Ways to Break Free from Painful Past Experiences
“There are two dimensions to the experience of pain: the pain that is presently generated and the lingering pain from past events that continues to reside within your mind and body.” ~Eckhart Tolle
When I came across this quote, it completely captivated me. A significant amount of the pain and suffering we experience in the present stems from our tendency to repeat patterns and fixate on past grievances. We are eager to find a solution to our distress. However, our quest for a solution often entails reliving the agonizing patterns we have already experienced, with the expectation that someone or something will bring about a transformation.
Many of us have experienced the challenging journey of divorce and come to the realization that the entire relationship mirrored a painful dynamic from our past. Many of us are starting to notice a pattern in the types of people we attract into our lives. Individuals who exploit our vulnerabilities, seek to manipulate us, or have ulterior motives that result in additional distress and hardship.
We constantly dwell on our thoughts, seeking ways to shield ourselves from further anguish and distress. It’s quite ironic how this ultimately leads to the very thing we’re attempting to steer clear of. This is because what we prioritize, we bring into existence. The law of attraction is constantly in motion.
For years, I relied heavily on my intellect. I believed that by obtaining multiple psychology degrees, carefully analyzing all potential future scenarios, and devising a meticulously crafted plan, I could alleviate my pain and suffering and embark on a fulfilling and purposeful life.
It was disheartening to come to the realization, after years of pursuing a fulfilling life, that I couldn’t achieve a sense of security, happiness, and meaning solely through the power of my thoughts.
Unconsciously, I found myself stuck in repetitive patterns of suffering as I attempted to address my past by relying on the possibility of others changing. I maintained a limited existence to ensure I maintained a sense of authority. I always preferred solitude over being in large groups. I always preferred to keep my thoughts and emotions to myself, avoiding any form of vulnerability or sharing with others. I preferred to remain secluded within the depths of my thoughts, where I found a sense of authority and security.
However, I also experienced a deep sense of unhappiness. Vacant and devoid of meaning. There was a period of time when I felt extremely hopeless.
Fortunately, I moved on from those emotions long ago, but the hollowness of going through the motions of life without a genuine connection to my actions or purpose persisted, and it was incredibly frustrating.
It is surprising how many individuals experience this sense of emptiness—far more than one might expect. Many of us hide it out of shame and a desire for a fix to make it go away. It’s quite disheartening to acknowledge that beneath all the layers of accomplishments and polished social media updates, we often feel shattered and melancholic.
We strive to fill this void by indulging in various activities such as eating, drinking, scrolling, engaging in intimate encounters, shopping, and accumulating possessions. Many individuals experience fear when faced with the prospect of spending an entire day, or even a lifetime, in solitude. Embracing solitude without any interruptions.
Haunting thoughts plague our minds. We constantly burden ourselves with memories of the past and anxieties about the future. We constantly dwell on our dissatisfaction with the way our lives have unfolded. We continuously relive past pain by fixating on the distorted and anguished thoughts in our minds, leading us to perceive life as unjust.
There are various approaches that people suggest for finding answers, such as praying, reading the Bible, seeking therapy, exploring self-help books, or engaging in mental activities. While these things may not be inherently negative, simply dwelling on them will not resolve or alleviate the pain from your past that you find yourself reliving in the present.
Unresolved emotions from the past can have a significant impact on our lives, leading to chaos, disappointment, and frustration in various aspects.
I used to believe that I lacked the ability to form meaningful connections with others. I typically prefer to wait for someone to approach me before initiating a friendship. I preferred spending a lot of time alone because it seemed more secure and convenient. Over time, I became increasingly frustrated as I noticed a recurring pattern in my friendships: a lack of genuine understanding and recognition from others.
I allowed my pain and fear of rejection to take control, leading me to conceal my true self. If I managed to capture someone’s interest, I would adapt my behavior to fit the image I believed would help me establish a friendship.
A major issue arises when individuals are drawn to this situation and choose to portray characters rather than embrace their true identities. The role they fulfilled was “taking care of me,” while I embraced the role of “taking care of you.” This match seemed promising at first, but it consistently left me feeling unseen and stuck in a repetitive cycle. The void within me continued to expand relentlessly.
The best approach to breaking the cycle of pain is to embrace the present moment and focus on your own self-awareness. Tap into the essence of your being and establish a profound connection between your physical self and the eternal spirit that resides within.
