I was talking with a dear friend and she asked me about a friendship of mine that had ended long ago. She had many questions and as I spoke about the experiences of that relationship, I could feel a tightening in my chest. “That’s odd,” I thought, “This was years ago.” But in that moment, answering those questions, it felt like the events I was describing had happened just last month. Well, not exactly last month, but not many years ago either. When the call ended, I decided to journal as a way of understanding why I was experiencing the pain of that relationship all over again.
I have written blog posts about releasing the past, hosted Women’s Circles on the topic, and even helped others explore ways to move on after major disappointments, harmful relationships, challenging events, or other “hurts” in their lives. So, why had I had such a hard time in that conversation with my dear friend about a so-called friendship that was so clearly in the past?
Rather than judge myself, I chose to believe that I must have done the best I could have done at the time, but obviously I had not fully released the pain and deep level of sadness. So, I decided to “write and burn,” an approach that helps me release lingering feelings that are not easy to dismiss. I grabbed a pen and several sheets of paper, lit a candle, and wrote an “as of this moment, I totally release…” letter to myself, allowing residual pain and sadness to be captured on paper. I wrote and wrote and wrote. When I felt certain that there was nothing left to release, I signed and dated the final page and went outside to burn it all. Watching the flames consume what I had written, I forgave myself for remaining in that emotionally abusive relationship as long as I had, and forgave my former friend, too. I let it all go, with the understanding that now I was truly free.
In our day-to-day life, we sometimes overlook the need to release the burdens of the past and then, when necessary, to release them again. When we think of letting go of the past, we often focus on big things — events, experiences, relationships, that, for whatever reason, we have not yet let go. But there are smaller things, too, comments people have made or old, self-limiting beliefs that we have allowed to hold us back in some way.
I have begun to pay attention to the things, big and small, that weigh me down. They seem to pull me back to a time that no longer exists and keep me from fully experiencing and appreciating what is happening in my life now. My choice to let them go, fully and completely, is helping me feel lighter and freer than ever.
I welcome YOUR thoughts and approaches to freeing yourself from the past, and invite you to share them by clicking on the word “Comments” just under the title of this post. Thank you so very much!
People Who Love You Exactly As You WERE!
“Holding On” Also Holds Us Back
Releasing The Past
Love and Forgiveness
The Freedom of Forgiveness
The Difficult Decision to End An Unhealthy Friendship
The Burden of Unfinished Business
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