An intriguing question always pop up to head when it comes to compassion and forgiveness in this wonderful month of Ramdan… Does letting go necessarily mean to forgive? Some people spend their lives either trying to bury their heads in the sand or stand in the face of everything and everyone, including themselves. Others believe that “time is the best healer”… while in fact time is not always enough to heal when there’s an absence of a real “change” that starts from within.
Now the question is … HOW TO LET GO AND MOVE ON?
• Free yourself off the effects of other people’s negative words and behaviors.
• Comprehend what happens when you are ‘offended’.
• Set the real reasons that is causing you to ‘hold on’.
• Realize that you can take back control of your life.
• Gain new perspective on old issues you thought have been dealt with.
• Discover why time is not a good healer.
• Let Go and Move On with step by step instructions.
• Analyze your progress.
• Help others to do the same!
Some wrong ideas about letting go
The Secret to Letting Go and Moving On is NOT:
• A quick fix – it may take some time but results in a lifelong change.
• Psychobabble – it’s old-age common sense.
• Playing mind games – it reaches deep inside and changes emotions.
• A magic wand – there’s ‘work’ to be done.
Some people choose the “Alternate Story Concept” when they decide to let go. This concept is about justifying whatever false deeds others might have done. It entails assuming good intentions when thinking about the actions of others! The power of the Alternate Story technique is that it reconnects us to our compassion, our sense of “Oh, yeah, sometimes I do that, too”. It works the best when it’s about little situations. It prevents the mind from getting upset and stops negative feelings, sadness and anger. We get to remember that we can’t know what’s wrong with the other person, and that sometimes our behavior may feel just as annoying to someone else; even if we didn’t mean it that way at all.
“The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that.” -Eckhart Tolle
Real life stories about people who managed to let go…
A mother’s forgiveness…
Two years after her 13-year-old daughter; Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus was accidentally shot and killed by a classmate on a school bus, Ady Guzman-DeJesus faced her daughter’s killer, Jordyn Howe, in court. Ady did something when she saw Howe that most people found unbelievable; she hugged him and offered him a generous plea deal. It might be hard to imagine how any parent could hug their child’s killer, but Ady saw an opportunity to do a better act than sending a teenager to prison for making a terrible mistake. Howe had taken his stepfather’s pistol and was bringing it to school. He was showing off the weapon to his friends when it accidentally discharged and hit Lourdes in the neck, causing her death. At his sentencing, Howe pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a minor, and carrying a concealed weapon. After originally pushing for a harsh sentence for Howe, Ady changed her mind, recognizing that her daughter’s killer was only a child when he made this grave mistake. Ady offered to reduce the verdict so that Howe would spend the minimal amount of time in a juvenile rehabilitation center, and would then be obligated to travel with Ady to lecture about the dangers of guns. Ady’s decision showed an incredible level of forgiveness, and while some might say they could never fathom doing what this mother has just done, others might argue that forgiveness is the only remedy for great tragedy. Any way you look at it though, what Ady has done is honorable and brave in ways that are simply astounding.
In a more surprising act:
In 1993, a teenager named Oshea Israel shot and killed 20-year-old Laramiun Byrd at a party both were attending in Minneapolis. Israel was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for second-degree murder, while the mother of the victim was sentenced to live without her only child! As Byrd’s mother, Mary Johnson, looked at her son’s killer in the courtroom, she struggled with feelings of anger and resentment. Johnson’s faith compelled her to forgive yet the anger failed to subside. After many years of fighting her emotions, she made the fateful decision to reach out to her son’s killer. The conversation that ensued proved cathartic for both Israel and Johnson. When the meeting concluded, and Israel had returned to his cell, Johnson reflected in awe about what happened. “I just hugged the man that murdered my son,” she said. “And I instantly knew that all anger and animosity, all the stuff I had in my heart for 12 years … was over.” Fast forward to today. Israel was released from prison in 2010, and has become very close to the mother of the man he killed. Johnson describes Israel as her “spiritual son,” and looks forward to seeing him graduate from college and potentially get married—two things she never got to see her biological son do. In January, Johnson got married, with Israel walking her down the aisle. In 2005, Johnson founded From Death to Life, a non-profit group committed to promoting healing through forgiveness for those who have been impacted by violent crimes!
Letting go is hard but holding on is harder! In the aforementioned stories, those women were able to forgive, to free their tortured souls from the heavy burden of anger, to reach peace of mind. You can do it too! You won’t necessarily be able to forgive at once; as forgiveness is achieved by time. However, when you’re able to let go… there comes a moment when you forgive; may be without even knowing!