The easiest advice to give is along the lines of “you’ve got to let go, and get over it!” So often in an effort to comfort a friend or colleague we offer that advice and perhaps follow it up with some thoughts and suggestions on how the individual can follow the advice.
I think I’ve come to the conclusion I shall never again offer that suggestion because among the hardest things we as humans do is “get over it.” It really doesn’t matter if it is the loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, a loss of an ideal, or the battle against an addiction, the individual must work through an internal process if he or she is to succeed and move on. Any advice I would offer would be based on my life experiences and not the individuals so the value of that advice is at best mediocre.
Some people struggle for years trying to get over it, they cannot let go and move on, because something inside them believes there must be a way to regain what they had. In that way they are like a marathon runner who gets to 20 miles and comes up against the wall, where their energy supply is near exhaustion, the muscles are starting to break down, and they are drawing on the last of their reserves. Some can reach that wall, and are able to draw from within, tap their spirit and move past it to finish the race. Others cannot, they crash headfirst into it and are unable to go further. You can say it is because of conditioning, or will, but it is something unique to each of us and only the individual can choose to persevere or quit.
There are a few things I have learned in my six decades here. First, you have to know with complete certainty you, and you alone, are responsible for your life, your happiness, and your future. Next you have to understand if you focus on the wrongs that have been done, to you and to others, you will drive your life towards destruction because in life two negatives do not make a positive. If you tear down others to reinforce your worth, in the end you lose the most. Finally, letting go does not mean you forget the past, it means you choose to remember it in the context of then, not now.
For example, we should never forget that slavery existed and that it exists in the world today, but if we cannot get over that as a historical event, and we believe, because it existed, we must continue to apologize for it, can we ever move towards a discussion of equality?