Nearly every person alive has faced a trial or two and wondered if things would ever end. We have all had that moment however fleeting or long where we despair over whether or not we can make it through this one time.We survive every day but do we get past them? Are we able to truly deal with and put the trials behind us? Or are we simply placing band aids over broken legs? Meaning are we hiding from our problems by either ignoring or shoving the pain into a manageable corner? The truth is almost all of us chose to simply ignore the past.…. We ignore yesterday… We assume that the test of time will make everything that we went through go away. That is simply not possible. Those of us that have suffered abuse are twice as likely in my opinion, to be the ones to choose to move beyond the pain that we suffered by simply forgetting it. A friend and I were talking the other day and she was discussing that there were several things in her childhood that brought her pain to think about. My response to her was to try to let that pain go. I am not saying that you have to forget what we have suffered only to remove the power that we give over to those memories. After all we can never go back in time and change them so the only thing we can do is move beyond it. The first steps are Acknowledgment and Forgiveness.
- Acknowledgment: As hard as it is to admit our pain happened. Yes I was abused mentally, physically, or sexually. Yes I went through emotional torment… Yes I went through several things that I could not control…. I went through all of that and it was not my fault. None of my past DEFINES me at this moment in time. A part of getting to know the real you is looking at yourself with an objective eye. Not a critical one. Looking to your past does not mean you are accepting blame only that you are accepting that something happened. Unless your name is Marty McFly there is no way to go back and change that fact so rip off that band-aid and break out the tissue paper. Sure we may cry and feel hurt by memories but that is normal. Feel that pain. Accept it and let it go. It should no longer haunt you to the point where it shapes you.
- Forgiveness: Everyone always see this word and immediately assume that to forgive means to forget or to admit defeat. Forgiveness means none of those things. It simply is a way of you not losing but REGAINING your strength. By forgiving those that hurt you, you are saying ‘You have no more power over me.’ … You hold all the control over your emotions. You also have to remember that the most important person to forgive is the person in your mirror. You would be surprised how freeing it is to look to self and declare that I Forgive ME. Even though we may know beyond a doubt that we did nothing wrong, most of us still unconsciously feel like we did.
So why do I need to Acknowledge and Forgive? What does that have to do with going through and getting past anything?… Have you ever wondered why sometimes a few of us have a tendency to self sabotage. We may unconsciously always seem to pick the wrong person to fall in love with, we may pick the wrong jobs, or friends. We may even choose to push everyone away because we just want to be alone. All of those things we may be going through NOW. Today. Not yesterday… We are struggling today. What does our past have to do with it?…. Well it has everything to do with it. Using our failed loves as an example if you have never learned to value yourself then it is not much of a stretch that we may end up in a codependent relationship with someone who we give control over how we think or see ourselves.
At some point in time we lost ourselves. Where? When? We can never find the answer to those questions unless we delve deep into our history. For some of us it is like willingly sticking our hand into a nest of fire ants. We know it will hurt and we will feel that pain for a while to come but we must do it anyway. We really have no choice. We must learn the lesson that the past is meant to teach us. We have to understand the whys in our lives. There is no way to actually grow beyond the past if we don’t understand how or why something happens or keeps happening. Going back to the above example what if the reason we choose badly is because we were hurt in the past so we are choosing those few people that we know are really toxic to us because we believe we can’t do better? We may choose the first man or woman coming because we are too afraid of holding out for better. Because we have never experienced love in our past we may develop a codependent relationship with a fictional lover. What I mean by that is we are in love with the image of someone and seek that in everyone that we date.
Looking objectively at the person in the mirror. The common denominator in a lot of our issues is US. Removing the emotional ramifications of that revelation look at what we are doing and try to break the cycles if there are any present. Looking at myself I kept falling for narcissistic men because I tied my self-worth into pleasing. To me a strong-willed and self-assured man meant that he was strong. I did not notice until too late that neither of the men that I loved actually cared about the way that I was being treated or felt. I put up with abusive behavior because I had no sense of self value. I did not recognize my identity because I did not yet have one. And to be honest I never saw it as a problem. I like so many others always laid the blame for my pain at the hands of the man I chose instead of looking at my own accountability.Only after really taking a step outside of myself did I begin to look at my past and recognize a pattern. Going deeper into me I saw that the ultimate reason was my lack of identity which was hampered by my past. I eventually learned to forgive my abusers as well as myself and in doing so I learned to place value back in me. I took back control over my memories. They no longer hurt me. I learned to forgive myself for being me. I forgave my penchant for willingly choosing the wrong men. I forgave me for not LOVING ME. Once I did that I was able to look at life through clearer eyes. I know that I am not perfect but I no longer see myself making that same mistake again. I learned the lesson that my past was teaching me. You can do the same.