"Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness." Marianne Williamson
You wake each day feeling the painful emotions of the past. Recycling them in your mind as if they just happened yesterday. Replaying conversations, words spoken or not spoken. Like recorded tapes, they can be played and paused upon demand. They cannot though be deleted.
Much of our process with these negative memories and thoughts is spent trying to make sense of them, hoping in a way that the emotional turmoil can be healed. Again and again we can push play in our minds but the result is never different. We are left with anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, hatred, and despair.
If these emotions cannot be deleted from our memory, how do we replace the painful past so that joy can exist? This happens through a powerful process called forgiveness. A beautiful and extraordinary thing happens when we change our attachment to thoughts of being wronged, harmed, and hurt. Shifting our perception of the story we've been replaying opens us up to feelings of love, acceptance, joy, and peace. Once we no longer process the past with only feelings of judgement, we learn and grow from the experiences.
When anger, frustration, hatred, hurt, or any of these types emotions and thought triggers come into your mind due to someone else's past behaviors:
Accept the thoughts and emotions, recognize the validity of their part in your history, tell yourself that they no longer serve a purpose in your life, reconfigure them as a positive learning experience, feel the calm from the shift in perspective, and let go.
Remember that just because you are accepting the thoughts and emotions, does not mean that you are accepting the way a particular person treated you. In fact, you have simply come to terms with not being able to control how they treated you, and in doing so you have gained power and freedom to feel joy when they come to your mind.
Accept, Process, and Release!