I’m overly sensitive. I always have been. I’m the kind of person that rolls over and over in my mind what I said to someone, and how I wish I had said it differently. I’m also the kind of person, however, that knows rationally that I can’t undo my past actions and that I need to learn to let things go. So why is letting go so difficult?
For me, I think it’s partly because I’m slightly neurotic and hypersensitive. Yet, God also gifted me with a brain, and I always try to use it to remind myself when I’m being one of these things—because letting go starts in my mind; with making a conscious decision to move forward with forgiveness and love rather than harboring old guilt and hurt. So here are five reasons to learn to let things go.
1. You can’t change the past. We can’t go back in time and un-say something offensive or accidentally harmful. We can’t re-do the damage we did to our relationships with thoughtless actions. We can, however, make amends as best as we can—and then move on.
2. You are not always objective. I personally try very hard to be objective in many areas of my thoughts and actions—but I can only be objective to a point. The thing is, you may be reliving something over and over while the other person in the situation has already left it behind—or never revisited it in the first place. That awkward thing you said to a co-worker? Maybe it didn’t even faze her. The fight you had with your husband? He likely forgave and forgot when you apologized. So try to look at the situation objectively and see if you’re being overly dramatic or obsessive, when in reality the best thing for everyone is just to let it go.
3. Our bodies can’t handle the stress either. Many of us carry extra weight from old burdens—literally. Our shoulders hunch up to our ears, our pecs tighten and our spines round. We begin to collapse as we get older, and we have the physical discomforts—like neck and shoulder pain and headaches—to show for it. So try taking a few moments to feel your heart lighten with your own self-forgiveness. Notice how when your heart lifts, your shoulders drop; possibly your jaw unclenches too. Observing that stress has physical side-effects only serves as a reality check that the best thing to do is not harbor unnecessary stress and tension—in the body or the mind.
4. No one’s perfect. I think the most important reason to let things go when you can’t do anymore about the situation is simple—none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and the world is not a better place if we all go around carrying our past with us everywhere we go. In some ways, though, we’ll always carry the past with us—because it makes us who we are. Which leads us to…
5. You are who you are because of your mistakes. I think recognizing that we are who we are because of what we’ve done and where we’ve been in life is crucial to learning to let things go. Often we are our own hardest person to make amends with. Realizing that your challenges—and falls—in life have made you the special individual that you are today is a great way to forgive yourself and move on—so that you can be an even better you tomorrow.
Life is not easy. We all face difficulties, wounds and struggles—and the hardest battles to overcome are often waged internally. Learning to forgive yourself and those around you is not only healthy, it’s necessary for living life to your full potential—because when we let go of what we don’t need to carry, we make room for new and better things.