I once heard a quote from a client of mine that hit a deep chord within me. “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I believe it was Buddha that said this. It was at this point I began to realize the pain I was causing myself by holding onto past anger. For all I knew, these people didn’t even know I was angry at them, and most likely didn’t care. So what was the point, and how do I get rid of it? It took a very long time, and a lot of soul-searching but here is what I came up with.
Hanging onto any emotion begins to wear away at us and break us down physically, emotionally, and mentally. I see it in my practise every day. Anger is like a cancer eating away at us until we are but a shell of what we once were. This was happening to me and I was aware of it. It affected how I felt, my relationship, my interactions with others, and my work. I didn’t recognize myself anymore, and knew I had to make a change. It was here that felt I had hit a brick wall, and then it came to me. Forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the key to letting go. Many believe that forgiveness means that they condone what has been done to them, this is not the case at all. Think of it this way, forgiveness is not done for someone else but for yourself. It means freedom, salvation. With this thought process in mind, it makes it a little easier to swallow. Forgiveness of ones self is hardest of all. We tell ourselves we should have known better, I could have helped, I would have done things differently. What we tend to forget is that we are all human and all make mistakes. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes, for it is from these mistakes that growth happens.
Holding onto the past prevents us from growing and moving forward. It can create fear and worry when it comes to meeting new people or new situations. It also prevents us from achieving our goals like being promoted, or finding that perfect relationship, or even being present. So ask yourself, what is it you are holding on to, and what is needed to let it go?