The monopolization of crippling cycles over people is a common cultural phenomenon. The cycles of guilt, regret and shame are at the top of the list of emotions that have a debilitating nature. These emotions occur because either you've been hurt or you've hurt someone else.
Whether you are the alleged victim or victimizer, you really don't have to carry the baggage of your past into the future. In fact, as a counselor, I train clients to take out past garbage to make room for new and incredible people, things, experiences and opportunities along life's journey. It's a powerful experience to watch long-time "garbage carriers" throw away old junk.
Imagine not being a prisoner of your past experiences! Your entire life outlook would change to a clear view of life. Now, how do we get to the point of relinquishing the past? Good question! Well, the answer is to intentionally, insistently practice the art of forgiveness. Sounds simply, but, it's a tough skill that most folks never develop. I need not give you examples of cases of individual's inability to forgive, since I'm sure you have some of your own.
I think Maya Angelou made one of the strongest points ever about forgiveness: "It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody." It's easy to get caught up into what other people said or did against you, but in the bigger picture of life, it doesn't really matter. And that applies to any offense, no matter how big or small. When you can't think beyond what someone did to you, then you knock yourself off course, waste time, and forfeit your good fortune.
My challenge for you this week:
Make a list of past experiences that were negative to the point that they impact your current life, particularly your ability to love others or confidently pursue your life mission. Once the list is made, place a name by the person you suspect started the experience. Review the list for completeness. Next, make the decision to forgive everyone on the list! You don't have to approach these individuals. Just forgive them, throw away the list, and start focusing on yourself.
Stop allowing cycles to monopolize your life. Move on, embrace knowledge, and make positive change!