Expiration dates are everywhere: on our cartons of milk in our fridge, on the buckets of paint in our garage, and even on our actions, if we ever find ourselves in the courtroom. When we’re really craving a glass of cold milk, discovering that the milk expired yesterday can be a real bummer. And when we forget that our driver’s license is expiring and get a warning letter from the state’s motor vehicle department, it can make us feel like we’re really slipping up. But expiration dates also do something else. They liberate us!
In the legal world, the biggest expiration date – the statute of limitations – ensures that you can’t initiate a legal proceeding after a certain period of time has elapsed. One reason for this is to make sure changes in evidence or records, and the fading memory of a witness, don’t take a toll on the legal process. If we apply the same idea to our emotions, imagine how free we can become!
Holding on to anger, resentment or other negative-energy emotions can take a toll on you physically and mentally. It can stress you out, keep you from sleeping, and distract you from the things that lift your spirits. The last time you let a grudge go on and on, how did it make you feel? What good came of it? And how did you feel when you finally forgave the person you were in dispute with?
Just like milk, eggs, and poultry have expiration dates, so should each of the negative emotions that keep you up at night. The next time you get into a disagreement, rationalize what has caused it, talk it out, and let forgiveness set in. If your negative vibes are coming from your relationship with yourself, cut yourself a little slack for whatever shortcoming you’ve perceived. You’ll know the expiration date is near once you feel an emotional issue start to trickle down into your day-to-day routine. When that time comes, embrace forgiveness, let the negativity go, and let the liberation begin.
An emotional statute of limitations will help you live in the present moment and will do wonders for your sense of well-being. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, think of it this way: you would never risk salmonella by ignoring the use-by date on chicken, so why would you risk your emotional health by harboring negative feelings that only bring you down? It’s time to embrace the expiration date!
By Lisa Cypers Kamen
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