If you really want to get closure on all the past pain, difficult emotions, issues of abandonment, abuse and infidelity, you will need to deeply analyze them. And you will need to deeply understand why these things happened to you the way they did when they did. If not, it will be very difficult for you to overcome it all.
In actual fact, very wrong. Our past, whatever it may consist of, is not something we are going to have to schlep around with us for the rest of our lives if we choose not to. And before I go any further with this, let me say that choice is the most important part of this process of releasing whatever it is that torments us. And in order to use our choices, we must be aware, not only of ourselves, and what we think, feel, and how we wish to react, but we must also be aware of that fact that at each of those points, we have choices.
Have you been in pain for years? Do the tears still roll down your cheeks when you think of whatever it was that happened to you when you were six? Or do you still feel angry? Does irate and overwhelming heat arise in you when you remember the thing that happened in 1994? Or do you still feel the flush of embarrassment when you remember your reaction to that situation when you were 23? Or do you still feel the knife-like wounds of guilt that hack away at you whenever you remember what you did in 2004 even though you have been forgiven? What about that thing your mother did to you last year? Or the thing your spouse did to you the third year after you were married?
All these emotions that arise connect you to your past. In fact, they do not allow you to live fully in the present because each time you think about the event in question, what you feel is what you felt then. Maybe even worse, because you have given it such weight, you have thought about it so often, you have felt all these negative emotions connected to it so frequently, that the neural pathways in your brain that deal with this event, the neurons that fire when you think about it, continually create a stronger and stronger connection, making it more and more difficult not to have your thoughts go in those directions.
You may believe that the more you analyze it, the more you have a possibility of clearing the issue. And so you think about it, you dissect it, you journal and write about it, you talk about it, and all the while you are creating more and more connections to it and reinforcing its power in your psycho-emotional life. And while I certainly do not dispute the fact that at times, and under the right circumstances of awareness and choice and self-love, looking at past issues can be very helpful in order to understand present circumstances, and can indeed be helpful to resolve issues, what is most definitely not helpful, is to rummage around in the murk and morass of the past, re-living it over and over again, in the belief that by feeling the pain, you will be able to release the pain.
There are many roads that lead to Rome, and in the world of the psyche, as well as in the world of the spirit, that also applies. What I recommend here in this article is most certainly not the only path to follow. But it is one that can be very helpful, even for stubborn cases. Become aware of yourself and in so doing, become aware of the number of times your mind goes – often with no conscious push on your part to do so – to a painful memory. Recognize that you have a choice about this, and if you are already saying to yourself, as you read this, that you do not have a choice, please remember... We always have a choice. In this case, your choice is to choose what you think about. When your mind goes to the painful event, recognize that it has done so, recognize also that to date you have not yet found a manner with which to resolve this situation, but that you do not have to choose to continue thinking about it right nowPerhaps later. Perhaps tomorrow, but not right now. Right now, you can choose to focus your attention on something else. Something that gives you pleasure, perhaps one of your pets, perhaps a project or goal you are working on that is touching you in some important way, perhaps something beautiful in your immediate field of vision, perhaps something you are grateful for. By consciously choosing to focus on something else, you are not pretending that the issue has been solved, nor are you pretending your thoughts won’t take you back to that same issue again at some other point in time. But you are acknowledging that if you choose to focus on something else, you are taking just a bit of strength from that particular pattern in your life. And each time your thoughts come back to that same issue in the coming days, if you choose to focus elsewhere again, you will be creating a totally new habit, one in which you are choosing to take care of your inner state of well-being, as opposed to feeding the pain of the issue in question.
This is not difficult. Henry Ford said: Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, it’s true. And in the case of deep-lying issues, if you decide that this is going to be too difficult, it will be. And if you decide that it will not be difficult, it won’t be. In the process, the new habit that you create will help you live your life in a more self-nurturing and psycho-emotionally healthy way. Will the issue be totally gone, totally eradicated? Will you eventually never think of it again? Will you eventually never again feel any of the pain? No. But it will have come to a place inside of you where you will be able to remember it without the immediate emotional reaction. You will be able to remember it without most of the pain, and if some pain does again well up, you will be able to deal with it. You will have come to the conscious realization that much greater inner freedom lies in the place where you choose where you go with your thoughts and feelings at each and every moment of the day. And if today you were only successful 20% of the time, that is already a great success as compared to yesterday where you did not yet make these choices. Become aware. Make good choices. Love yourself.
About Gabrielle Kortsch, Ph.D.
Dr. Kortsch holds a doctorate in psychology and dedicates herself to integral coaching, clinical hypnotherapy, relationship coaching, and energy techniques. She is an author and professional speaker and broadcasts a live weekly radio show in English that is available on the Internet or for listening on her website, and has appeared in numerous television programs in English and Spanish. She can help you move towards greater personal and relationship success with her integral approach to life and offers training and workshops in the field of self-development and choosing responsibility for the self. Visit Advanced Personal Therapy.com and sign up for her cutting-edge newsletter in English or Spanish, or visit her blog for more timely articles.