Are you stuck in patterns of relating in your adult relationships generally, romantic relationships more specifically that are causing you pain and leaving you experiencing failed relationships? Are you still holding onto past pain? Do you have unresolved childhood pain? You need to stop feeing your fears. The fears that are holding you back from learning to deal with your pain, grieve it and free yourself from it. I work with Clients in this very process no matter the reason(s) for the past pain keeping people stuck in unfulfilled lives or even those who are successful yet still living with self-doubt, self-hatred, low-self esteem. People often have learned to fear expressing their own needs and boundaries. Codependency is a common reflection of this in this day and age. Codependency seems to be minimized when really it’s quite a painful way to live. People with Codependence issues are often living in fear of change, or letting go or working through past pain they are holding on to because they fear loss, feel guilty, don’t want to hurt another person (often it’s a parent). This keeps people stuck in patterns of past pain that have them living emotionally more in the past and missing the here-and-now happiness and emotional peace they deserve.
Have you ever been hurt so badly that you thought you’d never come out on the other side? Perhaps you’re still holding onto that grief. If you are, then it’s time to learn how to let go of past pain. You deserve to let it go and learn how to move forward with your life.
Holding onto past pain and anguish is a kind of self-inflicted torture that can cause serious health risks as well as emotional wounds that can grow to be (if weren’t originally, traumatic. The truth is, when you cling to the past, you’re internally changing your present. You are missing the present. The present is a the gift of mindfulness to each and every here-and-now moment – all those moments that make up each day in the now. You are missing so much if you continue to refuse to open to working through pain still unresolved from your past.
How can something you’ve kept inside for so long just be let go? It’s not an easy task, but it can be done with a little effort and self-reflection. You need to make a choice that you want to let go of the past. Might sound very simple and yet so many people I’ve worked with express not feeling comfortable with feeling better because it is new and hard to trust. This is an often unacknowledged reason many people stay stuck. Fear of feeling the loss of letting go and actually making the changes that you want and need in your life.
Here are some ways you can let go of past pain and disappointment, so you can move forward with your head held high:
1. Identify and know now what’s holding you back. What are you holding onto and why? Identify the things you’re keeping inside that you are hurting you or keeping you feeling angry.
For example, maybe your best friend betrayed you in a way that broke your trust. Recognize this and figure out a way to finally deal with it. Get in touch with them again, then explain the pain they’ve caused. Or perhaps a friend just isn’t emotionally available and you want a healthy friend who can be mutually reciprocal – but you are holding on because you fear the pain of loss in letting go. This is not valuing yourself enough. This is an indicator that you need to re-examine your priorities and boundaries and how you take care of yourself or fail to.
Often someone who has caused you pain may not even be aware they did anything to upset you. Whether or not they apologize isn’t important. While it may be nice, you can’t control others or force them to say sorry. However, by simply voicing your feelings, you are finding closure from the hurtful situation. Then you can decide whether you will move on in the relationship/friendship or not.
Often closure had to be found in ways other than talking it through with a friend, an Ex, a parent, because the lines of communication are not open, or others have issues that mean that they are not going to be open enough to hear you and in fact will just defend against all your best efforts at working through something. This will only leave you angrier, and hurting more and any anger and hurt that is not released, acknowledged, and grieved will only come out sideways or cause you physical illness or pain as well.
Getting closure on something that was left open-ended can make a huge difference in letting things go.
1. First, know yourself. Know what you want. Know what you don’t want. Clarify your boundaries. Learn to express and up-hold your boundaries.
2. Talk it out. If the person who caused the hurt is still in your life, talk to them about the way they made you feel. If that person isn’t available, try to talk to a close friend or professional therapist about the situation. If you don’t want to or can’t talk it out, there are many ways to find self-closure without talking it out with the actual person(s).
3. Getting your emotions out in the open can help you get over any resentment or anger you may be feeling. Bottling up your emotions is never a good thing. Let it all out in a constructive way and you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel. You may decide to talk to someone like myself to work through what you are holding on to and let it go.
4. Forgive and forget. It may sound easier said than done, but forgiving someone who has hurt you can be extremely therapeutic. Strive to let things stay in the past and don’t allow them to affect your present. Forgiving comes after letting go and grieving and coming to an acceptance of what has happened. Forgiving is for you, not anyone else. Forgiving is remembering and letting go and not about saying that because you forgive someone what they did was alright.
5, The process of Grief and Forgiveness helps you dissolve past pain. Once you learn to forgive the people who’ve caused your pain, you will find it far easier to heal and move on with your life.
6. Figure out what you need to work through past pain. Be proactive. You’re in charge of your pain. You’re the one who carries it around with you and you’re the only one who can change its intensity. It’s up to you to take control of the pain and take the first step towards making yourself feel better.
7. Self-Validate your pain. Acknowledge that your pain is real and that a positive solution exists. and confront the cause of the pain and do everything in your power to heal and grow from it by learning what it can teach you about yourself. This is empowering. This is the way to truly move forward knowing yourself much better.
Ignoring past pain, denying or suppressing it, does not work. With all we know about the mind-body connection, your pain, past hurt feelings, anger and so forth will come out in your body if it does not find healthy emotional expression. Many people end up taking drugs – street or prescription medication – or drinking or eating to excess in efforts to repress, suppress unresolved past pain. Lives are lost to unresolved past pain. The healthiest option you have is to face, deal with, and grow through and heal past pain. Set yourself free with the help of a myself, a Counselor or Life Coach or someone else who does this work in humanistic positive psychology-based ways that support your moving through a process and not just ending up going in circles with you past pain while seeking help to dissolve it, resolve it and let it go and free yourself of it.
The best way to move forward is to first work through past feelings and hurts. Validate them for yourself. Believe your own truth. Listen to your own intuition. Believe in yourself. Be open to letting go and its pain and grief – it will free you from past pain. This is a process. Then work on the next piece, which is, to forgive the past. You can’t change the past, you might as well learn to accept it and move on. You’ll be glad you did once you see just how bright your future can be when you regain control of your life. Make the conscious decision, today, to do what you need to do in order to be able to truly live your life free from past pain, anger, abandonment, abuse, and resentment.
© A.J. Mahari, September 29, 2014 – All rights reserved.