Letting Go of A Painful Past

By Audrey Marlenet

Letting Go

As Featured On Ezine Articles


Moving Beyond the Pain

Caroline was a nine year old girl who was sexually molested at the hands of family members. Because of these episodes she grew to believe that what was done to her was her fault. She grew up believing that she was a "bad person" and did not deserve anything good in her life. Her self-esteem was at zero, her level of confidence a negative zero, and her outlook on life grim.

As she grew older the shame of happened to her as a young girl sent her into the depths of depression and anxiety. She became resentful towards her entire family especially her parents whom she felt did not protect her. Her adult life was consumed with sadness, guilt, hurt, and anger. The stronger she held on to the past, the unhappier she became. The past consumed her like a blazing fire and drove her to substance abuse to numb out the pain. Her future seemed doomed.

We all have heard of stories of or have our own experiences about a painful past. Rebuilding a past is a difficult thing to do and many cannot do it alone. It can take years of painful therapy to make strides. However, hanging on to the past ruins any chance of success for the future. The anger and resentment combined with the feelings of inferiority is a sure recipe for disaster.

Allowing the past to control your present is a sure way to destroy your future. Your life will continue in a downward trend and you will hardly be able to achieve your goals and dreams. What happened in the past is done. There is nothing you can do about it. No matter how long you stay fixated on it, it will never go away until YOU make it go away. The past is only part of your present because you keep it there. Letting go of the past is all in your control.

The only way to put the past behind you is to make a decision to not be controlled by it any longer. If you are truly tired of reliving the past in your mind, you must make a choice to let it go. You are the only one who can do it for you. The question of significance is how badly do you want to make the change? Change can be in the form of seeking help to overcome the issues that haunt you.

Take a stand and feel ready to become to the new and improved you. Toss away the old and bring in the new self. Letting go of the past allows the new you to emerge. It may seem difficult to do at first but take it from someone who has had to shed a painful past, it's much more painful hanging on to it than facing it and letting it go. Once you begin to delve into the issues of the past it may seem painful at first but as you focus on the true you and stop defining yourself by the things of the past, you can finally see the wonderful person you are.

The Power Within

The emotional scars one carries into adult life can inhibit one's ability to move forward. When in this state of mind life seem so unfair, the hurt seem so real, the sadness clouds any potential for clarity and insight. A negative view on life seems the norm as you assume the role of the victim. It can be impossible to recognize any strength within you.

It is a natural phenomenon when we as humans struggle to restore psychological equilibrium when are feeling psychologically unbalanced. The torment we feel inside is the struggle to let go of the past and to assume the life you dream of. The greater the anguish you endure only means a stronger desire to achieve emotional balance. So recognize the hurt and the struggles you face as your mind's way of saying, "I want to feel better." Realize it's only you who can create that better feeling.

The great news is that we each have the power within to make this letting go experience happen. Even though you may feel weak you do have the power within to make it take place. We have the innate ability to transform our lives and free ourselves from a painful past. This transformation only takes place however, when you make the decisions to be the victor and not the victim. You are now all grown up and in control of your life. The perpetrators of the past can no longer hurt you. But if you keep reliving the past and allowing it to affect your present life, it is YOU keeping the perpetrators present and current in your life.

Here are a few things to ponder:

  • How much longer do I plan to stay in the depths of emotional despair wishing for a better way?

  • How much longer do I continue to feel envious of others who are succeeding and moving ahead with their lives?

  • How much longer do I want to continue feeling inferior with each day that passes by?

  • How much longer do I plan to continue feeling sorry for myself and play the victim role? Do you even realize you are doing this or has this mindset become a way of life for you?

  • When bad things happen in the past do you buy into that belief that your past equals your future and it's normal to be messed up for life?

Stuff happens to people everyday. That's a tough reality of life we all face. But it's the way we handle the tough stuff that makes us the conqueror and the victor. If you want to let go of the past you must be fed up with your current situation and feel desperate for a better existence. When you are annoyed with the chains of the past that bind you, you will free yourself. You have the power to do so. Once you have reached this turning point transformation can begin to take place. You will reach out for help.

Once the wheels are set in motion, you must find the determination to fight. You have to become a warrior for your cause. You have to put on your armor of faith, courage, and might to free yourself of the emotional slavery you have been conditioned to live in. You have to become emotionally resilient

Caroline was fed up with her life. She had hit rock bottom and needed to find her way again. The shame was so overwhelming she couldn't even look at herself in the mirror. Drugs had taken over her life - she hated the person she had become. That's when it hit her! By living in the past the perpetrators were still victimizing her. She saw the control they still had over her. She became angry, ready to fight to take back her life. The power within her rose to such heights that she finally made the decision to end the misery. She found help and focused on letting go of the painful past. Her number one goal in life was to rebuild her self-esteem.

Are you ready to be the victor of your life? Are you ready to rewrite the past and create a new chapter in your life? Stop allowing the past to control your present and destroy any chance for a productive future. If you don't know where to begin, contact someone who can help. Help is everywhere - it's up to you to take that first step of letting go.

Ready for Letting Go of the Past?

The first step to

letting go of a painful past is to come to terms with your emotional reality. Do an emotional litmus test to see your state of being. Are you sad, depressed, anxious, irritable, or resentful? You know he real answer. Realize your emotional condition and be ready to confront it. Things are not going to get better on their own. Only you can make the choice for change. With all this information, if you don't do anything about your misery then you have no one to blame anymore.

How do you cope with your pain? Do you give in to external devices to numb the hurt? Do you share your emotional payload with alcohol or substances that block out the burden? Can you honestly accept the reality that you have fallen into this trap? If drugs or alcohol have become your coping strategy recognize it and seek the help you need.

Stop making excuses for why you must still carry the pain. I did that for many years and it gets you nowhere. There is no logic in punishing yourself for something someone else may have done to you. This only perpetuates the victimization. Letting go of the past detaches you from the perpetrators.

Take your future in your own hands. No one else is going to do it for you. You will gain sympathy from others as they see you as the victim but that is how you will be perceived by others. Is that how you want to be known as - The Victim? Do you really think you deserved what happened to you? Nonsense! You deserve to take control of your life so you can achieve all the wonderful things you are put on this earth to accomplish. You deserve to see the beauty that lies within you and live each day to realize it with a smile on your face. Letting go of a painful past may require help. Now that you feel ready to face the past you must seek out a professional such as a psychologist to help you get to the core of the pain. Be sure to find someone you can connect with, who you feel comfortable opening up to. This is critical to your success.

Begin today to face the past. Make the decision for letting go the past and write it down on a large piece of paper for you to see every chance you get. You will learn to love yourself again. You will learn to trust again. You will rebuild your self-esteem. You will begin to elevate you mind to a place of higher consciousness once this emotional cobweb is removed. You will find your way again. I did it, so can you!


Letting Go Poem

Author Unknown

Letting go doesn't mean to stop caring;
It means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off...
It's the realization that I can't control another...
Letting go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle
arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
Letting go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.


Quotes on Letting Go of the Past

  • "The Past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshiped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness." -Pierre Trudeau

  • "Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward." - Author Unknown

  • "Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head." - Ann Landers

  • "Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future." -Dale E. Turner

  • "Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?" - Leo Buscaglia

  • "People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar." - Thich Nhat Hanh

  • "Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go." - Sylvia Robinson

  • "Stand up and walk out of your history." - Phil McGraw

  • "Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." - Charles Dickens


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