10 Ways to Face Your Past and Move On

Dealing with life’s hurts.

Orla Kenny
Mar 29 · 7 min read
Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Let’s be honest, life is hard. I don’t know anyone who has not been hurt in life. It’s inevitable, as long as you live on this planet, you are going to get hurt.

Dealing with life’s hurts, and learning how to move on is a difficult task, yet it is the only way to find true peace and freedom.

What are some of the things that hurt us in life?

  • Neglect
  • Rejection
  • Abandonment
  • Abuse
  • Criticism
  • Broken relationships
  • Failure
  • Bullying
  • Betrayal
  • No support
  • Loss of a loved one

How do people usually deal with life’s hurts?

One of 2 ways:

  • They deny them
  • They face them

Denial

Denial is common, people do not want to deal with their past hurts. The perceived pain is too much for them to bear, and they think they won’t be able to cope.

Facing past hurts can be painful, and overwhelming too, so it makes logical sense to avoid it. It’s safer.

But, stuffing your emotions does not work either. They’re still there, only hidden away. So denial, although it is comfortable in the short term, it will have more damaging consequence long term.

Facing the truth

This is the better option. It is better to face the pain and learn what it’s all about, and train your brain to say, “Hey! I’m an adult now, I can cope with this.”

As a child, you could not cope with such rejection, abandonment, or abuse, but now you know what to do. You are not a victim, you have choices today.

As children, we were afraid to stand up for ourselves, because our very existence depended upon pleasing our caregivers. We were not independent and didn’t understand what was going on.

Often parents and caregivers were dealing with their own issues and were not aware of how their behavior was impacting you as a child.

But, if you were sensitive, you probably absorbed a lot of their stress which damaged your emotions.

Others were victims of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, abandonment, or rejection.

Forgetting it seems like the best thing to do. At least life goes on and you don’t have to think about it, but unfortunately, this is not how human beings work.

Any hurts that you have incurred in your life, will show up in one way or another, making it difficult for you to live a peaceful, happy, fulfilling life. They show up in your reactions and behavior.

Your relationships will be affected —either you will be drawn to abusive people and think that that is somehow okay, or you will avoid intimacy altogether to avoid ever being hurt again.

Both options are harmful to you and keep you in a place of pain.

If you don’t deal with the hurts in your life, they will deal with you.

For example:

  • you’ll find yourself in abusive relationships.
  • you won’t feel you have the right to say no because you’ve had no practice at it.
  • your pain will get worse.
  • you will get physically sick — most cancers stem from unhealed resentments or hurts.
  • your life will lack joy, purpose, and meaning.

Other possible side effects of not dealing with life’s hurts are:

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Ulcers
  • Migraines
  • Cancer
  • Polymyalgia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Interpersonal challenges

10 Ways To Deal With Life’s Hurts

1. Awareness

This sounds so easy, but you would be surprised just how many people live in denial, simply not acknowledging their past hurts. There’s an expression amongst therapists — ‘if you can’t feel it, you can’t heal it.’ So you must be willing to examine your life.

2. Talk about it

Share how you feel with a friend, counselor, or coach. Get all the support you need. There are many different support groups that can help you depending on your need. You can see a professional counselor, coach, or therapist.

Sometimes you might need more intense support, especially if you are in a lot of emotional pain, or perhaps confused. A therapist will reflect back to you your reality, as we often get confused in our thinking when emotionally disturbed.

3. Educate yourself

It’s amazing how many people struggle with painful life issues, but do nothing to learn more about it. We are living in the information age, so we have no excuse for not finding out more about dealing with our issues. There are hundreds of self-help books, videos, groups, and professionals to help us deal with our hurts.

4. Journal

Journaling is one of the greatest ways to work on yourself. I have done this for years, and it’s a lifesaver because there isn’t always someone to discuss your feelings with, but by journaling, you just need to write how you feel on paper.

Don’t hold back! Don’t edit your writing, this is not for the public, this is for you to express and release your pent-up emotions. Try it!

5. Pray

I don’t know where you are on your spiritual journey, but everyone is spiritual, they just have to learn how to follow it. The spiritual path is not a race and we certainly should not compete, although even Jesus’ disciples used to compete.

When you come to understand God more, you won’t want to compete because we all have blind spots and God doesn’t mind showing them to us.

In other words, you will be humbled, so better to humble yourself first. Pray simple prayers and let the spirit of God lead you into a deeper spiritual life.

6. Love yourself

Practice good self-care every day. Observe how you care for yourself. Do you neglect yourself in any way? Do you abuse your body with unhealthy food or addictive substances? Do you overwork, leaving yourself exhausted?

Develop new rituals every day that are loving. For example, speak positive, encouraging words to yourself every day, organize your day so that you feel productive. Be careful who you spend time with. Surround yourself with people who make you feel better.

7. Forgive

You must remember, you forgive for YOU. If you have been wronged or abused in any way, you have every right to feel hurt and angry. Forgiveness does not mean you return to that relationship if they have not changed their behavior. If they have not changed their abusive ways, you are just going to get hurt again, right?

So, do what you can to distance yourself from that person. If you live in the same house and for some reason, you can’t move out, then set boundaries within that house. You can have your own room etc.

8. Let Go

Letting go is hard. It has to begin with a decision. You must ask yourself, what am I gaining by holding onto this pain? Is it serving me? Does the other person even care that I am hurting?

Usually, they don’t care. If you don’t let go, you will end up living in limbo — stuck between the past and the future. Holding on always hurts you, never the abuser.

9. Move on

Ask yourself, what are the reasons that I absolutely must move on from this?

Often we think we’ve let go, but then we find ourselves ruminating over the situation again. If the person is still in your head, then they still have power over you.

Take control of your life. Start by focusing on what you want and not what you don’t want. Learn to focus on love, joy, peace, balance, harmony, and flow. Soon, the thoughts of going back will repel you.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8, The Bible.

10. Choose joy

You are now on the other side and you have let go. Breathe in that freedom. This is where your new life begins. You will feel lighter and more hopeful. You can send love, peace, and blessings to all those who hurt you in the past and start to enjoy what’s left of your life.

Lots of people say to me that there’s no point in looking back. I just want to forget about that and be happy now.

And I say, “well, is that working for you?”

It doesn’t work. You will have to face your hurts if you want to be happy. I’m sorry, but there’s no other way.

Are you choosing denial or are you going to face it?

The choice is yours.

The truth is, you will have to suffer for a while to be free. That’s what I did. Instead of chasing money, I chose to heal myself. It took some time, but it was worth it in the end.

I don’t have a perfect life and I still have so much to learn, but I can honestly say, my mind is at peace and I feel good most of the time. I have no anxiety, stress, or depression.

I feel I can build a good life from this place of inner peace. I know I will have obstacles, but I feel strong enough to face them now and you will too if you make a decision to do the work of letting go.

ILLUMINATION

We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Orla Kenny

Written by

Posts on spirituality, personal growth, mental health, relationships, and traveling light.

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Orla Kenny

Written by

Posts on spirituality, personal growth, mental health, relationships, and traveling light.

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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