By fully embracing your physical sensations and connecting with your emotions, you can experience a sense of liberation and authenticity. Many individuals find it challenging to embrace moments of solitude due to the lingering pain of the past and our tendency to engage in activities that serve as distractions. The hidden truths we carry within are slowly destroying us.
There is no judgment on your character based on the actions you take to seek relief from pain. Life is not defined by one’s moral character. It’s all about embracing your true self, staying genuine, and forging meaningful connections, even in the face of challenges and hardships.
Feeling exhausted from the never-ending letdowns? Do you feel exhausted from constantly disliking yourself and your life? Do you find yourself constantly struggling to keep up, feeling inadequate, and experiencing a deep sense of emptiness? It can be quite agonizing, isn’t it? Experiencing the devastation and anguish of being disconnected from our authentic selves can be incredibly distressing. Confronting the ways we try to avoid acknowledging our inner void can be a difficult experience.
The body is where healing takes place. You will experience a sense of relief as the pain leaves your body. Embrace the power of connecting with your physical self and experience true liberation. You will encounter a sense of tranquility and happiness. You will break free from the repetitive patterns of suffering and find serenity in embracing the present moment exactly as it unfolds.
I understand that it can be incredibly challenging. There is a significant amount of turmoil within your body, making it seem risky to truly experience your emotions. An insightful quote from my mentor, Colin Ross, played a pivotal role in liberating me. “Experiencing your emotions won’t harm you; it’s your effort to avoid them that can be detrimental.”
Although it may be uncomfortable and painful, allowing yourself to experience your emotions can lead to liberation.
Here is a great place to begin: Listen to soothing music and gently shut your eyes. Imagine stepping into a glass elevator within your thoughts and descending gracefully into the depths of your being. After the elevator has reached your body, take note of the emotions you experience. Jot them down.
Try lowering the elevator slightly and observe if various emotions manifest in distinct areas of your body. Take the time to thoroughly explore your entire body and make note of every fascinating discovery you encounter.
Take some time in the upcoming days to connect with each of those emotions and listen to what they have to say. Assigning names to each emotion can make the process easier. Once you become more at ease with an emotion, you will feel more secure in allowing yourself to experience it.
For instance, as I descend in my elevator into the depths of my being, I am confronted with a surge of intense emotion. I gave a name to my anger: Carrie. During my journaling session, I inquire, “Carrie, what insights do you have to share?” She shares with me the multitude of reasons that fuel her anger and her perception of life’s unfairness.
She shares details about my previous marriage and how I was exploited. She brings back memories of the countless instances where he would silence me whenever I attempted to express my needs and shame me whenever I dared to stand up for myself.
She expresses her frustration at the lack of opportunity for self-expression during my childhood. I experienced sexual abuse and emotional neglect, and whenever I showed any emotion other than happiness, my family and culture would shame and reject me. She is frustrated with the repetitive roles I had to portray, feeling unseen and unappreciated.
As I become acquainted with her and listen to her thoughts, I develop empathy for her and also begin to experience my own anger. Every time I interact with her, I understand the reasons behind her anger. Her emotional intensity gradually diminishes as I establish a deeper connection with her and truly understand her.
This exercise can be done with various emotions, enabling you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and overcome any fear associated with your inner thoughts and feelings.
When your past and emotions no longer have a hold on you, you are able to fully embrace and appreciate your life in the present moment. Imperfect, unpredictable, and full of flaws.
Now that I have embraced my emotions, I have found inner peace. At times, I find myself needing to process the reality of what has occurred in my life. I will never be able to come to terms with the abuse and neglect I endured. Nevertheless, I am able to sense those emotions when they arise, and they do not overpower me. I appreciate that moment, and then I can proceed to savor the life I have built at present. Someone who sees me for who I am and cares about me permeates my existence.
One of the most significant changes for me is that I no longer feel the need to demonstrate my value to others. I am simply myself, and I find solace in that. This change has enabled me to break free from overthinking and simply exist.
There is no need to fixate on the past, try to dictate the course of our lives, or predict the future. We can embrace the present moment, filled with gratitude, hope, love, joy, and the complexities of our past experiences.
“Your MASTERY OF LIFE begins the moment you break through your prisons of self-created limitations and enter the inner worlds where creation begins.”Dr. Jonathan Parker
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