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Moving Forward into the New Year by Letting Go of the Past

For many people, this year is an especially daunting one to face. Perhaps you’re feeling drained or fearful of the year ahead. The past year was filled with politics, stress, distressful rhetoric, and an uncanny sense of being separate as a country, community, and family. You may be grieving the loss of a friend or family member that brought you comfort. Letting go of them leaves you feeling more vulnerable and insecure as you move into 2017.

Unfortunately, you cannot stay in the past. Life goes on, relationships change, careers move forward, and children grow up. You, too, must continue to learn new things, take on new challenges, and grow into the person you’re meant to become. In order to do that, you have to remember the past, enjoy the present, and move forward into the future.

If you’re digging in your heels and holding on to grudges and scars, these suggestions can help you let go and move forward:

  1. Take responsibility, accept the situation, and decide you’re ready to let go. There are many reasons people hang on to grudges and painful memories. One reason is that it can offer excuses for them to be right. Another reason is that they may gain attention from being a victim. Both of these are passive forms of hurt and anger, and it will be beneficial for to let go of these in the new year.

  2. Forgiving is a choice. It is also a freedom you give to yourself and the person who wronged you. If you feel as though you’re carrying hurtful memories or anger into 2017, it will affect every relationship you encounter. Why destroy positive relationships with others because of pain from the past? Free yourself to love and be whole by forgiving.

  3. Focus on what you can control in your life, and take charge in the new year. You can control your lifestyle, how you communicate and with whom, and what you spend your energy on. Stop wasting precious time on what happened in the past because you cannot go back and change it.

  4. Live in the present and build towards the future. Living in the present forces you to appreciate moments. It also helps you avoid petty, trivial gossip about the past. Spend more time with friends and family, creating memories that make you laugh and heal a painful past.

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