Two monks were walking along a road when they came to a river. An older woman was sitting on a rock near the river. The woman was visibly upset. She lamented to the monks the bridge collapsed and she was unable to cross the river on her own. The woman needed to reach her family on the other side.
The monks offered to carry the woman across and successfully set her down on the other side. As the monks continued on their way, one looked at the other and said, “Just look at my robes! They’re all dirty and muddy from carrying that woman.”
A few miles later the same monk complained, “I think I strained my leg while carrying her. I can’t believe she couldn’t get herself across the river.”
After walking five miles the grumbling monk griped again, “My back is killing me! I hurt my back carrying her and she didn’t even say, “Thank you. Doesn’t your back hurt also?”
The other monk replied, “No, my back isn’t hurting because I sat her down five miles ago. You, on the other hand, are still carrying her.”
Within our blended families our experiences will be both good and bad, however, we have the ability to interpret what they mean to us. We impose victim status on ourselves – we consciously or unconsciously label ourselves as victims. Playing the part accordingly denying our personal power and selves in the process. Like the grumbling monk in the above story, we can decide to be a victim and lug the burden of the stuff from the past, long after the actual events occurred.
We can also decide to live in freedom by choosing to forgive and let go of the offenses of the past so they do not hurt us in the long term. The things we carry forward from past events are either resentment, guilt, or a combination of the two. Resentment is usually directed toward others and guilt toward ourselves, but the result is the same – unhappiness and weakness.
I used to believe and I have heard people say staying angry toward someone who has done you wrong is a source of power and strength – not true. In the majority of cases, the person who offended you doesn’t even have a clue you’re angry at them. Carrying around resentment toward someone and being unwilling to forgive is like drinking poison, expecting the other person to die.
Guilt is just as damaging because we build self-imposed barriers for ourselves. These limiting beliefs handicap everything we do and ensures our full expression of life never surfaces. Just like with forgiving someone else, forgiveness toward ourselves is crucial to living free.
Also, think of how this unresolved resentment and guilt robs the people around you of your energy, attention and love. Those you love deserve your full attention and ability. We must learn to forgive.
Lay down your past burdens and set yourself free. Forget the past and live in the present. You cannot change the past, but you can make the present happier and more enjoyable. Improving your present moment will improve your future as well. Your ability to free your mind from the past and from unnecessary and negative thoughts will bring more happiness, joy and real freedom in your life.
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