One of the basic tenets of personal empowerment is letting go of things that are holding you back from being successful. As a Certified Empowerment Coach I help people regain their sense of power over unproductive issues and help them reclaim peace and success in their lives. Here’s how…
Forgive, Let Go, Rejuvenate
Holding onto past hurts, continuing to carry anger towards someone or some event, really winds up hurting only one person – you. Here are some of the negative effects that holding onto anger and pain can have:
1. It can destroy your peace. You replay the circumstances over and over in your head and angry, or depressed, negative thoughts become your signature personality. Those thoughts start to show in your facial expression, the way you carry yourself. Pretty soon people start describing you as that miserable, angry person with that big chip on your shoulder.
2. It will not only undermine present relationships – both personal and work related – but for as long into the future that you carry it with you. You may as well think of your anger and pain as your sad/bad “mini-you” that you carry on your shoulders that undermines everything good in your life. People in chronic anger/pain tend to drink alcohol and abuse drugs more, get into fights, car accidents, negative situations that only worsen their feelings.
3. It can ruin your health – even make you seriously ill. Being deeply angry, depressed carrying pain around, causes a lot of physical changes to your body. First, it creates an elevation of bad stress hormones that cause disease-igniting inflammation throughout your entire body. Secondly, it raises blood pressure putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Yet, if you choose to let go of that anger and pain you can also let go of all those negative effects. Forgiving people, circumstances, whatever it was that caused you anger and pain, can be the biggest health, happiness and peace tonic you ever gave yourself. So how do you get to a place of peace, happiness and success from carrying around that heavy baggage of misery? Here are some suggestions that I give my clients…
1. Acknowledge your anger and pain. You need to actively grieve for the event that caused your anger and pain – whether it was the death of someone close, a divorce, loss of a job, loss of a high honor or position, social embarrassment, or financial troubles that snowballed into more problems, etc.
2. List the ways it has changed your life. Make a list of all the ways the anger/pain has impacted on your life. You may have been in denial about how badly your life has been affected by your angry baggage and maybe haven’t attributed all the domino effect of things that could have resulted. Forcing yourself to itemize things on paper can give you a clearer picture of how your feelings could have negatively impacted many different things in your life.
3. Move out of victim mode. Deciding to forgive a person, or situation, is to also release the control it had over your life. Deciding to be at peace and successful with the rest of your life empowers you. In certain circumstances, you may even be able to look at the person’s actions, the situation that occurred, in a more understanding light. Even with cases of child sexual abuse, where psychologists often recommend that victims obtain re-empowerment through not forgiving their abuser, you can still release the anger and pain and regain peace.
4. The only change that matters is the one in you. You can only change yourself – not others. Understand that choosing to forgive someone who hurt you doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to change their behavior towards you, or that situations will ever change back in your favor. Yet, by changing your current actions and going on successfully with your life, now, you’ve removed the opportunity for someone, or something, to continue hurting you. Like the old saying goes, “The best revenge is living well”.
When bad things happen in life that hurt you, the good news is that life does go on and you can choose to leave those painful memories in your past. Today, you’re a different person – one that still needs recognition, peace, happiness and success. Letting go of the baggage of that old ‘hurting’ self is the only way to reclaim your life as the person you are today.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach