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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

how to be happy: let go of the past

It's interesting. In the past two weeks, I've had several conversations with friends who are being held back by a memory of a situation, tragedy or conversation that they can't seem to move past. Several of these conversations have been going on for months and one, years. Either they don't feel that they deserve to be happy or they are so stuck in the mire of depression that they can't actually see a way out.

I know this feeling.

There have been times in my life that I have dwelled in the humiliation of an action that caused someone else or me grief. In the past I would replay that memory over and over in my head. My therapist at the time told me that the more I think about the thing that causes me pain/anxiety, the stronger that memory becomes and the more debilitating that is to my psyche. It's like walking the same path through a field of high grass. It's hard at first to wade through the tall grass but each day you walk, the grass becomes more and more trampled down until you can easily run that path blindfolded. It's the same with a bad memory. The more you run it over in your head, the easier it becomes to access that bad memory. It's there like a scar that never seems to heal.

The only way past this part is to release it. Whatever happened, it's time to let it go and move forward. Stop punishing yourself. Carrying guilt is a heavy burden, Constantly reminding yourself of what happened, won't change what did happen.

What you CAN change is what happens from this millisecond going forward. Empty that heavy heart of yours so that it can be filled with light and happiness. Every time the thought of what happened in the past enters your mind, change it. Immediately. Think about something that brings you joy. Say a prayer. Repeat a mantra. If this doesn't work, change your scenario. Go for a walk. Stop thinking about the negative thing. Stop talking about it with friends and family. It happened. It's over. If you have yet to apologize and your heart tells you you should then do it and move forward with a clear heart and mind.

Every day we have the ability to decide what our future is. Who are you today? Are you on a path that will make you and the people around you happy?

It's hard to make that first step of releasing the negative. I get it. Strangely, there can be comfort in the heaviness that holds you back. If you're feeling small, you protect your heart. You don't have to step out of your comfort zone and take another shot at life. It's easy to stay swirling in darkness. You just have to do nothing. It takes bravery and effort to climb out of that negative, dark place. But oh, the light. That yellow-pink sunlight of happiness that is there waiting to fill your soul up is so worth it. It's so close. Today, just let it go. The action, the sadness, the humiliation, the loss of a person/pet/job is now part of your past.

Onward, sunshine.

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