I have been thinking about how to heal the past a lot lately and how absolutely necessary it is to find freedom in the present. Once upon a time, I couldn’t think about my own past without feelings of anger, shame and resentment bubbling up. I ran very hard and very fast from anything that reminded me of what I experienced as a kid and young adult. As I got older, a lot of the insecurity of my childhood came to manifest as needing utter security as an adult. I achieved that security and put miles between what my life looked like and how I grew up.
Why It Is Vital to Heal the Past
I was about 30 when I realized that the life of external accomplishment and security that I had created didn’t make me truly happy. I was safe, successful and still not free. When you are on a path of personal development, that path will look as varied as the individual that is on it. You may learn to meditate, chant, journal every second of every day, use crystals, talk about energy, ask the cards, the angels, the moon and your dog for advice and guidance. Please note: I have done all of the above. At some point, your past will remind you of its presence and that can be a subtle reminder or a punch in the gut. We must heal the past to truly be free.
All Pain is Equal
There is a reason that I haven’t gone into an exhaustive list of my past traumas. They are there and trust me they were very, very difficult. I would never want anyone who reads this and who carries their own pain to compare my past to theirs and to think theirs is not the same. The pain is real. The hurt is real. The scale, length and magnitude matters less to me than whether or not you know you need to heal the past before you can find your freedom.
As a coach, I support my clients to heal the past. Sometimes the wounds are clear and they know they need to heal and sometimes the pain is not as obvious and it requires digging and a gentle guide showing them the patterns that are arising in the present as a result of that past pain. The key thing to acknowledge is how the pain shows up in the present. I ran until I couldn’t run any longer. My past remained an anchor in my present that prevented me from being truly free.
How to Heal the Past
- Stop running. As a former marathon avoider, please know that the best and hardest thing I ever did was stop running. People can run their entire lives from the pain of the past. That anchor will always be there chaining you to your past until you find yourself staring directly at it ready to heal it.
- Get Honest. The most transformative shift that I have ever experienced was the moment when I realized that nothing was going to change what had happened to me. No amount of wearing my pain like a defense mechanism or a badge of honour or trying to cover it up, would change the fact that it had happened. I chose to look directly at my pain in order to heal the past and examine exactly how I was showing up in my present reality.
- What is the belief? I embarked on a path of personal development several years ago. I learned from some wonderful teachers about things like the ego, fear, how to practice forgiveness, reflection and meditation. I found a lot of ease and peace through this work. I wasn’t fully free however. My past was still showing up in a belief that I wasn’t good enough. I thought it was the past that I needed to heal, but it was the belief that arose as a result of those experiences that needed to be healed. When I got to the root of what the core belief was, I was able to shift it.
- Be Brave. My sweet reader, if you are reading this and thinking to yourself, that looking at your core beliefs is just too difficult, please know that you are not alone. Can you think back on a time in your life where you had to be utterly brave? Can you call on that experience now and know that if you have been brave in the past you have that same bravery within you to heal the past and find your freedom?
- What is it Costing You? My past left me stuck in the future. I was being called to serve and help others through writing and coaching, but I absolutely had the belief that I was not good enough to do so. My desire to support others struggling with the same thing was bigger than my pain though and I was able to acknowledge that I am enough and I am a teacher. I decided that the belief was not going to support me to help others and I created a new belief structure.
- Choose Again. When I finally got to the core belief that arose as a result of my past and saw the patterns that it had created I was able to choose a new belief. I do this work with clients. In asking them, what it is costing them, there is a beautiful moment, where, despite the fear they have, they realize that they must choose again. They realize that they must heal the past in order to flourish in the present and to create a life they are in love with. You can have it too.
- We Are the Same. I believe in you. If I can heal the past, then you can as well. We may be two unique souls, but we want the same things. To be happy, free and to feel like we are enough. Can you decide that you don’t want to carry that pain a moment longer?
What does freedom from past pain look like? More importantly, what does freedom feel like? I like to think of my past as being a collection of objects that I have placed in a box on a shelf. That box is full of the pain that no longer has hold over me in the present. That box is simply a thing that takes up a small amount of space. It doesn’t get opened. It is there, but I don’t need to go back. I can see it there and I feel no pain, no energetic connection to it. I drew a line in the sand and my past is no longer the anchor that it once was. I have come to the place of feeling gratitude for the lessons I learned and the person I have become.
You are not your past. You can be free from the pain and heal the past to experience true freedom. You can live a life of abundant happiness and know at your very core, that you are deserving of that happiness.
So tell me: Are you ready to draw a line in the sand?