HOW DO I STOP ALLOWING MY PAST TO MAKE ME BITTER AND FORGIVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HURT ME?
We have all probably heard of the ancient story of Joesph and his jealous brothers as kids. I’ll be the first to admit – I never really paid it much mind nor understood the deeper meaning until recently.
To cut the long story short, Joesph was a boy who because of the jealousy of his brothers was sold into slavery, imprisoned and separated from his family for 22 years. Finally when released, becomes the second in command in Egypt which was when he finally reconnects with his family.
I stumbled across a Ted Talk by Peter Sage on not waiting for life to happen the same week I choose to pick up the Bible and start reading Genisis again. Although the story of Joesph was not part of his talk – it was his closing message that helped me understand the depth of the story. It’s a story we all can use for self-reflection, forgiveness, and learn how to let go of our past to get where we need to be.
Life itself is a journey, and your journey can sometimes teach you a lot about your destination. We often let excuses become obstacles that get in the way of our own success, and blame our circumstances for the way things are but in reality; we are the ones in control of our destiny and the way we choose to react to certain things.
Although it would have been justified for Joesph to be angry and bitter about what he was put through, he wasn’t. If he was, the bigger picture would not have been served. He did not allow is life experience to shape him. He rose above it. He could have very much grown into a very bitter man throughout those 22 years, but instead chose to overlook his feelings.
“Now, don’t be sad or angry with yourselves that you sold me. God sent me ahead of you to save lives.” (GWT) GENESIS 45:5
Egypt most likely would not have survived the famine had he not been there. Joesph saw the greater hand at work and was not angry at God – which we often are when things go wrong. Some of the things we find hard to forget or forgive are nothing compared to being sold into slavery for 22 years. If we reflected this back to us, would we be as forgiving and choose happiness – seeing the bigger picture?
So how do you stop yourself from feeling bitter about your past?
First things first, you have to acknowledge and accept what has happened to you and the feelings that have risen as a result. There is no magic wand to change the past, but that also does not mean living in denial. It is important to be honest with yourself about how you feel, and the reason why you feel the way you do.
Sometimes the best of lessons are learned from our mistakes and what better way to learn from them than to recognise the wrong. Sometimes this can be to prevent it from happening again or simply to help see the bigger picture.
Everything happens for a reason as they say, and there is a light at the end of every tunnel. It all depends on how you choose to look at things, and whether you will allow the situation to be an obstacle.
3. Let go and move forward:
This may be easier said than done, but if you are not willing to grow and move on from what has happened – it will hold you back forever. Just as Peter Sage said in his Ted talk; “You can’t drive through your life looking in the review mirror, you’ll crash and miss the scenery. You can’t dance through life with a ball and chain wrapped around your foot – it just does not work that way.”
“You can’t drive through your life looking in the review mirror – you’ll crash and miss the scenery.”
“You can’t dance through life with a ball and chain wrapped around your foot – it just does not work that way.” PETER SAGE
It takes a lot to forgive but it’s all about letting go of the hurt, and not letting others control your emotions. Choose to use the negative around you and make that your driving force to create a better picture of what you would like your life to be. Like the ancient proverb says ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’
You can watch Peter Sage’s Ted Talk where he briefly touches on this subject here:
“It never really matters what happens to you in life – it’s all part of your story. The only thing that matters is what you do with that story. How you choose to write your story, how do you hold the pen?” – PETER SAGE