Fear is a primal instinct that served us as cave dwellers when we used it to stay alive.
However, fear can be crippling and stop us from living our best life. If you are dealing with emotional pain, fear is undoubtedly involved. But fear doesn’t have to control your future.
Read on for 7 surefire ways to heal the pain of the past and arrive at peace inside yourself at last.
This is the most difficult and most rewarding step in healing the wounds of the past.
Dealing with emotional pain results in harboring resentment. Many time we can get stuck in that mind frame and go around and around in circles of blame and shame.
The trick to getting over the past is to forgive. This means forgiving yourself for what you did and didn’t do. It also means forgiving others for their failing, their betrayal, and their choices.
Forgiveness is a choice we make. Sometimes it’s a choice we make over and over and over until we heal the pain inside. Forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once.
Usually, it’s a choice we make over and over. Each time we do we take another step forward toward inner peace.
” Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself” is a popular quote that is attributed to Suzanne Sommers. The truth behind this phrase is that forgiveness isn’t really about the other person. It’s about you.
Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean what someone else did was OK. Forgiveness is not condoning.
When we choose to forgive, we put down the heavy burden we’ve been carrying and become free of those things that were dragging us down. The beauty of forgiveness is that it happens inside of the heart.
You don’t need to tell the offending person who hurt you that you forgive them (unless you really want to).
Forgiveness can’t rewrite the past. It won’t fix or change what has happened. But when you decide to forgive, you are choosing to let the past go and focus on the future.
In the words of Paul Boese, “Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.”
2. Take Responsibility of Your Own Happiness
The next important step in dealing with emotional pain is taking full responsibility for your life in the present.
Understand that the ball is in your court. You choose your next move, what you will and will not do and where you want to go. Your happiness depends on you.
Often when you can’t let the past go, we feel that we had no control over the things that hurt us. And that might be true. Yet, we can still take control of our internal landscape and move forward.
No matter where you are right now, the rest of your life is still unwritten. You are not doomed to stay in darkness forever. Acknowledge the hurt of the past, yes.
And then have the courage to plant a seed of hope in your heart. Tell yourself that there is no reason why you shouldn’t be happy. There’s nothing you did or didn’t do that bars you from future happiness and inner peace.
If dealing with emotional pain is affecting your marriage, choose to heal your marriage as well as yourself. Read more about how to fall back in love with your spouse.
Though you can’t change the past, you can become empowered here and now to know that your future is up to you.
3. Discover the Beliefs that are Stopping your Progression
When we work on healing the wounds of the past, there are often many beliefs about healing that get in the way. Sometimes we aren’t even aware (or haven’t acknowledged) these false beliefs that are holding us back.
A major part of taking responsibility for our emotional wellness is dissecting what thoughts are poisoning our life. It’s then our mission to explore those and with our rational mind, take actions to move on.
Take time to quietly reflect on these wrong beliefs and uncover them until you arrive at one basic belief that is at the core.
For example, as you self-examine you might find that your core belief is “the pain was too great, I’ll never be able to heal.” Or you might arrive at “I prefer to stay stuck here as proof of how badly I was wronged.”
You might also believe that it is up to someone else (the person who hurt you, perhaps) to heal your pain. Maybe you are waiting for an apology before you allow yourself to move on.
Possibly you just can’t get past the “life is unfair” sentiment. Once you arrive at your core belief that is stopping you from healing, you can face it head-on.
4. Practice Positive Self Talk
Self-talk becomes very important in this stage. Positive self-talk can minimize the impact your negative thoughts have. As you practice this skill (and it is a skill that you can develop) your thoughts will begin to be constructive instead of destructive.
Whenever any thoughts come to mind, identify the core belief that is feeding that thought. Write the thought down or say it aloud. Some people find it helpful to picture the thought as a headline in a newspaper.
Once you have a visual, you can challenge the accuracy of that thought. “I am worthless” can quickly be negated by a list of things you do that have value such as walking the dog, packing a lunch for the kids, and so on.
When you feel overwhelmed, remember it’s healthy to take a timeout. Review this list of 10 things you can do to unwind after a hard day.
5. Move From Victim to Survivor
One of the most empowering things you can do when moving on from the past is to change the label you use for yourself.
Many of us feel and act like the victim when we have been hurt. Many of us have been victims of terrible acts that are unacceptable. But, we do not need to continue being victims forever.
Just as we can take responsibility for our own happiness, we can choose to stop being a victim. We can decide to stop acting (and reacting) like a victim.
We can decide today to become a survivor.
There is a crucial difference between the terms victim and survivor. The first depicts suffering, pain and on the receiving end of some wrongdoing.
A survivor, on the other hand, denotes all the same things as a victim but also demonstrates strength and the ability to rise above.
A victim is a powerless being that is acted upon. A survivor undergoes the same trauma but has the courage and fortitude to overcome. Which one would you rather be?
The truth is that it’s completely up to you. There is no difference in the scars that a victim and a survivor have. The only difference is that a survivor has moved past the hurt to a place of empowerment.
6. Extend Empathy to Heal the Pain
It’s ironic that one of the best ways of dealing with emotional pain is to be practice empathy.
When we show empathy, we become present in someone else’s experience in the present. We don’t have time to wallow in self-pity when we open our heart to someone else’s pain, suffering, and sorrow.
In fact, our own experience with grief, loss, and pain allows us to become deeply empathetic toward the grief, loss, and pain of others. Even if their situation is different, their pain will resonate in our hearts and we will be able to offer true compassion.
Just as we sometimes need to just stop thinking a certain thought and distract ourselves to stop the spiral, we can also step outside of our self-involved lives and reach out with love and empathy to those around us.
When we stop looking in and start looking around we will see that there are many needs around us. Maybe a friend is going through a divorce or the pain of childlessness. Perhaps a neighbor is struggling with recently becoming an empty nester.
There are countless needs around us. As we look around and extend empathy, our hearts begin to grow. Soon we find that there is more room for light and love in our hearts and souls.
7. Seek Therapy to Heal the Pain
If you haven’t already, seek out a qualified, licensed therapist to help guide you in your path to healing.
Some people find it hard to share the tender, bruised parts of ourselves with others. Yet, exploring those painful areas is necessary for healing.
Sometimes we can do that on our own. But sometimes we can’t. Find a therapist that has experience working with clients who have experienced similar types of emotional pain. Usually, therapists specialize in a couple of areas.
Try a session to see how you feel. If that therapist is not the right fit, keep trying. Remember, human beings are complicated and layered creations. Working with a trained specialist can facilitate your healing.
You might even consider past life regression therapy. This type of specialized therapy relies on the premise that unresolved past events affect our future. Check it out.
Thank you for taking the time to read these 7 ways to heal the pain. We know that these aren’t easy things to do and that they will take time. However, making a commitment to yourself and your healing journey is worth it.
You will have hard days. Sometimes it feels as if it gets harder before it gets better. Trust the process and believe in yourself.
Next, read these 8 tips to become a better you.