How do I make peace with my past?

People come to me emotionally and psychologically trapped and burdened with years of secrets, pain, hurt, disappointments, and abuse, among other things.

iuri melo
iuri melo

Hello and good day to all of you. I'm honored to have you here, and glad that you would take a moment of your day to listen in, and invest in your own growth and personal development. I hope you realize just how critical it is for you to devote a little bit of your time to this great cause, that is your devotion to become a more whole and peaceful person.

Now I've shared before that I've been a therapist for 20 years now, and as a result, it's a necessary part of my profession to travel to the past of people's lives. People come to me emotionally and psychologically trapped and burdened with years of secrets, pain, hurt, disappointments, and abuse, among other things. So much is unresolved! So much of what has happened has left these individuals scared, believing inaccurate things about themselves, about the world, and about others. As they bear their souls and open themselves to talking and resolving their history, I find that they begin to develop a sense of peace about their past. This is paramount, because people who are at peace with their past, are at peace with their present, and hopeful about their future. Conversely, I find that those who are not at peace with their past, are afflicted in the present, and pessimistic about their future. It's difficult to escape the past unscathed, positively or negatively. We ourselves are a record of our past, with our actions, inactions, circumstances, culture, and beliefs tattooed within our brains and bodies.

There is a deep need to speak our story. I find that many individuals have an extremely difficult time doing so, and yet when they do, there is a feeling of liberation that is almost palpable in the room. As we honestly and fully express the story of our lives, not only is our understanding about ourselves increased, but only then is the unlimited potential for transformation and growth truly unlocked.

The purpose of this short podcast is the call to resolve and find meaning, compassion, and understanding within our past so that it doesn't continue to exert its negative influence upon us. As you search within, you won't have to look far because these are usually the things you remember clearly, and yet may have not divulged them to anyone. It may have been something you did to someone else or something that was done to you. As you turn your mind to it, you will find that there is a significant amount of energy trapped there, usually in the form of fear, deep hurt, shame, anger, bitterness, regret, and embarrassment. These are the feelings we are looking to release or at least diminish greatly so that they are no longer twisting our perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world around us. As perceptions change, our feelings change, which in turn make it that much easier for our behaviors to become congruent with our highest purposes. I'm not expecting to feel indifferent or apathetic about my past, only to look at it with more mature and mind-full eyes, in order to resolve the thought patterns, and feeling patterns that are poisoning my present existence.

For those of you who are carrying these crosses upon your shoulders, I promise that there is relief and an innate ability to move beyond the trauma (inflicted or self-inflicted) that you may have caused, or that you've been exposed to. We are made to overcome trauma, it is natural for us to move beyond those events in our history, many times without any negative consequences at all (many times stronger), and yet there is also the reality that at times people become trapped in their trauma. The problem with trauma, of course, is that it doesn't just live in the past, it's alive and well inside of you right now, and constantly being fed by the negative emotions and negative thought patterns that continue to provide it air and sustenance. The purpose is for you to be able to look to your past with your more mature, and mind-full eyes, in order to bring compassion and understanding to the events that continue hurting you, and distorting your present and future. It's obvious to me that individuals who are burdened with resentments, anger, and fear about their past, continue to suffer in the present. Once again, as we see our past peacefully, you will find that peace will naturally abide in the present moment, and stretch into the future.

I'm going to address and talk about two different tracks. One for those who have perpetrated, or victimized someone, and the other, for those who have been victimized by others. Both require healing, and both require confession (the expression of it). The following steps are only made to be signposts, with the realization that as you take action, you will find those events and circumstances changing within you, and working for your benefit.

To those who were victimized, it important that you:

  • Express what has occurred to you: This can be done individually first in the form of writing the event in your journal. Also, I would highly recommend that you express the harm that has been done to you to a spouse, a family member, a religious leader, a therapist, or a friend who is worthy of your trust.
  • As you talk,/write about events, notice feelings that are trapped there and seek to resolve and release them. This is usually done as we reframe and view what has occurred from different perspectives. Many times, those whom we trust this information with, can help us to view circumstances, even ourselves differently.
  • Move toward forgiveness. If you feel that forgiveness is not possible at this time, allow at least for some room inside of your heart, where with time, that sentiment may change, grow, and flourish.
  • Move toward growth and evolution. I'm a believer that this is indeed one of our greatest gifts, the ability to transform the tragedies of our life, into our greatest achievements. Our greatest pain, into our most powerful sources of wisdom and compassion. Realize that this is possible for you! As you become more and more liberated by those things that have held you captive, your ability to grow and expand will be increased.

To those who may have harmed others:

  • Acknowledge what you have done: If possible confess this to a therapist, a religious leader, or someone who is worthy of this information. Remember that it is not the telling that is hard, it is the resistance to telling that creates such suffering within us.
  • If personal behaviors are still problematic and inflicting harm, work feverishly and with renewed zeal to completely eradicate them from your life. True healing will occur only as you begin to distance yourself from the behaviors that compromise your highest sense of self.
  • When you have reached a more complete understanding of what you have done, and the impact of your actions, consider (if possible and appropriate) righting the wrong. You can do this by writing a letter or a message to the individual who has been offended by you. If possible do it in person, if not find some other way of contributing to that individual. These moments of humility can be especially healing to those whom you have hurt. Never underestimate your ability to make things better. If you cannot right the wrong, then begin to live your life in a way that manifests your change of heart.
  • Move toward Forgiveness of yourself and others who may have hurt you. Your mistakes do not define who you are, and are certainly not predictors of who you'll become. As you forgive yourself, you allow yourself to move beyond the shame, pain, self-hatred, and negative momentum that your toxic behaviors can create.
  • Move toward growth and evolution. Make a commitment to move forward and advance in your life. Do so personally and interpersonally. There is no joy in self-neglect. Meaning, purpose, and happiness follow those who with a sense of gratitude make use of the gifts and talents they possess, for the benefit of all who surround him.

May you find the courage inside to begin the steps I've outlined here. As you do, you may find some internal resistance and an increased emotional upset. Some of this is due to the fact that you are finally addressing something you have ignored and avoided. Like a Pandora's Box, some things are going to leak out that will not feel pleasing. Know this... this does not mean that what you are doing is wrong. Instead the opposite is true. Trust that the process of acknowledging, expressing, and seeking to understand is incredibly valuable, and will change your life if you allow it. I wish you my very best, and may you commit to, and trust the process you are about to engage in.