By Guest Blogger: Kelly Daugherty, LCSW-R
As we get ready to enter 2020 and start the next decade, I would encourage you to reflect back on the last year. Like most years there are ups and downs, lessons learned, regrets and some accomplishments. What are the things that you do not want to carry with you into 2020? Is it anger, frustration, anxiety, regrets, unforgiveness? Are there relationships you want to let go of or want to improve? Do you have any amends you want to make with someone you may have hurt with your words or actions?
I think letting go of past hurts, pain, and resentment is the key to moving forward to having a positive start to 2020. Unforgiveness can impact your mental health, physical health, your relationships, and your spiritual wellbeing.
As Marianne Williamson said, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die."
Forgiving someone for how they hurt you is really for yourself. By forgiving someone it can help improve your own happiness and allow you to move forward without the anger, resentment, and hurt and allow you to live your life mindfully. By being mindful it allows you to not ruminate about the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness is allowing yourself to be in the present moment which in reality is all that really exists. We can't change the past or predict the future.
I understand that you may be resistant to forgiving someone who hurt you, but forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to let this person back in your life and you don't even need to tell them that you forgive them. As stated previously forgiving someone is for yourself.
What are some things you can let go of unforgiveness?
- Set the intention that you are ready to let go of the emotions associated with this person or the event that caused the anger or hurt.
- Forgive yourself for how you may have contributed to the experience and how you have allowed this hurt to have impacted you.
- 3-day Anger Letter. This is a great technique that I have found very beneficial. Make sure you follow all three steps.
- Identify the lessons learned from this experience. Write down what you learned about yourself or what boundaries you need to set in the future. How did this situation change you for the better? Keep this list to remind yourself of what you learned.
- Try to see the perspective of the person that hurt you and what may have caused them to act the way they did.
- Practice self-care- Do whatever you find helpful for self-care, whether its breathwork, reiki, yoga, going to the float tank, etc.
- Meditate on forgiveness-Find a meditation on YouTube or Insight Timer App that focuses on forgiveness.
- If necessary, reach out to a therapist or life coach to help you process the negative experience.
- Step out of the victim role and let go of the power and control this person or situation had on you.
- If you feel it is appropriate and wouldn’t cause you any harm, reach out to this person and tell them that you forgive them. This step is not always appropriate so don’t feel it is necessary to let go of unforgiveness.
- Practice Mindfulness- Focus on the things in your life that bring you joy and stay in the present and not thinking about the past.
- Practice gratitude for what you learned from this person/experience.
The final and most important step is move on, don’t keep ruminating on this experience or this person, take what you learned and move on. As we are about to start 2020, I hope you will follow these steps if there is unforgiveness in your heart and life and be able to let go of these hurts and start 2020 on a fresh, positive note. Hope that 2020 is a happy, healthy year for you and your family.