How can you love yourself and heal from your past when your past experiences shape your current situation? Healing from a painful past is a long journey, but the consequences of being haunted by your past can have devastating effects on your present life. Negative experiences from your past can sear themselves in your psyche and trigger bad responses and skew your perception thus putting you on a path that’s plagued by insecurities, guilt, shame, self-loathing, and self-destructive behavior.
How to Love Yourself and Heal From Your Past
Moving on from your past means relinquishing the thoughts of victimization and refusing to let memories dictate your present state of mind. Sometimes we nurture these “victim” thoughts because they keep us safe and guarded against future pain and suffering. We keep replaying these hurtful scenarios over and over in our heads. We nurture these destructive thoughts. And perhaps you were a victim of some unspeakable act or heartbreak but the sooner you realize that what happened can no longer hurt you unless you allow it to, you will never be free to move on with your life and find the love and happiness you deserve.
A focus on past hurts can damage your current relationships and hurt your chances of finding true love.
Someone very wise once said that if you’re depressed or sad, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious or worried, you’re living in the future. And some have said that there is no past or future. Only the present. For the past is gone and we only remember it through memories, but those memories are now, in the present. And the future is not here. Once it arrives it becomes the present.
Moving on from your past means relinquishing the thoughts of victimization and refusing to let memories dictate your present state of mind.
If you want to find love and be in a committed happy relationship with a quality individual, you must first recognize that you deserve this that you are worthy of love and that nothing that happened in your past should stop you from achieving your dreams of finding love and happiness. Releasing the baggage that comes from failed relationships is paramount if you are to start over and make your new relationship succeed.
Moving On From Your Past
Let go of negative thoughts and get out of your own head and your own way. And this doesn’t mean bottling up your feelings and pushing them to the back of your mind, pretending you were never hurt. No, I’m not suggesting that you pretend nothing ever happened. But I’m not advocating that you constantly dwell on what happened and live your life ruled by and limited by the feelings of inadequacy and pain. The pain that you felt is real, but you must give it up and let it go. You must release it. Write about it in a journal, tell a close friend, confide in a dear relative, seek counseling from your pastor or mental health professional. Take concrete steps to work through the hurt to let the healing begin.
There is no past. There is no future. Only the present. For the past is gone and we only remember it through memories, but those memories are now, in the present. And the future is not here. Once it arrives it becomes the present.
The Three Steps to Heal From Your Past: Acceptance, Forgiveness, and Choice
1. Accept that you can’t change what happened but you can learn from it. Pray that you may receive clarity about the past. Clarity gives you an understanding without the shadows cast by emotion. When you have clarity, your perception is clear and you can learn from your failed relationships. If you tried to change your partner and it inevitably didn’t work, you can now learn that one person cannot change another. When you enter a new relationship you can know from the get-go that if this person has red flags that remind you of your ex, then this is not the person for you. You must recognize the characteristics and warning signs that will allow you to disengage from this person and not find yourself in another potentially destructive situation.
2. Forgive yourself. Allow yourself to move on and not beat yourself up with guilt and remorse. As humans, we all make poor choices and decisions. And the place we are in today is a result of those past choices and decisions. But you need to allow yourself room for forgiving yourself. Notice that I don’t necessarily mean forgiving the one who hurt you although that is important if you desire to heal your spirit and soul and free yourself from the emotional ties that are binding you to that person. (More about forgiving the other person in the next paragraph.) I mean that YOU need to make allowances for yourself. Think of yourself as a child. And most importantly, you are a child of God. You are his most perfect creation! You deserve forgiveness because that is what love is. Love yourself. Your inner child needs embracing and forgiveness, so don’t be so hard on yourself and give yourself a break from the accusatory and hypercritical inner voice. Forgive the other person, too. This may be difficult and may take some time, but when you let go of the anger, the betrayal, and the bitterness, you will find that you will be free from anxiety, stress, hostility, and can now enjoy relationships to the fullest. Your stress levels will decrease and your overall sense of well-being and happiness will improve.
3. Choose to be free from the past and its consequences. As Elsa from Frozen sings, “Let it Go!” It is your choice to let go of thoughts and memories that torment you. Only you can let go of the fear, the anxiety, and the worry that comes from living with the battle scars from your past. Those scars are there to remind you that you are a survivor, that you are strong, and you won the war. That is the message you should tell yourself when the ghosts of the past come back to haunt you. They have no power over you. You have the power to create a new situation free from the bitterness and hopelessness of the past.
If you want to heal from the past, put your attention on your present. Open yourself to all the possibilities that may come your way if only you are ready to receive them.
Don’t live your life in the rear-view mirror unless you feel you need to go backward.
Stop using what happened as an excuse to shut yourself off from the world and stay in the land of bitterness and resentment. Don’t let your past hold dominion over you. Enter the world of the living, the place where you deserve to live, and receive the joy, love, and happiness you seek.