Guest post provided by Marie Miguel for BetterHelp.com .
5 Ways To Let Go Of Past Hurts And Move On
Every one of us has experienced some kind of emotional pain in life. Some of these pains we still carry with us today, even though they may have happened a long time ago. We relive them in our heads and become stuck in a perpetual cycle of hurt.
A lot of us tend to blame the person who has hurt us and feel angry that they have not apologized or given us closure on the matter. But that only tends to make things worse, leading us to feel power-less. That is why what we do with that hurt is more important than ruminating on the hurt itself.
It is important to understand that all your feelings are valid, but to take the steps to break the cycle of pain and move on. It is a journey and may be a lengthy one, but it is most certainly worth it. Here are 5 ways you can begin to let go of past hurts:
1. Choose to let go. The first, and a crucial, step to healing is deciding to let it go. You have the choice to do so, and this knowledge is powerful in itself: you have the choice to hold on to the pain or live a life free of it. To do this, say to yourself, “I choose to let this go” every time you think of the other person or catch yourself reliving the details of the past pain. It is an understandably difficult choice which will bring up a lot of emotions, and that is what therapy is there to help with. BetterHelp provides licensed online therapy that is affordable, convenient and confidential and will aid you on your journey to healing.
2. Feel your emotions fully and express them. Your feelings are legitimate and tell you important information about your identity and values, so make sure you embody and express them fully. This can mean confiding in an empathetic friend, writing it down in your journal or writing a letter to the other person that you don’t intend to send. Doing this can lead to insight as to what the pain was about, why you feel the way you do, and, more comfortingly, the part you may have played to contribute to the pain.
3. End the blame game. Playing the victim is not only all too easy, it can feel good as well. How-ever, being a hopeless victim robs you of the power to be in charge of your own happiness, your decisions and your future. Don’t give the other person the power to rob your joy. Don’t allow your negative feelings and thoughts to override what you can choose to do instead: live a life of acceptance, peace and positivity.
4. Try to understand the perpetrator. Forgiving someone is giving yourself the key to break free from your own cage. But that understandably takes time and work. Trying to understand the perspective of the person who hurt you is a helpful step to forgiveness: what did they feel and why did they do what they did? What needs were they desperately trying to get met? Empathy and forgiveness means saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I want to move on. You hurt me, but I forgive you anyway.” This also means learning to forgive yourself.
5. Live in the present. You can’t change your past, but you can do the best with what you have today. Focus on living in the here and now, and when past thoughts creep up, acknowledge them and bring yourself back to the present again. Don’t let your pain become your identity and determine how you live your life. Make the continuous choice to always find joy and beauty in the present moment.
Decide to close the chapter on your past pain. Decide to make room for loving relationships and positive experiences in your life. When you make space for these things, life will listen and deliver.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.