If you’re letting some past wrong hold you back from achieving happiness in the present, it’s time to face the fact that it happened, that it’s over, but above all, it doesn’t have to define your future.
You may have suffered a traumatizing event in your past perpetrated by somebody who should have known better, but there is no reason to continue letting them win by allowing what happened to define you. No, you don’t have to pretend that it didn’t happen, because it did. Just stop allowing it to tint your days with darkness. Instead, let it propel you forward with the acknowledgment that you’re both strong enough to overcome it and you have the power to use whatever it was that happened to make you into a better you.
You define your worth. You alone. Don’t allow your past to dictate the level of your current happiness. Become more. Yes, I understand that you’re hurt by what happened. I’m sorry that it hurts and continues to hurt, but when you stop allowing it to shadow your self-worth, you will learn to harness the pain and use it as a stepping stone for your current self.
Easier said than done? Yes. Impossible? No. Here are a few internal things you can do to help you through the process.
Step 1. Name Your Emotions
You can never hope to overcome past traumatic events if you don’t face what happened. Take a seat. Close your eyes and spend a few minutes breathing and relaxing your body. Ground yourself in the present by focusing on the good in your life. Then, let your mind take you back to the event. This is the hard part. Recall the moment, but focus more on the sensations you feel. Start to name those sensations. Is it anger or sadness? How about anxiety or disgust? Shame? Hopelessness? Bitterness? Whatever those sensations are, give them a name.
Step 2. Experience Your Emotions and Accept Them
Still with your eyes closed, experience those emotions individually. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel the way that you feel, release yourself from judgment and tell yourself that you’re more than the emotions you’re feeling. Do this for each one. Be intentional about it and love yourself for being human. It’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling. It’s part of being human.
Step 3. Find The Wisdom Of Things
Continue to live in your emotions. Now that you’ve named them and have forgiven yourself for how you feel let your feelings take over. If you need to cry, cry. If you want to yell, yell. But remember that you’re in control. Productively express your emotions by allowing them to move through you, feel them but don’t overreact. Remember, you’re letting things go so that you can move forward. What can you learn from each of these emotions? How can the anger you’re feeling be the edge you need to keep pushing forward? How can the pain you feel help you to be more empathetic towards other people? How can the shame give you the strength to never put you in those types of situations again? Find wisdom in the pain. Use what you’ve experienced as a stepping stone. Don’t think of them as a stumbling block. Instead, use them to help you succeed today. The mythical Phoenix is born from fire; you can be too.
Step 4. Share it and Let it Go
Find somebody you trust and share with them the product of what you just reflected on. Confide in them what happened, how it made you feel, and the wisdom you’ve gained despite it. Now, let it all go. You’ve already forgiven yourself for how it made you feel now forgive the person/people/event responsible. This doesn’t excuse what happened, but it allows you to move forward. No, that doesn’t mean you have to allow that person back in your life. It just means that you will no longer let your past overshadow your present.
This will be infinitely more difficult to do than it was for me to write. But, it’s time that you move on. It’s time that you stop letting your past traumas dictate your future. It’s time to mold your life to fit your dreams without your nightmares holding you back. I believe in you. Now it’s time for you to do the same.