I am often asked how one “gets past” hurts that happened days, weeks or years earlier. The pain of the initial incident or time of life gets triggered anew each time the memory returns to consciousness.
For some, the memory seems to always be lingering there in the background, and may even affect the way a person views the self. If one was criticized or abandoned, for example, he or she may devalue the self, struggling with self-esteem. This in turn can affect career, relationships , and even health .
If the issue is one of abuse or trauma, professional help is recommended. Otherwise, it is up to us to decide how long we want that pain to be part of our lives. We can simply make a decision that we will not dwell on the past anymore. We can challenge ourselves to see how positive and productive we can be despite the past.
If the person who hurt us is no longer in our lives, there is really no need to keep reminding ourselves of their actions. If we have kept the person in our lives, and if they are no longer doing hurtful things, then we can always just forgive the past.
Some feel they want to discuss the past with the person involved. Care must be taken when doing this so as not to create a new round of hurt. You also must be clear in your purpose for bringing it up, because nothing can change the past. If blame and judgment are avoided, however, the process can bring healing. This can strengthen the relationship, and facilitate the process of “getting past” the past.
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