“To err is human.  To forgive is divine.”

The start of a new year is a very popular time for resolutions and goals, but it’s also a great time for letting go of the past and letting bygones be bygones.  In theory, it’s a great idea.  Who doesn’t want a fresh start to the New Year?  However, letting go is not an easy thing to do.  Offering forgiveness is even harder.

I’ve talked in previous articles about setting goals and reviewing checklists.  Sir sent me a bunch of documents to help me figure out what I wanted my goals to be for 2014; before I could set goals, though, I had to review 2013.  The process of looking back was interesting for me.  2013 was a year of high highs and low lows.  My whole professional life was turned upside down and I left a job I’d held since graduating college to venture out and start my own business.  Having Sir there to help me was invaluable, as I was an emotional wreck through the process and he was my anchor.  Eventually, things worked out; in my mind, I thought I’d moved on, but Sir pointed out that I was harboring a lot of pent-up frustration and emotion, and if I didn’t work through them, I’d be stuck in the past.  The key, he said, was the F-word: Forgiveness.  (For those of you thinking of another F-word, I’d been right there with you when I first heard it)  In order for me to really move forward with my life, I needed to let go of the past and forgive the people who had wronged me.

The process of letting go of the past is incredibly important in every area of your life.  It’s not just a personal or professional thing—it can be letting go of an idea or a long-held belief.   For submissives and slaves, letting go is an interesting challenge because many of us feel guilty for feeling the need to let go of something in the first place.  And when you harbor emotions (especially negative ones) for too long it can take a long time and a lot of effort to work through them and reach a place of peace.  It also doesn’t help when a submissive harbors these kinds of feelings toward her Dom because she doesn’t feel that she can talk to him about it.  (This is why communication is so important!!!)

Here are a few tips to looking back and starting the process of letting go:

  • Start small: Look back at the past year and identify positive and negative things that happened.  Start with two or three things.  For the negative things, think about how you can approach things differently to prevent them from happening again.  Work through your 2-3 things before moving on to the next
  • Past influences: If you start to see patterns of behavior, think about the source.  For example, I have huge trust issues due to a past relationship.  As a result, I have trust issues with everyone around me when I know it’s completely unwarranted.  Letting go of that past incident will help me to move forward as a more trusting person.  (I’m still working on this one…)
  • Communicate:  The D/s and M/s dynamic don't work without clear and open lines of communication.  If it seems like we’re all saying that a lot, it’s because we are.  Communication is incredibly important.  If your Dom/me or Master has done something that upsets you, harboring those feelings is not only hurting you, but it’s hurting the integrity of your relationship.  Your Dom/me or Master wants to know what’s bothering you.  In fact, he/she might initially be upset that you didn’t discuss this before because it really means that you’ve been hiding your true feelings, and D/s and M/s relationships are built upon a strong foundation of trust.  However, the anger should subside quickly and allow for an open and honest conversation.  This is your chance to discuss your feelings and work through them with your Dom/me or Master.  Don’t waste this opportunity.  Once it has been discussed and resolved, though, you need to let it go.
  • Enlist help from your Owner:  In most cases, when Sir says “you will no longer be bothered by this,” it works.  I don’t think about it anymore.  This is one of the things I love the most about being submissive.  Sir helps me focus on what’s important and he helps me refocus when I waver.  However, sometimes life is a bit more complicated.  When I was dealing with my professional crisis, Sir knew that this was something that couldn’t be banished from my mind with a simple command.  Instead, he helped me work through the situation and kept me focused on what was important.  When I got stuck in the past, he corrected me and helped me to refocus.  While he couldn’t wave a magic wand, at the very least he could help me stay positive.
  • Daily Affirmation:  Ehow.com’s article "How to Let Go of the Past"  has a great affirmation that will help you work through the letting go process: "I let go of the past because it is yesterday. When I relate to the past, I don't relate to anyone or anything. I am literally talking to myself. And since I've already heard all I have to say about all that is past, I hereby let go of the past and move forward."

The process of letting go of the past and offering forgiveness is just that: a process.  It’s not something that will come to you overnight, and it’s something that will need constant effort and dedication.  The hard work will pay off.   And even when it seems like it’s darn-near impossible to let go and forgive someone/something, remember what Oscar Wilde said: “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

Are you trying to let go and/or forgive someone?  Share your experiences, thoughts, challenges, and questions below!