Letting Go: 5 Essential Steps to Making Room for a Better Tomorrow

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Judy Mosley

 

A new year is racing toward us.  Already, the hopes and dreams of New Years are rising within us.  Often we label these as resolutions, decisions that this year, we will accomplish the things we have wanted to do for so long.  Lose weight.  Quit smoking.  Make the bed every day.  This is the year that our lives will be better.

 

But there is something all of us must do before we step into a new future.  We must let go of the past.  

 

The joys, pains, heartaches, and the triumphs must all be relinquished before we can expect to enter the future with open hands and open hearts.

 

Many people refuse to let go of the past because they believe the good days are over.  Whatever joy they had, for a certain period in their lives, is impossible to have now.  And they even refuse any good that might come to them because it’s different from what they experienced in the past.

 

Others cannot let go because their past was so excruciating.  Instead of moving through the pain and allowing healing to come into their hearts, they allow the pain they feel to make all the decisions about their life.  They can’t imagine that life could be different and so they cling to the walls that they have built for themselves, even if those walls are no longer necessary.

 

Letting go of the past is never easy.  It’s more like a journey to be taken rather than a flat-out yes or no decision.  Even so, there are some beginning steps that we can take that will help to ensure our success on this journey:

 

1- It is imperative to find someone to walk with.  

Taking this journey alone can be extremely difficult.  It’s easy to get lost and lose sight of where you really want to end up.  Have someone close to you who will encourage you on the way.  Someone that will help you when the road seems longer than you thought and that will share the load when it seems too heavy.  Give them the freedom to call you out when you start making excuses but never allow them to shame you into doing what’s right.  This will make the road harder instead of better.

 

2- Believe that the future can be different, even better than you had expected.

Often, when we start changing how we live, we are afraid of failing, or we aren’t even sure if the path we are on will lead to a place we want to be.  Many times, however, we are surprised by joys that we hadn’t even expected would be there.  Be open to a life that is different from any that you’ve lived before.

 

3- Understand that the past only exists in your mind.

It is no longer the reality that you are living in now and it’s impossible to live the life you may cling to.  When you hold on to the past, it keeps you from really living in the present moment, being available to those people that are around you.  It shuts you off the future that is ahead of you.  We must relinquish the belief that our lives will stay the same.  It was never meant to.

 

4- Forgive.

Sometimes we have to forgive whoever it is that keeps us chained up in our past.  This may include ourselves.  Forgiveness doesn’t make the wrong that was made against us okay, nor does it mean that we don’t learn from that experience.  However, when we forgive, we take our personal power back.  We discover that we are in control of how we live, and that we can forgive someone else. because their life is their own responsibility and not something we should take on our own shoulders.

 

5- Trust that all your effort is worthwhile.

Finally, we must remember that this journey will be difficult but always worth it.  You will get out of breath, discouraged, frustrated and perhaps angry.  But, as you keep walking, keep trusting for a better life.  You will see and experience things that will take your breath away.  This will make you stronger and ready for the life that’s ahead of you.

 

All of us need a future. We all need to believe that things can change for our good.  Even God gave this promise to the Jews:  For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. 

Many Christians today also take this promise for themselves.  

 

Feel free to take this promise and these 5 steps for yourself.  There’s no need to wait until New Years and a list of resolutions.  By letting go of the past and focusing on your future, you can begin today on the path to the new life that is waiting for you.

 

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
-Paul Boese

 

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”
-George Burns, [At age 87; he lived to be 100]

 

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Posted on 14 December, 2008 in Balance, Happiness, Making the Day Count
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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Kevin
    December 15th, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    This is a wonderful post, Judy. Thanks. I don’t think I am the only one out there that has had to work very hard on letting go. I’m still working on it. But your point about focusing on the future is dead on right. Everything else is destructive.

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