How To Let Go and Why It’s Critical To Forgive

November 3, 2011  |  

by Holly Stokes

Why should we forgive?

It’s important to forgive because the resentments that we hold onto mostly affect us, not the other person that we are angry with. Any resentments that we hold get in the way of our happiness. Much like spots on a windshield, we can’t see our lives effectively if we haven’t washed off the spots that get in the way of our clarity. Our brain records all our memories and our
emotions together. You may have found yourself driving down the road and thinking about a past event, even though the event is over and done. As you think about the event, you experience the same emotions that you felt at the time.

As you think of an old argument, you feel angry or frustrated all over again. It’s hard to move your life forward if you keep getting sucked into negative emotions of the past. If we carry lot of resentments, it gets in the way of our quality of life.

Another way to think of forgiving is to think of it as letting go. Even though some people may not “deserve” forgiveness, we don’t forgive them for their sake, we forgive for our own wellbeing. Forgiving the past can improve your quality of life, it can improve your happiness, and allow you greater clarity in moving forward. As we forgive others, we are better able
to move forward in our lives, without getting sucked into the negatives of the past.

1. Identify any positive lessons from the situation. Sometimes the positive lessons can be how to avoid such a situation in the future.

2. Fix the negative ideas. From negative experiences, we can take on negative ideas about life, the world, other people, or ourselves. Identify any negative ideas you picked up from the event and replace it with more positive and supportive ideas. For example, one client I had was going through a divorce and picked up on the idea that “relationships are painful,” which led her to avoid dating and getting involved. Instead of forming negative ideas, look at the ideas you took on from the situation and change them to ones that will be more positive and supporting.

3. Process the negative emotions. Get clear about what you felt from the event. Journaling about the event is helpful for identifying negative emotions and expressing your emotions about the situation.

4. Make a Choice. With the negative events we experience, sometimes it’s easy to feel like a victim. But, recognize that you can make a new choice. Say, “I choose to let this situation go.”

5. Change the memory with visualization. Imagine seeing the other people involved in the situation, and imagine yourself in a bubble of light (especially helpful for traumatic events as if the bubble is a shield or protection). See each of the people in their own bubble and imagine sending them back to themselves. Imagine seeing the situation as you would have liked to experience it. For example, if you had an argument with someone, imagine seeing the resolution of the argument. This changes how the brain codes the memory, so that when you remember the event, it will also have the information of the changed memory.

6. Call on your Higher Power. If you are having a difficult time letting go of the past event or the feelings of hurt, ask your higher power to help you release and let go of the situation. You only have to be willing to let go, and offer it up to your higher power.

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer, works with clients all across the U.S. to Get More Of What You Want Out of Life! Whether Life Happiness, Weight Loss, Love and Relationships or Business Success, she uses Life Coaching for creating clarity and direction with your goals, and “brain training” to set up your mind for success with motivation and focus to achieve what you want.

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  • numero uno

    Sometimes you cant forgive someone who does not want to be forgiven. When you are dealing with some DING BAT train of thought and situations and all you can think to yourself is what in thee (not ‘the’) hell is this. Especially when they are wrong and you want them to notice it. Lauryn Hill voice :How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within,

    Uh uh Come again.

  • Prissy

    I do not care what anyone says… forgiving is NOT easy at all. And what is the point of doing so anyhow?? 

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    I don’t have a problem with forgiving. Infact  the older i get the more easier it is for me to forgive because my peace of mind is a priority, and i refuse to occupy my valuable mental time hating. HOWEVER, I never forget and because of the that the relationship changes permanently and the person is no longer relevant to me. I can be civil and respectful to the person  but that personal bond is gone forever.  

  • Cora

    I forgive others because Jesus forgave me… love the article!

  • Kashbmaryd

    Forgiveness. One of the 7 virtues (for us Christians). Much easier said than done. I went without talking to my own mother for over a year because my wife wouldn’t forgive. While I stood by her during that time, I learned that people are going yo be how they are. If you do want to forgive someone for not treating you right (or your spouse if you’re married), then do it because it is right and not because you expect a certain reaction from whomever you’re forgiving. Man (and Woman) will let you down if you expect them to be perfect. They are not God.

  • When a girl forgive her father for cheating on her mother,  will accept cheating as a wife from her husband.

  • Forgive not, but just forget it, loose it yes.
    Sometimes if you forgives means that you are agree to made these mistakes by yourself or it’s okay normal to you to be the victim.
    Pass away, let them go, but don’t forgive if you can’t, if they don’t deserves it

  • L-Boogie

    Thank you. 

  • Dawnn

    Thank you. This was right on time, as I was just in my bathroom bawling my eyes out about several past events from my young adulthood. I was struggling with how to move on and use the experiences as positive lessons to learn from without being angry and hurt. Thank you. I’m working on it today. I am.