Letting go of hurtful experiences is tough. In fact, letting go is often the hardest step to moving on.
The reason it is so tough is because we have found comfort in the story and our perspective of the story. Our perspectives are the result of reactions and decisions made by ourselves and others that culminate and permeate our lives. Perspectives define who we are, what we do, where we go, what we think, and what we believe. Our perspectives are powerful.
What if our perspectives aren’t accurate, real, or true? What if in our imperfections and our own hurts, we created an inaccurate story that created an inaccurate perception that has continued to create hurt, pain, and suffering within ourselves and others? What if our perspectives are serving as chains to the past?
Consider this. What if by identifying and owning our perspectives, we are led to the ultimate “chain-breaking” transformation from mere survival on a broken story of the past to living a full life in the present and thriving in the truth?
A Real Struggle
A few weeks after a friend filed for divorce, she was excommunicated from her church. She angrily decided that the women at church were not friends, everyone was speaking negatively about her, and church was bad place.
She avoided phone calls, voicemails, and thoughtful notes. She’d say they were being nosy, or they felt obligated, or they weren’t really friends.
She created a story and chose a perspective to survive and tolerate a very hurtful situation. She moved out of the community and became withdrawn and distant.
Months later, she ran into a woman from the church at Walmart. This woman considered herself a good friend and was in tears to see her. Without hesitation she hugged her and said how worried she had been about her. Immediately, she began telling her that the church’s decision was abrupt and unfair, how the women’s group has been praying for her relentlessly, and invited her to a special dinner at her home with the women who loved her dearly.
My friend’s perspective was based on her broken heart, and not on truth. Imagine if she hadn’t met her friend in Walmart? It’s devastating to consider how this false perspective would have kept her from friendships and may have kept her separated from her relationship with God.
Perhaps this isn’t your experience, but I am certain we can relate to having a perspective that protects us from perceived hurt.
Our perspectives – whether life-giving or life-zapping – require our energy to make known and to exist. Are your stories, your perspectives, zapping the joy right out of your life and from others around you? Or, are your stories, your perspectives, life-giving and full of love, faith, and forgiveness?
Begin with Letting Go
The good news – we have the power to challenge our stories, change our perspectives, and choose to live in freedom from seeking truth. I’d like to offer 5 of the most significant ways letting go of old, life-zapping perspectives will lead to moving on to life-giving, truth-based abundance –
1. Spiritually. God loves you. He loves the imperfect, heartbroken you. He wants to heal your brokenness and make you whole in his love. My friend chose to separate herself from God as a result of another person’s poor decision to excommunicate her from the church. Unfortunately that person made a choice that is not in alignment with God’s heart. The Bible is full of broken, imperfect humans who were used for great works in His Story! God is choosing your story too, and he is asking you to choose him. He will lead you through the transformation of forgiveness.
2. Physically. Our internal thoughts appear on our faces, in our eyes, on our skin, through our weight, and in our energy. When we are stuck on poor perspectives, we “look” it. We simply do not feel or look well.
3. Mentally. When our mind is cluttered with heavy thoughts, inaccurate stories, attempts to manipulate, and false stories, we loose our ability to focus, think wisely, and become forgetful. Our brains feel like they are shrinking and sluggish. Often we describe this as feeling “old”.
4. Financially. The combination of not feeling well and mental sluggishness significantly impacts our productivity at work. As a professional, the result can mean being overlooked for a promotion or for more abundant opportunities. The long term result can be devastating.
5. Relationally. We were created for relationships. When we are isolated, even as introverts, we lose our passion and purpose for living. We attract what we intentionally set out to become spiritually, physically, mentally, and financially. Our relationships are the result of the whole you. Once you are whole in God, whole in love, and whole in independence, you will experience relationships that make you better, and not bitter.
How do I let go?
Letting go of life-zapping perspectives is vital to moving on. But, HOW do we do this?
First, you need a community. Daily encouragement and a safe place to wrestle with thoughts is an absolutely necessity. This community may be online, through your local church, or a group of wise friends who are focused on becoming full of passion and purpose.
Second, you need to understand and love who YOU are! This often begins with decluttering the mind and letting go of the old and bitter to make room for the new and better.
Intentionally pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and stories you tell yourself throughout the day. Mindfully challenge those stories – are they true? Why am I feeling this way? Is this a feeling that I am choosing to keep? Do I have the option to let it go? Is this feeling serving me or destroying me? Is God asking me to hold on to this, or let it go?
Journaling will help you release what needs to go. The physical action of writing has been proven to assist the healing process. Write all the details of the situation or experience – your feelings, frustrations, the story, and then – let it go! Burn the paper. Crumple it up, stomp on it, and physically release it. Make it known that you are done and determine that you are ready to move on. Prayerfully ask God to soften your heart and heal that hurt. Open up to the transformation.
The world needs you because there will never be another you… ever! Make it the best you!
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