Updated: May 21, 2020
It’s easier than you think to make peace with your past and let go of the pain from your past. You have to become aware of it, before you can truly let it go.
Awareness is the first step in any healing journey. When you can clearly see what has caused you pain, it no longer has a choke hold on your heart.
If you are questioning your decisions, your behaviours and your actions and if you are waiting to make a change in your life, yet you feel stuck in a pattern...this is a must read for you.
In my recent trip to Portugal I became aware of another layer of pain in my past that I have been carrying with me for decades. This pain has dictated so many of my decisions, it has caused me to play small, and hide from the world.
I lived in Portugal until I was 10. I was a different human being when I was there. I know that all kids grow up and change, but I completely transformed and not in a good way. In fact, physically my hair changed colour from blonde to dark brown in less than a year. A perfect metaphor for what happened to me. I went from showing up as a bright light, to extinguishing my light and hiding in the dark.
The best way I can describe my transformation is to let you in on my life before the age of 10 and my life after I moved to Canada. My hope is that my story resonates with you and allows you to gain awareness of the pain of your past so you can let it go.
Here’s a glimpse at my life before the age of 10:
I was fearless. When I was 4 I was the one going to close the gate to our property at night because the adults were afraid to do it in the dark.
I was popular. I never had to try to make friends, other kids always came up to me. They genuinely wanted to be my friend.
I believed I could do anything. I decided I was going to be a lawyer and I believed it. No doubts.
I put in very little effort and everything always seemed to work out. I overheard my grade 4 teacher tell my mom I was the best student in the class. I was surprised as I had no idea, I had no attachment to grades and I never put in a lot of effort.
Here’s a glimpse at my life after 10:
I became afraid of being alone. I strategized to keep “friends” in my world because I didn’t believe anyone truly wanted to be my friend.
I learned that I was not good enough. In high school I had the grades to get accepted to the best universities, yet I did not apply to the most prestigious ones because I didn’t believe I belonged there.
I stopped believing in myself. During my last year of university I was approached by a law professor that told me I would make an excellent lawyer. He even offered to have me intern at his law firm if I went to law school. I turned him down, because I didn’t believe he was right. I didn’t think I could make it in law school.
I put forth maximum effort towards everything that I did. I believed I had to because I was in a position of weakness.
You may be wondering what happened to me when I moved to Canada?
Nothing all that special…your typical story of an immigrant child who doesn’t speak english put in a school with a bunch of kids that found her an easy target.
I remember that at first since I didn’t speak english I believed that the kids talking to me were looking to be my friends. I still remember being so confused, I didn’t understand what was happening.
It took a while for me to really clue in that they were not laughing with me, they were laughing at me. The laughter and the ridicule turned into exclusion and soon I got the message that there was something wrong with me.
Once I was out of elementary school, I was determined to be “normal”. In high school I spoke perfect english, I got good grades, I found ways to make “friends”, and I fit in as much as possible.
You would think that I left my past behind me...and that's what I thought as well. Until recently when a whole new awareness started to develop for me.
My recent trip to Portugal unveiled the last bit of the pain I had so cleverly hidden away. Suddenly, I became very aware of the pain of my past.
The deepest pain that I have carried with me was the pain of being fooled. I came to Canada innocently believing that I was special, that I had value and that I was worthy. I simply believed this to be true. I did not have any conditions attached to my worthiness. It was just who I was being.
This is the reason it took me a while to clue in that the kids were all making fun of me. When I tuned in to their perception of me and I started to believe they were right, I was deeply hurt and felt like a fool for ever believing in my worthiness.
In order to keep that from happening again, I stopped speaking my of hopes and dreams. I started to see myself the way I perceived others saw me. I believed they were telling me I was not special at all, that no one wanted to be my friend, and that I had no value. I never wanted someone to say to me "who do you think you are, you can't have that..." So I stopped going after anything I deemed to be too big for me.
I am now aware that so many of my actions, behaviours and decisions in the last two decades have happened from a place of conditioned weakness. I don't hold any resentment towards the kids in my elementary school. When I remember that time in my life, the kids faces are all a blur. It's not about them, it's all about what I perceived. I had forgiven them, I just hadn't forgiven myself.
I felt a huge weight was lifted from me in this awareness. Intuitively, I felt guided to let it go, and not in months or years from now…but right now.
I simply sat with this new awareness and I accepted that it happened. I forgave myself for buying into the conditioning, for not believing in myself and for losing my connection to a higher universal power. Truth be told, I burned some sage…and I release it.
Whatever healing journey you choose to go on, just know that you can let go of the pain, and it can happen quickly. You can make peace with your past and let it go.
4 Steps to Make Peace with your Past and Let Go of the Pain
1. Be Aware of it - Awareness is the first step in healing from the pain of the past. In my experience, awareness shows up for you at the right time, it's not something you can force. Often, we ignore the awareness because we are not ready to deal with it, and that's ok. It will come back and at some point you will be ready to accept it.
2. Accept it - Acceptance is a necessary step to move you from awareness to healing. Acceptance of what happened, acceptance of the pain you felt or still feel is how you will start to feel relief. As long as you resist what is, you will not be able to make peace with your past.
3. Forgive it - Forgiveness is something you do for you. It is mandatory if you want peace. It is not about letting someone off the hook or condoning their behaviour. It is about freeing yourself from the pain of your past.
4. Release it - Letting go sounds more complicated than it is. Once you have completed the three steps above, there is really nothing left to do but to allow the pain to release. That is the key to letting go, is knowing there is no effort on your part. Simply say to yourself that you are ready to let it go.
Once you truly make peace with your past, you are free to make future decisions without the pain of your past dictating your actions and behaviours.
How has the pain of your past impacted your actions, behaviours and decisions? Have you experienced a release of the pain of your past? Share your insights in the comment section below.
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Wishing you love, joy and peace,