Stop Holding On To The Pain Of The Past

Published on: March 27, 2014

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Pain Weighs Us Down

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” – David Richo

Imagine for a moment life without scrambled thoughts playing inside your head. Imagine a state of peaceful thoughts which come and go like the ocean tides; without struggle, pain or resistance. Are you holding on to any painful memories which keeps you trapped in the past? You see, many of us are unconscious to these memories until they overwhelm us. Holding on to pain may be akin to clutching to hot coal wishing you don’t get burnt, as the Buddha once affirmed. Each time a painful memory is recalled, it is brought to life by inviting the past into the present.

Have you ever experienced a moment throughout your day, when for no apparent reason you are drawn into a bad mood? Mood swings may represent when the unconscious mind recalls a past memory. When we least expect it, negative emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness emerge. For some people, holding onto pain signifies a badge of honour, since it identifies them as someone who has been victimised. They wear their badge with to mark their identity and draw attention to the pain and misery. When untoward circumstances arise, they use their badge as a means to justify their victimhood. I’m sure you will agree that this is no way to live?

In order to harness the richness of life, we must be willing to let go of our pain. We ought to drop the story that accompanies the pain. This begins with the desire to release the pain and suffering to allow the new, fresh and expansive energy of life to permeate our being. By no means does this underscore the gravity of what occurred in the past. You are choosing not to carry the burden of the pain in the present moment and future. When we identify with our pain, we view the world through a distorted lens. Those fleeting moments of joy and happiness are lost to a mind which has spent years drawing on painful memories. Have you ever come across people who carry their victimhood around with them? They use any opportunity to go to war with others when life does not play their tune.

Release The Pain And Suffering

“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” – Steve Maraboli

Just the other day, I saw evidence of this while out shopping. Whilst standing in line, I noticed there was only one checkout operator processing customer’s purchases. She was clearly distressed at the growing queue of people standing in line and was unable to process people’s purchases any faster. A gentleman standing behind me was growing impatient by the minute for being made to wait more than necessary. He began to incite tension among other shoppers by rallying those who identified with his plight. This example is all too common in everyday life. It illustrates how minor situations can derail us and cause mental and emotional unrest. This is why it takes a great deal of energy to keep the past alive. The mental and emotional energy steals away from valuable resources that could be better spent on other rewarding life experiences. Over time and if left untreated, painful memories have the capacity to transform into psychosomatic illnesses.

Experts now believe it takes approximately one and a half minutes for the body to process an emotion. Knowing this we needn’t hold onto mental and emotional pain from the past, nor do we need to carry it with us for years. Simply dealing with the emotion as it arises, allows it to move through the body in a shorter amount of time without the long term physiological effects. Oftentimes, people hold on to their pain for so long that it forms a safety blanket. They would feel lost without the pain and suffering. Afterall, they would have no story to tell. Perhaps others might find them uninteresting. Who would they be without their story? Listen, bad things happen to good people every day. They have happen to good people all throughout human history. One need only look to the concentration camps in Nazi Germany to see the devastation it had on the lives of so many innocent people.

Despite the brutality, one man emerged in his personal statement against his aggressors. Viktor Frankl’s quote highlights our power to transform external life’s events into meaningful personal victories. He reminds us: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In order to release your pain, make an inner declaration to choose peace, happiness and freedom, even if you don’t know how. Once you abide by this affirmation, the healing process has already begun you will begin to move toward a state of peacefulness through your thoughts. It may not happen overnight but with the right intention and through mindfulness and self-compassion, you can heal your wounds and find peace within. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to release yourself from the mental prison that has held you captive all this time. I can assure you, life is far richer without the burden of pain memories.

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