It’s been said that forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.



If I’m not able to forgive (myself and/or others) and let go of the past, I wind up like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day. In the movie, he gets stuck in some sort of strange loop where every single day is February 2nd and he has to live it all over and over again.
Until we’re able to let go of the past, we condemn ourselves to living negative events over and over again.
For example:
Let’s say someone on the highway cuts you off during your morning commute and it totally infuriates you.
You can let choose to lean on your horn, then let it go and get on with your day.
You can choose to replay it over and over in your head, getting more and more worked up. You can tell all your coworkers about this dangerous jerk on the highway who almost killed you. Then you tell the tale to a friend you meet for lunch and finally when you get home you tell your partner all about the ordeal.
By the time you climb into bed – your body feels like you’ve run a marathon because you’ve actually been cut off 101 times… once by the person on the highway and 100 times by yourself – by reliving it in your head.
In my first book I wrote:

The Mortality Manifesto specifically says, “I do not dwell on the past”. The use of the word dwell acknowledges that the past holds lessons for us. What we need to do, however, is to hang on to the lessons and let go of the circumstances that brought them to us.

For more on the numerous physical and mental benefits of forgiveness, check out an article called The Forgiveness Boost from The Atlantic.
This article was originally sent out to subscribers of my free, weekly “Destroying the BS” mailing list.  Why not sign up?