How Gratitude & Forgiveness Can Help You Let Go Of The Past And Heal Trauma

How Gratitude & Forgiveness Can Help You Let Go Of The Past And Heal Trauma
Self

Let go of your past mistakes and finally feel good about who you've become.

When you feel like you can't move forward, how can gratitude and forgiveness help you get moving?

It happens to everyone — sometimes in life, you just feel stuck.

Nothing seems to work. You feel like the world is conspiring against you, like it's all your fault. It’s like you’re stuck at red light, after red light, after red light.

You just wish you knew how to feel good about yourself and your life so you can finally leave the past in the past.

RELATED: The Amazing Thing That Happens In Life When You Learn To Let Go

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can show up any time in life, but they are more commonplace after a breakup.

The problem is, it can be difficult to take action when you feel this way. You end up telling yourself that you’ll do what you need to do when you feel better.

Unfortunately, you won’t magically feel better one day.

Nothing is going to change until you do something different.

If you waited until you felt better, you may never take the necessary actions to create a better life.

The reality is that you have to take action first to change your mental and emotional state.

It’s backward thinking to imagine you’ll just feel better one day. Instead, take action and you will feel better.

Life is full of challenges. There is nothing you can do to avoid them, but you can take an approach that helps you feel empowered.

In order to stop obsessing over past events — whether it was yesterday or decades ago — and move on, don’t wait until you feel better.

Here are 5 easy actions to take to let go of the past and move forward in your life with gratitude and forgiveness. 

1. Find gratitude for all the bad things that have happened.

Why do bad things happen to good people? The answer is simple: To make them better.

People don’t change when times are good. You grow when you struggle against something. Just like you need resistance to build muscle, you need resistance to overcome negative programming. That resistance shows up in the form of challenges and struggles in your life.

How would your life change if you looked at all the bad things that have happened to you as spiritual training on how to become a better person?

Can you look back over your past and find Golden Nuggets of learning that allow you to finally feel grateful for what you went through?

Feeling bitter about your struggles will only keep you stuck and unhappy, fostering a feeling of hopelessness about things that are ever-changing for the better.

See if you can find some wiggle room in your emotional life.

Stretch to see the love in your failures. Foster a feeling of love for the person who hurt you or for the obstacle blocking your path. Find the spiritual lessons in your difficulties.

This practice will change your life.

You can start with the small things, the tiny daily frustrations you experience, and then work your way up to the bigger things like heartbreaks and soul-crushing disappointments.

The ability to find gratitude in your struggles makes you more resilient and able to overcome anything that comes your way.

2. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and move on.

If gratitude is the first step towards lasting happiness, then learning how to forgive yourself and others is the second.

A well-known saying of the Buddha is, "Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Ultimately, forgiveness is for you — not other people. Practicing forgiveness will free you from the energetic dance you’ve been doing with those who have wronged you.

Forgive but don’t forget. Forgetting leaves you open to being hurt or being taken advantage of again. You can always reevaluate, but it’s detrimental to allow a toxic person back into your life.

Forgiveness allows you to free yourself and move on with your life. Without forgiveness, you are energetically stuck in the past and still connected to the person who hurt you.

Imagine that there are strings and ropes of energy keeping you connected to each person and event that you are still holding onto.

This energetic network holds you back from moving forward in your life. It’s like trying to drive forward while pressing on the gas and the brake at the same time.

Forgiveness is the tool that allows you to get "unstuck," freeing you from people and events that poison your soul and damage your well-being.

3. Honor and value yourself by speaking authentically.

What is your relationship with your emotions? Do you ignore them and put your focus only on the positive? Do they build up inside of you until you can’t take it anymore and explode like a volcano?

Or are you so disconnected from your emotions that it would be difficult to identify what you are feeling at this moment?

You are here in human form to experience the full range of human emotions — positive, negative, and everything in-between. When you are disconnected from your emotional life, you are disconnected from yourself.

Your emotions are momentary, but they are important because they contain valuable information.

When you are in touch with your emotions, you are connected to yourself and grounded in your body.

Being able to identify what you’re feeling allows you to speak up and share your feelings. This is how you create emotional intimacy with another person.

In our modern world, intellect is prized and emotions are all too often discounted. The only way to connect with others and create a deep, meaningful bond is to share how you feel.

Talking about how you feel is like sending out invitations to a party. Some people will be able to meet you at that high vibration, and some will not be available to attend your authenticity party.

Whether or not the other person is able to attend is not a reflection of you, it is information about the other person.

Speaking openly about your emotions is also how you honor and value yourself. When you share how you feel, you’re saying that you count and you matter.

The bottom line is when you speak how you feel and are authentic, you will feel better.

RELATED: 12 Ways To Let Go And Free Yourself From A Painful Past

4. Laugh your past troubles away.

Bad memories can haunt us and leave us feeling like we are re-experiencing the situation all over again. You can learn how to stop negative thoughts and forget troubling memories, ultimately transforming them.

Being able to transform memories of troubling events returns your power and connects you to the present moment. You can reclaim the power of your past by transforming your emotional connection to past events.

You may think that your memories are accurate recollections of what actually happened, but your thoughts are colored by your emotional state.

Your memories are malleable. The plot points of the past are not changeable, but the meanings that you assigned to those past events are quite easy to adjust.

Use this laughter technique to lighten the load of your past and reclaim the present moment. And because emotions trigger chemicals to flood the body, faking an emotion does the same thing.

Fake laughing will give you the benefits of real laughter, so get ready to fake it until you make it!

There are three sounds that make a laugh: "ho," "ha," and "he." Rotating these sounds three at a time will give you something easy to work with.

Place your hands on your low belly, focus on taking a breath into that low place where your hands are resting, and then begin to fake laugh: "Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! He, he, he!"

After a short amount of time, you’ll find that you’re actually laughing. It’s infectious and contagious. Once you have a good laugh going, speak the horrible event or memory out-loud while laughing hysterically.

It may take some getting used to. Just like learning to do anything, practice makes perfect. Practice re-telling your old stories like they are the most hilarious events you can think of, and you’ll no longer be haunted by the past.

5. Focus on progress, not perfection.

As long as you are striving to move forward in your life, learning from your past mistakes, and making corrections along the way, you are a success.

Don’t let some mythical idea of perfection get in the way of you celebrating all of the small, medium, and large successes on your journey.

Perfectionism — or even striving for perfectionism — chips away at your happiness, making you feel as though you are forever falling short.

On a day when you are feeling good about yourself, get a notebook and write down your major life successes. Refer to this list on the days when you’re feeling blue about yourself.

Each night, remind yourself of what you accomplished and leave what hasn’t been finished for another day.

Beating yourself up because there is more to do will leave you feeling exhausted and facing the next day with an empty gas tank. Instead, focus on filling your tank by acknowledging what you succeed at.

We love the analogy of a garden, and we love to garden, and grow organic vegetables. A truth that any gardener knows is that the garden is never complete.

There is always something more to do, and as the seasons change, the garden becomes something new.

You’ll never be done weeding or watering or even harvesting your hard work. Just like a garden, you are not a finished product nor will you ever be.

Learn how to move on from the past by allowing yourself to flow with the seasons of your life while finding acceptance for what is and the love of your journey.

Knowing how to feel good about yourself and leaving the past behind you gives you back the power to create the life and love you desire.

RELATED: Why Letting Go Of A Past Love Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Future You

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Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches for women who have everything, except the man of their dreams. They help their clients release habits with programs to create long-lasting love from the inside out. Download a complimentary copy of their e-book, Recognizing Mr. Right, on their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.