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Jan 19, 2008

Forgive and Let It Go

Learning to let go of emotional burdens
One of the most liberating tools for empowering peacemakers is learning to let go. We carry so many burdens with us, from our childhoods throughout our lives. We carry hurts and wrongs that were done to us. We carry regrets about things we wish we had or hadn't done. We hide these memories, but the anger and hurt and regret can influence the way we think and interact without our even knowing it.
I'm sorry may set you free
Some people let their pride destroy in one moment a relationship that took a lifetime to build. Each side is waiting for the other to say that they were wrong, to say that they are sorry. What we forget to realize is that often right and wrong is a matter of perception. Both sides may perceive that they were wronged. If we let the hurt go, and concentrate and focus together to work the problem out, because we want the relationship to grow, we can talk and listen to both sides and figure out together how to work it out. Sometimes letting it go, and saying I'm sorry will break down the walls and allow you talk constructively about the problem.
Living in the NOW
We often forget to live while we're living, because we're focusing on something that we wish to be. Or we're worried about something that lies ahead, and it distracts us so that we don't seem to be able to accomplish anything or get any closer to where we want to be. The key to living a life of peace is to set our sites on where we want to be, but focus on where we are NOW, and take each step, moment by moment.
Learn from the past, plan for the future
The past is past. The future will come when it comes. We are here in the present. We can learn from the past. Where we can, we can try to mend the bridges in our lives -- the relationships with the people who are a part of our lives. But where there is nothing we can do, we have to let it go. We have to let ourselves live, free of the burdens of guilt, and regret and anger. We can plan for the future, but we must live in the present and let go of anxiety and worrying about what might be.
Change what we can,let go of what we can't change
Learning to see the difference between things that we can change and things that we can't is the first step to letting go and freeing ourselves inside.
Emotions can be red flags or red lights
Guilt, regret, anger and anxiety can sometimes help us to see things in our lives that need to be fixed and changed and worked on. But they are useless emotions when they paralyze us. They are useless when there is nothing that we can do to heal them. When they are useless, we need to let them go.
Learning to tell the difference
We can learn to figure out when our emotions are trying to tell us something useful, or when they're causing us to lose track of what's important. The first step is to slow down, and find that place of peace inside. Then examine what exactly it is that you're angry or sad or anxious about. What would it take to make it right? Is there anything that you can do about it now? Is there anything you can do about it at some other time? If not, let it go. If so, set a new course.
Redirecting our focus
When we find our emotions have led us to a fork in the road, we can refocus and redirect the paths we have chosen to walk. What path can we take to lead us towards making whatever is wrong right? It helps to write down our thoughts and concerns and resolves. It helps to keep our focus on the paths we choose, and to let go of paralyzing emotions until the time when they can be resolved, and to concentrate on the moment at hand. We can all benefit from keeping a peace journal.