Some years ago I carried around a lot of anger brought on after a person I trusted hurt me in a way I didn’t think possible.
It was a painful stage of my life, made more painful because I refused to let go of the hurt and the anger and consider what my life could have been like if I had not been wronged. I blamed this person for the life I didn’t have, and there was a sense of justification for the resentment I carried around.
The bitterness I had developed spewed forth in fits of rage that would overcome me. My inability to see reason had a perplexing affect on others in my life as they struggled to understand what was going on with me. Needless to say this self-sabotaging attitude had a huge impact on new relationships I tried forming.
Though I speak generally about the situation, it is not because I remain wrapped up in the hurt and anger. Truthfully, it is because I spent a long time working on myself and it wouldn’t be fair to that person or myself to write about the specifics.
We’ve all been hurt, and it hurts.
As much as I loved that person, it was but one moment in time and in the years that have followed I have freed myself of the hurt and opened myself up to new opportunities, including a new and healthy relationship.
In turn I have forgiven and moved on.
But some of the things I did with that hurt became arguably more important than the hurt itself.
How can you let go of the past hurts and move forward?
Psychologist John M Grohol suggests the only way you can accept new joy and happiness into your life is to make room for it, and he says this can be achieved in five steps.
- Make the decision to let the hurt go
- Express your pain — and your responsibility
- Stop being the victim and blaming others
- Focus on the present — the here and now — and joy
- Forgive them … and yourself.
It was actually quite difficult for me; completely letting go of the pain I had been feeling and forgiving that person. Forgiving myself was even harder. While I was pointing the finger I had completely overlooked my role in the circumstances. It was quite confronting when I had to face up to the part I had played in how unhappy my life had become.
I’m in a good place today.
The lessons I’ve learnt have had a broader application, able to be used on the day-to-day challenges. Consider how someone cutting in on a line at the supermarket gets you worked up, or how you feel when a family member doesn’t call you for your birthday, or even the impact of not being invited to a social engagement while all your other friends were.
Every time something like this happens I work my way through those five steps and it helps me to let it go.