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When we start to observe and acknowledge the long term effects – the ripple effect – of regret, it’s astounding how ruinous it can be, how it infects our every choice and the way we perceive the circumstances, options, and events in our lives.

Along with regret, jealousy, resentment, and unforgiveness have the same deleterious effect. So why would we, as logical, intelligent people, succumb to this toxin, by choice, every waking hour, knowing that we are undermining our lives, our success, and our happiness, every waking hour? Why would one knowingly continue to take a tablespoon of poison every day? It’s not to punish anyone else, because most of the time those who caused our pain have moved on and seldom think about us, truth be told.

And the worst kind of regret, jealousy, resentment, and unforgiveness is that which we caused ourselves. The resulting self sabotage, albeit unconscious, is like a cancer.

In the photograph above, which I took this morning to illustrate my point, the tree in the shadow still owns its icy shadow, yet the other tree has had the healing warmth of the sun melt the ice away. Reframing the past with love, forgiveness, and understanding sets us free from the pain we chose for so long. It allows us to soar to new heights or health, wealth, and happiness. Every aspect of our lives, including our relationships with others, improves.

There are three ways I can suggest may assist you in this endeavour:

1. Ask yourself this, “If I (or the other person) knew at the time of the infraction what the results would be – if we understood the consequences and the ripple effect that it would cause, would we have done it? Probably not!
2. I can keep on the way or I have been going, or I can choose to move on, for my own sake and the sake of others, and benefit from that choice. In my own, selfish best interests, why should I keep beating myself up like this? It’s just silly. Someone said that holding onto forgiveness is like holding a burning coal in your hand. You are the only one burning. Let the coal go!
3. Most importantly, consider God. He asks us to forgive others, and He offers us forgiveness. And that implies that we should also forgive ourselves, since we are commanded to “love others as thyself” – as much as we love ourselves. The easiest way I have found to forgive others is to pray for them. It works. Be patient, persist, and you will see it work.

A lot of people have wrapped themselves in the fetid blanket of resentment, jealousy, regret, and/or unforgiveness. In many cases it metastasizes into physical ailments; one’s body reacting to the bitterness. We subconsciously punish ourselves.

It’s never too late to change, to start over, to rise like a Phoenix. Perhaps it’s your time now? Trust God.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com

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