Dr. Andrew Butterworth is a Content Writer, Author, Coach, Pastor.
Have you ever felt uneasy when somebody’s name gets mentioned? Or when the name of a previous company gets brought up? Perhaps a past relationship that didn’t end well?
All of us go through life. We have good experiences and bad experiences. It’s the nature of being human. Those bad experiences can even make us stronger. We learn lessons and if we are wise, we make sure we don’t repeat the experience again.
But here’s the rub: if things from the past trigger negative emotions inside of you it means there are people or experiences taking up space in your brain that you just don’t need. It’s like a physical wound that doesn’t heal. Physical wounds should heal and scar. But sometimes they don’t. If there is dirt inside they can get infected. They are really sensitive when they get knocked. Ow!
It’s the same for emotional wounds. Most of the time we process the wounds well and they heal. But sometimes they don’t and they linger inside.
You and I don’t need that emotionally. Life’s hard enough without having emotional wounds that aren’t fully healed.
Have you ever been in a stressful time at work and then somebody triggers a wound from the past? Or have you ever been on the end of somebody’s emotion when you’ve triggered that wound? Why did they react so over the top? It’s because you hit a wound.
The good news is there is an answer. We have an inbuilt ability to process pain from the past that allows things to heal. These memories no longer need to take up valuable space in our brain.
Anybody can learn how to do it. It just takes practice.
So what’s the key? The key is forgiveness. Weird I know. But forgiving properly means that you no longer use precious brain power ruminating over the past. That brain power could be put to much better use. Who want’s to live in the past anyway? Life is for the present.
I know what you are thinking: It seems too simplistic. Or, you’ve tried that and it didn’t work. Or even ‘that’s letting them off the hook’. But forgiveness really works. I have helped almost a hundred people process their toxic thoughts and get real freedom. The commonest response people say is ‘I feel so much lighter’ or ‘It’s like a burden has been lifted off me’.
In some ways, you are letting them off the hook because you are choosing something better. You are releasing them from being locked up inside of your brain. But the person who gets free is you.
In reality, not forgiving only harms yourself.
Somebody once said failing to forgive is like buying a poison and then drinking it yourself. Nobody gets harmed more by your toxic thoughts than yourself.
In contrast, forgiving people releases this and creates valuable space in your brain for other things. It makes space for other things, like creativity.
Have a think: How much creativity are you losing out on because your brain power is being taken up with toxic thoughts?
I encourage you to try forgiveness out. It’s incredibly freeing. You can do it by yourself, but sometimes it’s helpful to have somebody guide you through it. There are many people out there who can help. Engaging somebody who is skilled in this is probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make.