Life can seem unreasonably unfair at times. In a perfect world, every person would answer for their crimes, and every person would know the satisfaction of seeing the Universe right itself after every wrong. Instant karma isn’t always in the cards. We don’t always get the resolution we were hoping for, and sometimes closure never comes.
Letting go is hard. Too many of us know this difficult truth far too well. I struggled with my own looming injustice for many years. Deep down, I knew the weight of it would be too heavy to carry forever, and yet I dragged it along for so long. It slowed my every movement and only compounded my roadblocks, but still I clung to it as though it held some key to a magic door.
But there was no door, no threshold to cross, no sudden fix that might allow the world to right itself once more. The only other choice was to find some means to make peace with my burden.
Letting go isn’t always as simple as forgiving someone after they’ve hurt you and being done with it. Forgiveness is a complicated thing. Not everyone has it in them to look Evil in the eyes and say, “I would offer you compassion, even knowing you would never do the same for me.”
We don’t have to love our offenders.
We can, however, come to a place of distance and perspective, a state of personal peace that removes the need to waste our energy on hate. Human monsters exist. Sometimes they find the means to do terrible things to good people, and sometimes they get away with it.
They don’t get to define us for the rest of our lives. Choosing between being victims and survivors is merely the first step in healing. Our monsters’ wrongdoings have failed the moment we decide to live our lives despite them, move on despite them, be happy despite them. Each of us has the power to become the hero of our story, but first we must triumph over the darkness holding us back.
It’s not easy, but it begins with making a choice to seek inner peace despite any unresolved wrongdoings against us. It’s about understanding that our personal happiness doesn’t need to hinge on seeing justice in this one place. We cannot live as though the injustice never happened, but we must carry on all the same. I found my inner peace and personal empowerment through mindfulness and meditation.
Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment and fully engaging in whatever we happen to be doing. Regular practice can help redirect us from brooding over the past or feeling anxious about the future. It has us focus on what is rather than what might have been or what could be. The distinction is an important one, and it can make all the difference in how we move forward after a traumatic event.
Try practicing mindfulness in everyday activities. Even eating can be a fully engaging event: Take your time with each bite, chewing slowly and taking the time to acknowledge every flavor and texture. Even a few moments of mindfulness each day is a start.
Meditation was a game-changer for me, but it took some time for me to make it a regular, daily practice. There are numerous methods for meditating, with the most popular versions involving clearing the mind and turning inward on the senses. Mindfulness meditation has become my personal go-to, and I’ve found guided meditations with a heavy focus on body sensing and visualization to be the most helpful.
Here’s my current favorite:
Regular practice helps to push the mind into the present moment, opening the doors for introspection and deeper self-awareness. Functional MRI studies on different methods has shown it can dramatically alter brainwave patterns, potentially healing the effects of emotional scars and helping users discover greater inner peace. I’ve found mindfulness meditation to be more grounding than any other approach I’ve taken throughout my mental health journey.
Meditation classes are a great way to get started, but you can learn to meditate on your own as well. Try a guided meditation, or you can lead yourself on a personalized journey within. Start small, sitting only for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Sit comfortably and close your eyes, focusing on each natural breath. Home in on the different senses. What do you hear nearby? Far away? Do you smell or taste anything? What other sensations do you notice? Mentally move through the body, starting at the fingers and moving, section by section, all the way down to the toes.
Notice any tightness or discomfort without judgment; just sit with it, acknowledging its presence and breaking it down to its most basic sensations. Imagine the opposite experience for a moment and allow it to manifest in the mind’s eye. Try imagining both at the same time. As you become practiced, increase the session length; for me, around 30 minutes is the sweet spot.
Letting go is never easy, but it’s a vital part of regaining our footing and moving on. It can take some work, especially at first, but each of us deserves the increased emotional fortitude and awareness that can come with the effort.