Letting Go of the Past
Learning to process, move on, and let go of the past is something many of us struggle with. Whether it was someone who hurt us, a traumatic event, or a chronic life stressor, it can be difficult not to feel stuck. It can be scary to walk into situations even slightly similar to what we experienced, and face being hurt again. This ultimately ends up holding us back from living our life to the fullest.
There are many ways, big and small, that can help us let go and rewrite our lives so we can live the way we always envisioned. Telling a safe, trusted individual about what happened can be a huge first step to moving forward. Many times, shame or fear holds us back from sharing with others what happened and how it affected us. This creates a secret burden we carry that needlessly weighs us down. Often a healthy, helpful reaction to something that feels so raw and terrible can start relieving the distress – even just a little can mean a world of difference.
Next, starting to process our story in a creative way can help us reclaim the narrative. This can be done through journaling, writing the story, or through some artistic outlet. It can be extremely powerful to put our own words, pictures, or creations into something that has left us feeling out of control and powerless.
Another helpful step is using coping skills. Coping skills can be extremely effective for helping us to get through the day and find some relief. Coping skills are NOT a cure all and are not meant to make you feel happy or 100% better. They are skills to be practiced and used when we feel overwhelmed. Skills such as deep breathing, counting, meditating, going for a walk, and talking to a friend can help us feel more centered, focused, and less distressed.
Therapy is the next step when you’ve told someone, tried a creative outlet, tried coping skills, and you’re not quite finding the relief you wanted. Therapists are skilled in helping people process trauma and find a tailored approach that creates maximum effectiveness for moving forward in life. Therapy modalities such as EMDR therapy are another skill certain therapists have that reprocesses trauma from a neuroscientific approach.
Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes. We are all so unique and need different things to let go and move forward into the life we deserve. Take that first step and share your story with someone safe.
Written by Devan of SafeHeart Counseling. Devan is the founder and owner of SafeHeart Counseling, which provides therapy services to children, teens, and families. SafeHeart Counseling specializes in working with eating disorders, trauma, and anxiety.