It may still be painful, but you have to let go to heal and live.
I can distinctly remember the sound the lamp cord made when it hit my back. It felt like the entire world was quiet and all I could hear was the whoosh and smack when the cord hit my back. I was 16 years old and still taking frequent beatings from my parents for things a teenage normally does.
We had a fairly normal childhood until I was 15 years old. At that point, my parents forced us to go to an intensely legalistic church. We started following all of this church’s teachings, which meant getting rid of a lot of things in our lives.
We didn’t watch TV anymore, boys had to wear long pants, women always wore dresses. We weren’t allowed to date or have interaction with the opposite sex. The last thing to go was music. I remember listening to some cassette while we were on a family trip. When it was heard what I was listening to, I got smacked, and my Walkman was thrown out of the window.
I grew up with a lot of rules and very little love. When I turned 17, I had enough and chose to live on the streets instead of continuing to be abused mentally and physically (severe spankings). I was messed up and scared people away. At 17, I got three jobs to survive. It was at one of those jobs that I met the love of my life.
I tried to be “normal” and love her, but I was battling demons from the past. The beatings, the lack of love, and the craziness of the church were still working up angry and depressed emotions inside of me. It took a lot of time and counseling to realize I had a decision to make. This is a decision every man must make at some point. I had to make the decision to let go of the past.
Letting Go of the Past
Life is hard and messed up. It doesn’t work out as planned and it never works out like the movies. There are so many circumstances that are out of our control. Every man has baggage. It may be one thing or several things that have a grip on us and keep us from moving forward in our lives. The path to healing goes through forgiveness and letting go.
You don’t have let that person know you’ve forgiven them—it can a decision you make in your mind and for yourself. But, the healing process starts with forgiving yourself and forgetting about them. Letting go helps you turn your focus to what’s ahead.
Your past can be a weight that keeps you from taking action on the kind of life you want to live if you let it. Or, it can be the experiences you learn from and get strength from. It’s a decision you must make. Letting go frees you in your mind and maybe even in your body.
I went through some messed up circumstances, and I’m still growing as a man, but today I’m happy. I have a beautiful wife and three great kids. I write and speak all over the world for a living. We live on Maui, Hawaii. It took a lot of inner work to get here but letting go helped me take the first steps.
I don’t know what your story is, but you can overcome it and change it. Your past doesn’t have to hurt your future and all the things you want to with your life. Let go and move forward. Talk to someone, work through it, and take it one day at a time.
Is there something in your past that you need to let go of?
Photo: Flickr/ John