by Lorna Anne
Why is it so difficult for people to let go of past hurts and pain? Loss and betrayal can hold us in the clutches of emotional distress, and in many cases, a desire for revenge. Why do we stay in that unending loop of dissatisfaction and frustration caused by the inability to change or rectify the situation?
Implied within the helplessness is also guilt, much of the time unconscious, faulting and blaming oneself for not preventing the source of one’s misery from happening. We can’t be certain if we were not responsible in some way.
But in truth, none of that really matters. It’s missing the point. Below are four ways to ease the pain of the past, and hopefully, the perspective presented will give you a different outlook on what’s important.
1) Forgiveness: When it comes to the issue of blame, the simple truth is, we all were not born with all the knowledge we’re ever going to need. We learn as we go along. What you know may not be known by someone else and vice versa. Through varying experiences, we all gain similar knowledge eventually, but in the meantime, we’re all in our own place on the spectrum of development, with others ahead of us and others behind.
So life is a classroom and we’re all ignorant. You can’t blame someone for not yet learning what they need to know. Life is a process toward knowledge. For instance, even those who are selfish and inconsiderate, think they are being smart and self-protective. They are not conscious that they have not yet learned cosmic love, that we are all in it together, and in helping others we help ouselves. We’ll all learn eventually — so no blame.
2) Understanding: People and events are the tools the Universe uses to teach us. Sometimes these things are not meant to be more than the catalyst to get us to evolve out of stagnation, at that stage in our development. Not everything is meant to be forever. When one happens to have the good fortune to see how things turned out in the present, usually one realizes they wouldn’t want it today if they could have it.
Everything in your life is and was integral and necessary for your development, no matter how transitory or challenging. So we have forgiveness and understanding; then why is there still pain?
3) Release: We now have to look at our part in refusing to let go of the pain (past). Our raison d’etre for holding on? Pain can be addictive. In ways it can keep us and the past alive by keeping us in touch with a feeling that derives from that source.
It is our security blanket. As long as we have that to focus on, we don’t have to take responsibility for getting back to a fulfilling, active life. Our energy is trapped in pain, when it could be used to expand our lives.
We define ourselves as the pain. It gives us meaning. Without it we have to create something else to say who we are, and it frightens us to give up the pain crutch.
4) Remembrance: Often we tend to hold onto the negative aspects of our lives and to forget the positive. This leaves us feeling bereft, when there are goodness and blessings all around us that we ignore or forget. The blissful moments of the worst relationships sink into the bottomless ocean of our unconscious. How often do we focus on what’s good about our day rather than what troubles us as being “bad” about it? Embrace with love what is good.
Realize even the pain was good in that it shaped you to be stronger. It gave you wisdom, experience, and an unexpected direction (albeit an unpleasant one), in which you evolved and grew.
It’s like child birth: you forget the pain once you see the value of the new life that comes out of it.
About the author:
Lorna Anne received a psychology degree from the University of New Hampshire. She has been a practicing counselor for more than 20 years in New Orleans, Honolulu, and Washington state where she spent several years studying dream interpretation with a Jungian therapist. She currently resides in Chatham, Ma. For personal inquiries, please contact Lorna via E-mail at Wiselorna@ymail.com.