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Peace with the Past

25 Sep

Even God cannot change the past.
—Agathon

Holding on to the past, either through guilt, longing, denial, or resentment, is a waste of valuable energy – energy that can be used to transform today and tomorrow.

“I used to live in my past,” said one recovering woman. “I was either trying to change it, or I was letting it control me. Usually both.

“I constantly felt guilty about things that had happened. Things I had done; things others had done to me – even though I had made amends for most everything, the guilt ran deep. Everything was somehow my fault. I could never just let it go.

“I held on to anger for years, telling myself it was justified. I was in denial about a lot of things. Sometimes, I’d try to absolutely forget about my past, but I never really stopped and sorted through it; my past was like a dark cloud that followed me around, and I couldn’t shake clear of it. I guess I was scared to let it go, afraid of today, afraid of tomorrow.

I’ve been recovering now for years, and it has taken me almost as many years to gain the proper perspective on my past. I’m learning I can’t forget it; I need to heal from it. I need to feel and let go of any feelings I still have, especially anger.

“I need to stop blaming myself for painful events that took place, and trust that everything has happened on schedule, and truly all is okay. I’ve learned to stop regretting, and to start being grateful.

“When I think about the past, I thank God for the healing and the memory. If something occurs that needs an amend, I make it and am done with it. I’ve learned to look at my past with compassion for myself, trusting that my Higher Power was in control, even then.

“I’ve healed from some of the worst things that happened to me. I’ve made peace with myself about these issues, and I’ve learned that healing from some of these issues has enabled me to help others to heal too. I’m able to see how the worst things helped form my character and developed some of my finer points.

“I’ve even developed gratitude for my failed relationships because they have brought me to who and where I am today.

“What I’ve learned has been acceptance – without guilt, anger, blame, or shame. I’ve even had to learn to accept the years I spent feeling guilty, angry, shameful, and blaming.”

We cannot control the past. But we can transform it by allowing ourselves to heal from it and by accepting it with love for others and ourselves. I know, because that woman is me.

Today, I will begin being grateful for my past. I cannot change what happened, but I can transform the past by owning my power, now, to accept, heal, and learn from it.

Source – The Language of Letting Go

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