We can never forget the painful memories from our past, but we can make peace with them. In my last post, How To Deal With Difficult Times, I talked about a series of events that transported me back to some of the most painful times from my past. In an effort to co-heal with (you) others, I offered some coping tools still helping me today.
Recently, I had a peaceful reunion with estranged family that had caused me pain in the past. While I can never forget those painful memories, with time (and writing) for healing, I was able to view that time in my life more clearly and from a less emotional viewpoint. It was during this family meeting that I realized my past had been blocking me from happiness.
The truth is, my family had moved on with their lives. They too had been through a lot as a result of my father’s actions (learn more here), and were dealing with their own battles. But every time I was reminded of my past or family, I relived those dark moments. Why? Because we choose to live in our past since it’s familiar. Think about this for a second. When the past was good, do you live there because it makes you happy and feel safe? The same goes for painful memories. We live there because it’s what we know, so feeling pain becomes habit. Good or bad, living in the past blocks us from feeling happiness and satisfaction in the present. Break the pattern guys!
I’m grateful for what the past has taught me. I’m peacefully letting go and embracing the present, while sharing some wisdom with you on how to make peace with your past. Please keep in mind that my advice is based on personal experience and in no way professional advice. I always recommend professional advice when dealing with tough issues. I go to therapy once a week and recommend it to everyone.
So let’s co-heal together. And instead of living in the past, let’s learn from it.
1. Ask yourself these questions.
Can I change the past? No. Is the past stopping me from living fully in the present? Probably yes. Could I have done something different? Truthfully, it doesn’t matter now, so why live there.
2. Stop rehashing.
It’s easy to want to rehash the past. We do this sometimes in the hopes of gaining a new understanding or hearing what we want to hear. Better yet, hoping for a different ending. Unfortunately, rehashing the past doesn’t change things, but instead, it only blocks us from moving forward.
3. Write for healing.
I can’t stress enough how writing helps you heal. I used this space to heal, because I wanted to co-heal with (you) others, but you can write and keep your thoughts private by using a journal or diary, for example. Writing allows you to confront your feelings, which lets you look at things clearly and more objectively. It was through my writing that I reached this milestone.
4. Put memories away.
Do you ever catch yourself reading old letters, looking at old pictures, surfing through social media, and reliving painful memories? I can relate. It’s like we love to torture ourselves. My advice is to block all of this out until you are ready to make peace with your past. It is in that moment that an old picture won’t make you upset.
5. Count your blessings.
We have so much to be thankful for, but sometimes, we are so caught up in the past that we forget to be grateful for the blessings that surround us in the present. I now wake up every morning and thank God for my blessings, while saying my affirmations. Focusing on our blessings doesn’t give us time to give attention to the negative.
6. Focus on important relationships.
When you are upset or going through a tough time, do you ever find yourself neglecting good relationships? I did. Instead of neglecting important relationships, work on making them stronger.
7. Keep your mind occupied.
This is still my biggest challenge. It’s easy to allow our minds to wander to the past. When this happens, we allow negative thoughts in. I can’t tell you how to keep your mind occupied, because everyone is different. I’m trying to practice daily meditation and improve my exercise routine. Find something that works for you and stick to it.
8. Chase your dreams.
We all have dreams. And whatever your dreams are, chase them. When you are focused 150% on your dreams, there is very little time for anything other than reaching your goals. Come up with a plan and make it happen!
9. Make new memories.
Instead of spending so much energy recycling old memories, focus on making new ones. It’s never too late to make new and happy memories.
If you are struggling with letting go of the past, I hope these tips help you. If you have tips on making peace with your past, please comment below as we are co-healing together and inspiring each other to become the strongest version of ourselves.