What if something you did or something that happened to you seems to cling to your consciousness – perpetually reminding you that you are “unworthy,” “imperfect,” or “damaged” and need to be fixed?
You’ve also probably heard more than once that the key to enjoying a life of happiness and success is to “be present.” But do you know how to heal your past and free yourself from what happened then?
There are many therapies and personal growth techniques that help to heal what has happened to us in the past. Let’s explore some of the essential steps that many of these techniques have in common. Then we’ll look at one practice in particular that can help you to take these steps.
While you may not be able to change something you’ve done or that happened to you in the past, you can shift how you relate to it. You can also take repairing actions in the present.
As a first step, I believe it’s important to accept what you have done or what was done to you without piling judgment upon it. Is it possible to accept what happened without writing a big story about how bad it was and how it has ruined your life?
Whatever you have done does not define who you are, nor does what someone else has done to you define who you are or who they are.
Can you look back upon what happened in the past without adding negative judgment and drama to it?
To go one step further, can you find learning in what happened? Is there any way that experience taught you something important? Without that experience you may not have learned this. What might that learning be? Can you forgive yourself for your part in what happened?
You may not have been fully conscious of what you were doing or you may have been reacting from your own past pain. Can you forgive the others involved?
Perhaps they were unaware of what they were doing or were unconsciously reacting to their own past pain? Perhaps each of you thought what you were doing was justified? Perhaps everyone was doing the best they could at the time?
We forgive not because what happened was justifiable or excusable, but simply because forgiveness helps everyone to move on.
Finally, what can you do now to make things better? Is there some positive action you can take? Is there any way that you can take what you’ve learned and experienced and use it to assist others?
We’ve all done things we are not proud of. We’ve all been hurt by others. It’s how we move forward from those events that is most important. What can you do now to live in the best way you know?
Inner practices such as meditation are one thing you can do to gain some mental-emotional space to successfully move through the steps mentioned above.
Meditation enables you to observe your inner experiences without being overwhelmed by them. When you can witness what has happened without being consumed by it, you can more easily let go of the past and connect more strongly with what is happening now.