How do we move on and let go of the past?
If only it were a Thanos Snap or a switch that we could flip. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. However, sometimes the hardest step is that first one, right?
Would you choose to live your best life over feeling as though you were stuck, unable to breathe, and enjoy your life? Would you choose that for someone you love?
I was done with feeling inadequate, unworthy, and unwanted. I was done feeling physically ill. I wanted something different for me, for my family.
It took time to reach the point where I realized this could not be the life I was destined for.
Those thoughts that keep creeping into your mind about past events that make you feel a little queasy or give you a headache, the ones that make you feel anxious… those are the ones that need your attention.
When we become aware of how the things from our past cause us pain, it’s as if we are compelled to move. Whether it’s forward or just circling in place, it’s up to us to decide.
Healing the past is not only a gift we give ourselves; it’s a gift we give to others. No longer operating from a place of pain, we connect with others on a deeper level. We give our love more freely. And we see and feel the beauty and love all around us. Those little acts of love others do for us mean so much more.
- Here are some things I found helpful on my journey.
- Choose to heal. It’s a gift you will give yourself that you will be eternally grateful for. It’s hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a straight line. You may struggle with moving forward at times. Your subconscious will rebel and attempt to convince you that you’re better off right where you are… (It’s a liar). It will trick you into falling into old patterns and making bad choices. If you experience a setback, it will rally to say, “see, I told you so!” Don’t fall for that. When you notice it happening, reframe your thoughts. Use mantras or affirmations to help you get back on track. Use statements like I am, I have, I do, I believe statements.
- Be gentle with yourself. We are harder on ourselves than others, and we judge ourselves harshly. Stop it! Treat yourself like you would a dear friend. Ditch the negative self-talk. Stop yourself when you’re being self-critical. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Say nice things to yourself. Avoid comparing yourself and your journey to others. Every time you catch yourself saying negative things to or about yourself, pause. Consider the situation at that time and try to reframe it.
- Allow yourself to feel all the feels. As you start on your healing journey, you will feel things. Deep, hard, rough feelings. It’s okay. Allow them. Feel them. Acknowledge what they are and name them. We can’t move past something if we ignore it or stuff it down. It will keep coming back. We can’t ‘heal” if we don’t “deal” They may come up again. That’s okay too. It may take a few rounds of processing before it loses its sting.
- Practice self-care. That might look like setting boundaries, saying NO, doing things that nurture your soul, and listening to our own needs first. Self-care is more than basic hygiene and health practices. Managing stress is a HUGE deal here. Painful events from the past create a trauma response in the body. We are stuck in fight or flight, making the challenges we have today seem larger than they are. Boundaries are for you. They protect you from situations where you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. You determine what you will allow, and how you will be treated.
- When ready, talk about it. Talk to a trusted friend or a therapist. This can be the hardest part of your healing journey. Sometimes, we don’t have the words to describe it. Just thinking about it causes us to feel physically ill. Finding a qualified professional to talk to is invaluable. It can be helpful to tell yourself about it as if you were telling a trusted friend. Journaling and talking help reduce the impact it has on you and can be very cathartic. Talking about it helps you release the shame associated with what happened.
- Practice being present in the moment. We all experience a wandering mind sometimes, but when we obsess about our past, we miss the present. Ignoring the present keeps us from living and enjoying life. We can’t move forward and grow. Set aside time to review and process your feelings about the past. Bringing yourself back to the present moment decreases stressful feelings. Several different techniques accomplish this. Find objects around you of like size, shape, or color. Identify sounds. Look at your hands or your feet and notice details. When we are in the present, our pain has less control over us.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Find your Tribe. Those are the ones who see your inner beauty and encourage you. Let go of the people who tear you down and make you feel like crap. Allowing ourselves to lean on loved ones and friends will show us the beauty in our lives. In order to surround ourselves with good people, we may have to remove ourselves from the bad. This is part of the journey. While not an easy thing to do, it’s a big step in your healing journey.
- Accept that the other person or persons may never apologize. We grow up thinking that apologies are required so one can forgive the other. Let go of that notion. It may never happen. We may have broken ties with them for our well-being, or they may no longer be on this earthly plain. Be mindful of putting yourself in a situation that could set you back or cause more harm just to get an “apology.”
- Give yourself permission to forgive. Forgiveness is vital to the healing process. It allows you to let go of anger, guilt, and shame. Forgiving the one who wronged or hurt you AND forgiving yourself. Forgiveness does not absolve them of any responsibility – that’s their cross to bear. Forgiveness is for you. It’s part of your journey. Just saying it does not make it so. You’ll have to process a few things and feel a whole bunch of emotions more than once. You’ll know when it happens. It may feel like a wave of white light washes over you, or it may feel like a welling up in your heart… you’ll know.
- Be grateful. Simply stated yet divine in its purpose. Being grateful allows us to expand our feelings of well-being. It fosters peace of mind, happiness, improved physical health, and deeper, more satisfying personal relationships. Gratitude is said to be the most powerful emotion humans feel, it decreases stress, reduces the risk of heart disease, and increases our self-esteem. It’s a great way to start and end your day.
Things that once caused us to spiral into self-pity, anxiety, or sadness are now only challenges along the way. We understand and embrace the lessons and gifts born from the adversity and pain we experienced.
You can’t change the past, but you can change today and all the days after.
In fact, you owe it to yourself and future generations.
Make the choice to heal, allow and process your emotions, practice gentle and nurturing self-care, forgive, be grateful… every one is just as important as the next in your journey toward a brighter day, a brighter tomorrow.
Written By Lois Sciligo