In her latest personal development article Anna Boroshok offers advice on how to feel good about yourself.
Negative memories are like a heavy stone hanging around your neck which doesn’t allow you to breathe with a full chest and pulls you down. But there are ways to take off that stone, leave it behind and start a new chapter of your life where nothing negative holds you back.
To start with, let us divide your negative memories into two categories: those where you blame yourself for something you have done and those where you blame others for something nasty they did to you.
To let go of negative memories about yourself, do this exercise:
Find a silent comfortable place where you can be alone for 10-20 minutes. Close your eyes and travel back to the moment in time where you think you did something wrong or did not take the right action. For a moment just observe yourself back then. What does your past self feel? What is she thinking about? What is she afraid of? Try to understand why you behaved the way you behaved. Then approach yourself with a compassion and tell yourself: “You were acting from your best experience, knowledge and the situation, and I do not hold any grudges on you. I love you and accept you fully. If not you, I would not learn everything I know now.” Hug your past self tightly.
When you feel bad memories coming back again, connect to your past self and give her love and understanding or do the following exercise on forgiving yourself:
List everything you blame yourself for on a piece of paper. Read it through, experience the pain of heart-breaking memories but not for too long, maximum for 20 minutes. Then choose a powerful ritual of letting go of these limiting memories. For example, you can burn this list in a bonfire made especially for this occasion or give it to the ocean. Detach yourself from this negative past. Thank them for the learnings. It’s a final farewell.
Now, let us move to the second exercise on letting go bad memories about people who hurt you:
- List people who have hurt you.
- Choose one person for the exercise (start from someone easy, meaning someone who hurt you but not that much).
- Find a calm dark place and sit down comfortably.
- Close your eyes and imagine the person standing in front of you.
- Live through the pain that the person gave you but only for several minutes.
- Then feel compassion towards this person. Try to understand why that person behaved in such a way. It was probably because he/she lived some painful life experiences, was insecure or simply was not mature enough
- Say to this person: “I feel you, I understand you, I forgive you.”
You should feel better right after the exercise. But note that you need to repeat it until the heavy and unpleasant feeling about that person is gone and you feel a loving compassion towards him or her. Then, move to other people on the list and do the same exercise until you exhaust it.
To conclude, always be compassionate and understanding towards yourself because without loving yourself you cannot love and accept others.