Forgiveness: The Ultimate Act Of Letting Go

If you want to live a simple life you need to learn to let go. Minimalists often talk about letting go of physical belongings. To find peace, you also need to let go of negative emotions and harbored resentment. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of letting go. Do you have anyone you need to forgive?


I Was Raised In A Cult

My life journey has been unique compared to the average. From the age of 10 to 16, I was raised in a cult. It’s from that experience that I learned to live a spartan lifestyle. I lived in a home with more than a dozen other boys and young men. We lived simply. We had few belongings and everything was organized for efficiency. I worked long hours as part of this community. The experience drove the value of hard work and essentialism deep into my psyche. I believe the experience made me a better person in the long run.

I was also mistreated in the cult. I was overworked. I was abused, mentally, spiritually, and physically. After my escape, I became angry and resentful toward several people in my life. You can learn about this journey in my book, A Train Called Forgiveness.

In my 20s, I continued to live as a minimalist. I lived in studio apartments and trailers. Looking back, I was very free. I had very few belongings. I rode a bike as my mode of transportation. I had no debt. My monthly bills came to less than $200 per month. I traveled every winter. There are days I long to go back. Except, there was one problem. I was angry. I was holding onto my feelings of hate toward those who had hurt me as a child.

Those negative feelings led to overusing alcohol and drugs. The overuse of alcohol and drugs led to feelings of fear and paranoia. I was a mess. Until I discovered the power of forgiveness. Something amazing happens when we forgive our enemies. We’re set free.

Forgiveness Is The Ultimate Act Of Letting Go

If you struggle with any of these problems: addiction, hoarding, overeating, anger, gambling, pornography, low self-esteem, or many others, resentment could be at the core. When you’re angry with others, you’re angry with yourself. When you’re angry with yourself, you abuse yourself in one way or another.

When you forgive those who hurt you in the past, you begin the process of healing. It’s not an overnight process. It takes time. You have to continually forgive. Here’s what Jesus had to say about forgiveness:

I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  

Whether or not you’re a believer in the Christian faith, these are wise words. Because holding onto resentment only hurts YOU. Continually forgiving sets you free. Here’s why:

  1. Forgiveness allows you to control your own happiness: When you hold a grudge against someone, you’re essentially letting them control your happiness. When you forgive them, you regain that control.
  2. Forgiveness allows you to learn from every circumstance: Life can be hard. Everyone gets hurt in one way or another. When you hold onto resentment, you’ll never learn to accept what has already passed. When you forgive, you can learn the lessons from your experience. In turn, you can teach others the power of forgiveness.  
  3. Forgiveness helps you to stop acting like the victim: People who hold onto resentment play the victim card. “Oh, poor me. It’s not my fault.” As long as this is your mentality, you’ll never move forward. By not forgiving those who’ve hurt you, you only hold yourself back.
  4. Forgiveness allows you to let go and move on: You can never make someone else apologize. Don’t wait. Forgive those who have harmed you, NOW. Continue to forgive them each day. You’ll no longer be chained to the negative memory. You’ll find that as you continually forgive, you’ll have the freedom to move forward on your own journey.

Living A Simple Life Requires Letting Go

Let go of unneeded stuff. Unclutter your home. Downsize. Also, let go of negative emotions. To truly find freedom in simple living, you must forgive the enemies of your past. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of letting go.

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James Ewen
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