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We all have things in our past that we wish would “just go away,” but unfortunately in the human psyche, that’s not how it works.
We need to start the arduous process of digging up and excavating those dark parts of our experiences thus far in life.
We can’t walk around it. Like an untended garden, the weeds will overtake our psyche and we will be dragged down into the soil.
We have to go back and trudge through the muck. We need to walk back through those painful, uncomfortable experiences to find healing.
Do you ever think of an experience and get a charge? Like a sick feeling in your stomach? Your chest may feel tight and heavy? Your breath gets short?
It seems much easier at that time to jump on social media, watch a movie to distract yourself, or jump into the fridge for another beverage or dessert.
How has that been working for you?
The truth is we need to seek the actual truth of our experiences to heal them. We need to bring them up and out. We are the only ones who can do this work—but guess what? The feeling in our chest starts to dissipate after talking and writing about those past bogeymen in our closet.
The thing you swore you’d never tell, the thing you said would go to the grave with you, which is looming around in your mind—it is no way to live.
You may think these parts are down in the abyss and were buried long ago (maybe with your hairstyle in the 90s), but no. They won’t stay quiet down there; they are dying to be dealt with and healed.
I always thought once I cracked open those things that had been done to me and I had done to myself I would be lost in a sea of misery and sadness. I thought, “What if I go into those dark places in myself and never find my way back out?”
I am here to tell you that I went in and the water is fine. I couldn’t do it alone, but with support or a therapist, a close, supportive friend, or possibly a 12-step group, those deep, dark parts of myself, and the shame I carried around those parts, have been completely removed. I no longer receive a charge when talking about those things.
I have been healed.
I no longer want to be a secret. I don’t want things from my past bogging down my current life in my marriage, parenting, and friendships.
I want to feel like I am enough, and I finally feel like I am.
The key is to get quiet and go within. To breathe through the discomfort. To find healing through the release of the negative ideas we have felt about ourselves and others.
Forgiveness of others is a great start, but forgiving ourselves and realizing we are loved and worthy is where it starts to get good.
I had my heart closed off for so many years because of past hurts. I pretended I was tough and didn’t care. But inside, I was a scared little girl who desperately wanted approval.
By surrendering to my emotions and realizing they wouldn’t kill me but instead would make me stronger, I came to know a new version of myself, one that walks taller and stands more firmly.
I am not closed off like before. I have more empathy. I am not so caught up in my selfish pursuits and ideas that revolved around one thing—me.
I can look outside of myself. I want to be a member of society, rather than pretending I don’t care.
By breathing and connecting to those spaces inside, we can come full circle. Our deep-seated challenges can become nothing more than that—challenges. We won’t have to run from them and avoid them. We can be an open book and look the world in the eye.
The freedom from this side is amazing. There is no question someone could ask me something about my past that would make me feel cringey and like crawling into a hole, and trust me, I have some doozies. By working through all of these past traumas, poor decisions, and regrets, I am able to see the blessings on the other side.
I don’t want this to sound cheesy because I know when I was in my darkness, I would be rolling my eyes and gagging myself by some optimistic lady telling me to “choose joy” or “find my inner happy.” I get it.
Here’s the truth. We can’t keep running if we want a life of freedom. We can’t keep hiding if we want to feel free. We have to break these chains that have been holding us back for way too long. We’ve been stuck self-medicating in our discomfort when we need to learn to share with someone the truth of our reality.
Tell someone what goes on between your ears. The crazy thoughts you have—the crazier the better. That one thing you were never going to share with anyone—share it.
I guarantee someone will have been there and may be able to understand and relate. What I’ve found is these things are bigger inside our heads and once released, they deflate and become nothingness.
Find a safe person to share with. There are recovery groups on every platform. If you are able, find a therapist. You do not have to do this alone. Alone can be a scary place.
Open your arms and let someone in.