Throughout our lives we all experience some kind of emotional pain, but what we do with that pain is probably more important then the pain itself. We have the power to decide whether to grow and learn from our experiences, whether they are positive or negative, or to dwell on them, reliving scenarios over and over in our minds and never completely moving on. But who wants to live life like that? Always stuck in the past and never able to completely move forward.
Imagine holding 1kg weights in each hand with your arms outstretched. At first the weight would feel quite light. Now imagine how it would feel after 1 minute, 10 minutes, 1 hour, imagine that you had to hold the weights for a full day. Those little weights would start to feel heavier and heavier in your hands until the weight became unbearable and you had to let go. The same can be said for the mind. When we hold onto things such as emotional pain or grief those things become heavier and heavier in our mind until they are too much to bear. We need to find ways to let go.
Most of us start by blaming someone else for the things that have gone wrong in our life. It’s a completely normal reaction, but the problem is that by blaming someone else we are handing our power over to them, leaving us feeling helpless or victimised. All emotions are valid, I’m certainly not saying that you should ignore your emotions, but we need to work through them and come out the other side. Holding onto pain won’t fix anything. We can’t change the past and wishing things could be different will not make them so. Holding onto things from our past can prevent us from reaching our true potential, it can stop you from creating a true sense of self and stop you from reaching your goals. We need to learn to accept the things we are holding onto and then let them go. Sometimes it can feel impossible, but it’s the only way we can truely move forward and accept new joy and happiness into our lives.
5 Steps to Letting Go of Your Pain
1. Make the decision to let it go
While this may seem redundant to some it is actually an important step in moving forward. You need to make a conscious decision to let go in order to regain the power over your life and to prevent the possibility of self sabotage. Accept that the decision is yours and make the choice to stop dwelling on the past and reliving painful scenarios that don’t serve you.
2. Express your pain
Ok now I know this may seems like we are taking a step back, however in order to truely let go we must first acknowledge the pain and express how it made us feel. This may involve speaking with the person at the centre of your pain, or you may prefer to just work through it on your own by either speaking out load to yourself or writing it down. Get it all out of your system once. This will help you to understand exactly what your pain is about and what role you play in that pain.
3. Stop being the victim and take back control
Being angry at the world can sometimes feel good for a moment but the longer you hold onto your anger the more it eats away at you. In every situation you have the choice to continue to carry your pain, continue to let other peoples actions control how you feel or to start feeling good and let joy and love into your life. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness and not put that power into the hands of someone else.
4. Let go of the past and focus on the present
Stop living in the past. Stop retelling yourself the story where you are the victim. You can’t undo what has already been done, so let it go. Next time you find yourself replaying an old story, stop, take a breath, let it go and chose to come back to the present. When you hear that mean little voice in your head (that one we all have) telling you that you can’t achieve something or that you will fail, gently close the door on that voice and bring yourself back to love. Believe in yourself. When you are completely focused on the here and now you have less time to think about the past and you are able to experience feelings of love and happiness. However when our brain is so crowded with things from our past it leaves little room for anything else, the hurt takes up all the space in your mind. So rather then continuing to focus on you pain, choose to let love and joy back into your life.
This may mean forgiving yourself or it may mean forgiving others for pain they may have caused you. Resentment will keep you locked in the past and prevent you from moving on with your life. Forgiveness is crucial in order to move on. This can often be the hardest step for many people. Remember that forgiving someone doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t mean that you agree with what the other person did. It just means that you forgive them anyway, because you are a good person. Without forgiveness you will never be able to completely feel joy and you will never be able to move on. As hard as forgiving someone else is, sometimes forgiving yourself for something can be even more challenging, but you need to stop beating yourself up, stop hurting yourself and choose to be happy.
I know this stuff is hard, it can be incredibly hard to let go of pain or grief, especially if you have been holding onto it for a long time. But that pain is not serving you, so don’t let it define who you are. Holding onto pain is not healthy and it impacts every aspect of your life. It effects our ability to focus, it impacts our relationships and it prevents us from reaching our goals. So make the choice to let go of your pain today and welcome happiness back into your life.