With Rosh Hashanah fast approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the value of forgiveness in our romantic relationships. Forgiveness is key during the High Holidays because we want to purify and start the year with a clean slate. To achieve this effect, some Jews do a mikveh, or a ritual called tashlich, where they throw their sins in the water. Consider giving your love life a clean slate by clearing your heart of relationship baggage. That way, you can free yourself from past loves and prepare to move on in 5774!

I often see clients who have trouble trusting and fully opening their hearts to someone in the present because of an old heartbreak. Sometimes there are important lessons to be learned and remembered regarding their past romantic partners, and it can be helpful to break those destructive patterns. However, just holding onto pain out of fear can be a huge roadblock when it comes to finding love with someone new.

Buddhists have a meditation called Tonglen, which I’ve been told is a method for overcoming the fear of suffering, dissolving the tightness of our heart, and awakening compassion. First, practice breathing in while you concentrate on the idea of removing old pain and anger. Then, as you breathe out, you can imagine sending happiness or love (or whatever helps you to relieve that pain for yourself) to that other person. Spend some time imagining both of you as happy, loved and free people.

Another helpful idea is to try the Sedona Method, which is a technique that shows you how to uncover your natural ability to let go of any painful or unwanted feelings. The Sedona Method consists of a series of questions you ask yourself that lead your awareness to what you are feeling in the moment and gently guide you into the experience of letting go. Check out a sample of the release process here.

You can also just write a letter forgiving that person for hurting you and telling them you’re moving on now and you wish them happiness. Then you can burn your letter with a candle and release that person. Or, you can pray to ask forgiveness in synagogue with everyone else this year!

Starting the year by cleansing your heart is a wonderful practice because it opens you to love and to the innocence in others again. We all know that dating can be a disillusioning process at times, but we can do an internal feng shui on our hearts just by constantly emptying out old fears and baggage. Give it a try and make room for more love and peace in your heart – that way you can finally be fully open to attracting and welcoming great new people into your life.

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and the author of “Dating from the Inside Out” and “When Mars Women Date.” She also works as a love coach and runs groups on dating and relationship issues in Manhattan. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com.

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