huge role in your life. Not eliminating the unnecessary things in your head or letting go of someone sets you up for living in the pit, stranded in the past. It is impossible to live a complete life if you do not move forward. Your past can’t compare to your future, but if you refuse to move forward, your intended future will be replaced by a house of mirrors, continuously reflecting your worst moments. Imagine this: you join a yoga group that you grow to love, but at the third meet-up, you run into that person who didn’t invite you to her wedding; suddenly, all the things from the past that were just beneath the surface begin to resurrect in your life with a new force. Now, you’ll convince yourself not to go back to the class. There is no winner in wallowing!
When you’re hard on yourself, when you constantly self-inflict pressure to perform and to be likable at church and on social media platforms, chances are you are subconsciously placing that same pressure on other people. And just like you, they won’t be able to measure up. Are you harboring unforgiveness toward someone? It’s likely that, to keep this unforgiveness alive, you have rehearsed and nursed the painful thing that happened between the two of you. Years have passed, but you’re still upset about it, wasting valuable space, wondering if you could or should have done something differently. Holding on to this bitterness not only prevents closure and possible reconciliation, but also prevents self-forgiveness. When you release the painful situation and the person who has hurt you, you also release any guilt and impossible standards that you’ve built for yourself.
Not letting go begets bitterness which invites strife, envy, and jealousy; this toxic mixture eventually influences your body. Stress is a known facilitator of cancer, depression, and other destructive illnesses. Social media has definitely played a role in enabling people who already have trouble letting go of relationships. When you’re in bondage to your past, you can just hop onto Instagram or Facebook and see what your ex-best friend or estranged family member is up to, and how you’re being excluded. Bad feelings can fester and create anxiety, and what seems like a purely emotional struggle will transfer to every aspect of your life and possibly even shorten it.
Don’t allow past experiences to stop your present ones. It is necessary to let go of negative emotions in order to live a full life, forgive yourself, and prioritize your health. Pardon yourself from the belief that you can’t move on or let go. You can’t just wish the memory and hurt away, nor should you postpone whatever healing is necessary to overcome the past. Be intentional and dwell on what dignifies, beautifies, and satisfies you. Make room for walking in victory and moving forward. Again, I ask you: What—or who—are you holding onto today?