Although there may be things in your past you wish you could change, it is important for your own health to forgive yourself. Accept that you cannot change the past. Lingering on memories and feelings of the past that are unpleasant will only create more bad feelings. Why? Because dwelling on the past can actually make you feel more depressed.
Here are a handful of ways to start letting go of the past.
Talk About Your Problems
When you talk about past problems, it’s easier to remember where long-ago issues reside—in the past. When you talk through things that have happened with a counselor, you can begin to alleviate some of the anger or shame associated with the past event.
Working with a professional can help you to let go of the past and learn how to move forward. A therapist can assist you in learning to feel positive emotions about yourself and the situation you currently live in. If past events make you anxious, seek help to forgive yourself and move forward with your life.
Write and Forgive Yourself
Much like talk therapy, writing through your emotions can be a useful way to let go of toxic emotions. When you write about the past, things that happened and how it made you feel, you can see why the event caused you pain and who you may have hurt in the process, intentionally or unintentionally.
Also, you can write down an alternative version of events if that is helpful. You can write down how you would do it now, if you had an opportunity to go back and do it over. Therefore, you can clarify your own morals and values. This process can remind us of what we have learned, how much we have grown.
In addition to journaling, some find it healing to write down events you seek forgiveness for and then burn the paper it is written on. This symbolic gesture is a physical way of getting your emotions out—onto the page—and watching them dissipate. After the page is destroyed, decide to leave the event in the past. If your memory brings it up again, remind yourself to let the thought pass, that you have already forgiven yourself.
Meditate to Forgive Yourself
When you meditate, you can clear your mind of regrets and old hurts, making way for joy and peace. Meditation and mindfulness help to create a healthy life at any age, which is why regular meditation for seniors is so important.
Also, if you choose to, you can use imagery while you meditate to help you forgive yourself. Take deep breaths, calm yourself. Imagine past wrongs in a bubble and watch them float away from you. Let the painful event leave or dissipate from your mind.
Another essential element is learning to love yourself. Through self-love you can forgive yourself, resulting in higher self-esteem. Make yourself a priority. Prioritize time with loving and supportive people. And, if you need help, reach out to begin counseling.