Is your inability to overcome the hurt and pain of your past keeping you from living a happy and peaceful life? This is a common issue that is both challenging and very feasible to overcome. Clinging to past grievances can leave you feeling helpless and vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety.
In order to obtain mental freedom you must be willing to clear your life of anything that works against satisfying that objective. Below are a few steps that will assist you in overcoming past pain and suffering.
1. Choose to let go. We can’t choose what others do, but we can choose our response to it. Decide that you are fed up with carrying the weight of your past. Realize that the only healthy option you have is to move forward.
2. Take advantage of the relief that comes with expression. Find a productive way to open up about your pain and the other emotions you may feel surrounding your hurt. This can be done by speaking to a close friend, family member, or mental health professional. If comfortable, you can even express your feelings to the person who wronged you. If this is not an option, try writing a letter to the person who hurt you and dispose of it in a way that symbolizes moving forward. Additionally, journaling can be used as a way to gain new perspective and clarity concerning your outlooks.
3. Restore your true self and detach it from the pain. Many people unconsciously find an identity in their pain and feel that if they let it go they have no worth. This could not be more false. Your purpose is not to live in pain, but to live in peace. Explore and get to know who you are outside of the things that have hurt you. Pinpoint the attachment to your pain so that your awareness of it motivates you to end it. You are not what hurt you.
4.Accept the apologies you may never receive. There is freedom in forgiveness. Even for those who have not offered you regret or remorse for their transgressions against you. Forgiveness does not require that you invite this person back into your world or pardon their behaviors, but it helps you release the pain they caused in order to welcome emotional calmness.
5. Advance in the now. Don’t further punish yourself for the choices others made in the past, instead hold yourself accountable for the environment you create for yourself in the present moment. Now is the only time that is guaranteed.
Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us to learn, grow, and impact others. Pain ends when letting go begins.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.