So much has changed in the last few months, but it may not over shadow some of the things we hold onto from our past. Our experiences follow us through life and shape who are and who we will become.
Not Letting Go
Some people cannot let go of their past because of the pain and hurt that it holds. Others cannot let go because they may not appreciate their present. Trauma and pain take hold like roots and in good ways and bad ways and helps shape who we become. Living in the past creates a heavy burden being carried throughout life. There are psychological reasons why we remember the negative memories over the positive memories. The brain handles negative and positive information and events differently. Negative experiences require more thinking and processing and that leads us to think more deeply about them. This trains the brain to hold onto and become better at remembering negative events and memories. Holding onto negative memories can inhibit from moving forward in some areas in our lives.
Beginning To Let Go
It does not matter how long ago something happened in the past. While our reactions to our feelings may not be valid, our emotions are. Burying feelings or stuffing them down only prolongs the pain we feel. It only makes it harder and harder to begin to move on. Reframing our perception and relationship with our pasts requires us to stop thinking of what should have been and begin to accept them as they are. We have to begin to accept what caused the pain and allow ourselves to feel whatever emotions are attached to the past. Here comes to work. Time to work through all the negative feelings you have, in any constructive manner well suited for you. Now, we have to accept that it is truly time to let the past lie where it belongs- in the past.
Our past experiences do not have to be in the forefront of our minds. We do not need to live always bracing for impact or waiting for the other shoe to drop. Carrying around the drowning negativity that we carry from past traumas or experiences serves no purpose now. We are stronger for going through what we went through. What makes us even stronger? Getting through the pain that experience caused us. We cannot change the way our brain works overnight. But, we can train it. Recognizing that we are not the pain we feel can help us better react in the present and future. Working through our pain from the past is only to make our present better.
Finally Letting Go
Letting go sounds easy, but we all know that it isn’t. We allow our brain to keep our pain playing on repeat. The memories that we need to let go of seem to be the first that pop up when you least expect them. Part of letting go is forgiving yourself. You may not be the cause of your pain, but we find ways to blame ourselves. Things like “if I had only” or “I should have” are ideas that do not help anyone move on and assign blame onto ourselves. If someone else is the cause of your pain, acknowledge that and stop letting them define how to feel. Yes, that person caused you pain. Rather than the focus being on them, focus on yourself. What did you learn from that? How can you take your pain and make sure you never make someone feel like that.
An author once said, “There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it.” Finding ourselves in our present is a large part of moving on. Our past and our problems do not define us. Our collective pain does not identify us. Who we are is how we work through our pain. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The past has an end, too. It will shape you. It may change the course of your life forever, but that is ok. It is ok if you find yourself where you are now and live the life you want.
Our stories shape us, but do not have to define us. Do not let a bitter experience take you over. Do not let a trauma lead to live in fear. We all have a past and a story. Letting go of past pain makes room for new emotions. It is up to us now, in the present, to ensure those new emotions are not pain, too. Past a certain point- it is up to us to be happy. We may need help getting there and that is perfectly ok. All you have to do is reach out.