Learning how to let go and forgive helped me a lot after two “break-ups.” Neither of these was with a spouse or romantic partner, but they were deep and difficult and painful nonetheless.
One was with a dear friend of several years, and the other was with an organization I worked at for 20 years.
A friend abruptly cut off contact with me, with just a curt e-mail that gave no indication of what I had done wrong, refusing to interact with me further. I felt betrayed, angry, and hurt. I spent time over and over looking at what I might have done wrong and blaming her.
Leaving a job I had for 20 years was very painful and grief-filled. Although I loved some aspects of it, and was well paid, the environment became increasingly toxic, and I was bullied and treated unfairly by colleagues and administration. I made mistakes, too, in how to deal with these folks, although in no way did I deserve the treatment I received. I was filled with resentment and later grief, once I decided I had to leave.
Eventually, I let go. In both these situations, after a while I was able to access what I’ve learned about how to let go of resentments and forgive myself and others. I want to share these five (hard learned) tips with you:
Five Tips for Letting Go:
1. Acknowledge the value to your well-being of letting go. Resentment hurts you, not them.
2. Look gently at your contribution to the situation as well as theirs. Even if all you did was stand there and “take” the hurt or “take” offense—that was your choice at that moment and not their responsibility.
3. Become willing to let go of resentment and guilt and act as you would if you’d already let go.
4. Send good thoughts/blessings to them and to yourself. Believe they did the best they could at the time, even if it was wrong, unkind, or inappropriate. Believe you did the best you could at that time, too, even if you understand more now and would handle it differently.
5. Repeat every day for 2 weeks. If you are still holding a grudge or spending a lot of time thinking about them or the situation—repeat for another 2 weeks
I felt a lot lighter and better when I began taking these actions, and got support from wise friends. I had more energy and appreciation for my life and all the blessings in it. It felt so good in fact, that I’ve become quicker and quicker to actively practice these tips with any new challenging situations around resentment and forgiveness. I began to share these techniques with clients and students, and they, too, have found them supportive and valuable. We all deserve to let go and be free!