“A scar can be a reminder of a difficulty boldly overcome”
Last week’s article focused on positive aspects of looking back to our past (click here to read it). However, trying to deal with difficulties from long ago can often impede us from reaching our full potential. Even simply recalling these memories can be troubling. The most common advice to those in this situation is either “just don’t think about it” or “let it go”.
That last bit of advice is one that often baffles me. Humans, by nature, do not seek out abusive situations and reward themselves by purposefully recalling those painful memories. If they knew how to “let it go”, they would. The key is in understanding how that is accomplished so our lives can begin to heal.
Healing is a subject very dear to me. In fact, I wrote a book about my journey and since then have developed additional ideas and techniques specifically to help others. Because our journeys are different, the challenge is conveying them in a way that is applicable for each person. Examine it carefully. Some alteration may be needed to suit you better.
I struggled with my past and had no desire to dwell on it but confronting it was part of the process. With the aid of an incredible therapist, I realized that although the initial damage was done by others, most of the collateral and extremely hurtful damage was done by the negative perceptions, thoughts, and truths I believed about me. I somehow deserved them to happen!
This is a common reaction in abusive situations and these occurrences start when we are too young to know any better. At this age these destructive thoughts multiply swiftly and profusely. After years of them echoing in our minds, we learn to believe this is who we are: unworthy, not smart enough, bad, or any number of shameful feelings we’ve smacked ourselves with.
The first step towards healing is understanding that all of these shameful thoughts are unfounded, incorrect, and lies. That young version of ourselves believed them because we assumed they were true. The best defense against those thoughts is to forgive your younger self for actually believing them. Our circumstances drove us into believing they were factual but now our understanding has shown us the contrary.
It is not in forgiving our abuser (which will be discussed in a future article) but by looking back and understanding that the horrible thoughts were many of the road blocks we faced. Forgiving ourselves can begin to release – and in a way, “let go” – any shame we harbor, and promote a healing and rebuilding of that person we can then become.
There is no age restriction. I believe anyone can heal from past difficulties. It is not always an easy step but so well worth it. Getting a greater understanding of who we are will ultimately promote healing and a spiritual growth that manifests in us – someone of whom we will be extremely proud.
If you have any questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact me. My life is dedicated to helping other heal and I always looking forward to making that come true. My thanks to David Clode from Unsplash for the beautiful artwork and I truly look forward to your comments.