Have you ever felt so badly hurt by someone that you refused to forgive them? Have you ever felt so disappointed with your own behavior that you refused to forgive yourself?
Why is it so hard to let go and forgive others? Why is it often times most difficult to let go and forgive yourself?
There is a parable about two Buddhist monks walking along a river bank. Suddenly, they notice a naked woman lying unconscious beside the shore.
Without hesitation, the wiser and elder of the two ran to pick her up. His pupil followed and together they took a raft across the river, bringing the helpless woman to shelter and safety.
For the entire journey the elder monk held the naked woman in his arms as the younger monk stared at him in bewilderment. As part of the commitment to their spiritual path the monks had taken a vow to never touch nor behold a naked woman.
The younger monk could not understand how the elder monk could break his vow so easily. Every passing minute since they had dropped off the woman, the younger monk became more and more filled with judgment towards his companion.
Three hours had gone by and the younger monk could no longer contain himself. He gathered his strength and asked his companion, “how could you hold that naked woman for so long”?
The elder monk calmly replied, “if I did not rescue that woman, who knows what tragedies would have befallen her. Besides, I let go of her hours ago. You on the other hand, are still holding onto her now”. The younger monk smiled as he realized the lesson the elder monk was trying to teach him:
Letting go is a psychological process. It involves making a conscious decision to forgive and move past whatever or whoever is troubling you.
I am not suggesting that you become a push over and allow people to walk all over you. In fact, I highly recommend you to be courageous enough to remove the people in your life who are causing more harm than help.
Once you have determined a relationship to be toxic, cut the chord and let go of all the resentments attached to that individual.
After all, what good will come out of holding a grudge against someone who is no longer a part of your reality? Why force yourself to relive a moment of unhappiness and disappointment that belongs to your past? Why cause yourself physical and mental distress while the person who caused it roams free and without worry?
The young monk in the story carried the naked woman in his mind three hours longer than he had to. How many times in your life have you carried negative emotions for hours, weeks, months, even years longer than was necessary?
Letting go does not always mean letting go of a relationship. Sometimes it means working through the hurt emotions you feel and granting the person you care about forgiveness.
Every relationship, whether good or bad, will come with a price. In fact, often times the greatest relationships are the most expensive (require the most effort and many times the most forgiveness).
It is much easier to repress and hold onto ill feelings than it is to process and release them. It requires an effort to let go and forgive yourself as well as others.
Whether you decide to end a relationship or maintain a relationship, letting go of negative emotions is always the wise decision.
Life becomes lighter. Your head becomes clearer. Your heart becomes freer. Your soul ascends higher.
Once you acknowledge that letting go is more for your own peace of mind than anyone else’s, the next step is speaking about whatever is weighing heavy on your heart. It is often times most effective to communicate directly with the individual who has caused you distress.
At times when you find this method to be inappropriate you can speak out loud to the universe, with a close and trustworthy friend, or perhaps even write out your feelings onto a page. By verbally communicating about your negative emotions you allow them to be released from your mind, body, and spirit.
Like the younger monk, you allow yourself to release your judgments and resentments and open yourself up to gain insight and clarity from a universe that has your best interest in mind.
One of the reasons why so many people are unhappy today is because they have no space for happiness to enter their lives. They allow themselves (for all the right reasons) to remain imprisoned by ill feelings towards themselves, others, the universe, etc.
Today, make the decision to set yourself free by letting go of the negative emotions that are bombarding your life and create a space for happiness and clarity to penetrate your being.