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Break Free From The Past: The Ultimate Guide to Healing and Moving Forward

Hello and welcome to the ultimate guide to healing the past.

We all have experiences in our lives that have left a lasting impact, and sometimes those experiences can hold us back from living our best lives. However, with the right tools and mindset, it is possible to heal from these past wounds and move forward with strength and resilience.

In this guide, we will explore the steps you can take to heal the past and find greater peace and happiness in the present. Let's get started.

Personal story

In the last year or so, I have noticed that I have become completely at peace with my past. No regrets, grievances, blame, wishing it would have been different. I don't define myself by my past any more. I feel neutral towards it.

I used to define myself by 'my dad abandoned us so I have daddy issues' and other stories that I would bring up in almost every conversation expecting someone to either relate to me or feel some good old pity.

There were many other things that happened to me (like all of us) that I made to mean something about myself, attached to my personal story and looked to get validation for it in the outside world.

There was a lot of survival, threat and fear that I experienced before I was even born. Growing up I experienced being controlled, feeling like I don't belong, loneliness, anxiety and depression. My past was a defining feature of my personality and I was continuously bringing it into my future. It seemed like I was repeating the same patterns over and over and over again.

I have always leaned towards self-development but started to consciously work on myself around 2014. It'd be easier to name the things I didn't do but here are some I've tried:

  • hare krishna movement
  • coaching and personal development events in London every other weekend for a year straight
  • breathwork/shamanic breathwork/yoga
  • somatic work/talk therapy (twice)/inner child healing
  • loads of books and loads of online courses
  • psychology degree
  • travelling

I couldn't possibly name even half of the things I've done but you get it. I just wanted to fix what was wrong with me. I felt desperate. I felt stuck. I can't remember how many times I felt like 'I've worked through this already why is this happening to me, AGAIN?!"

Well fast forward to today (2023 March) I feel complete with my past. I'm neutral. I have no desire to connect to people through my past trauma or things that happened to me. I don't secretly feel special because of my past experiences. I don't desire even a little bit for others to feel sorry for me in any way.

Do I have triggers that come up? Yes. But I'm neutral. I'm free! So this was my impetus for writing a long-form article on how to heal your past. I want the same for you, for every single human being!

Step 1: Acknowledge and Validate Your Feelings

Let me just say, it's okay to feel the way you feel and your feelings are your responsibility (response-ability).

Acknowledging and validating your feelings is an important first step in healing the past, but blaming others (parents, ex-partners, friends etc.) for how you feel is not taking you anywhere. The urge to blame someone else outside of us is normal as it can be difficult to face and accept the emotions we are experiencing, but it is important to do so in order to move forward.

Acknowledging and accepting the past is essential because it allows you to begin processing your emotions and working through them.

I've already mentioned one way we avoid processing these difficult emotions which is by blaming others. Another strategy is avoiding or denying the past altogether. This can actually cause more pain and suffering in the long run because it keeps you stuck in a cycle of emotional avoidance. It can be tempting to push away painful memories or emotions, but doing so can lead to a build-up of unresolved emotional pain that can negatively impact your mental and physical health.

Now, acceptance does not mean condoning or forgetting what happened. Instead, it means recognizing that the past is a part of your story and that it has shaped who you are today. You can't escape it, so you might as well start paving the path for yourself.

By acknowledging and accepting your past, you are allowing yourself to fully experience the emotions that come with it. This can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it's necessary for healing to take place.

A few tips:

  • Give yourself permission to feel the pain, grief, anger, or sadness associated with the past! It's an important part of the healing process. Emotions can be intense and overwhelming, but allowing yourself to fully experience them can help you move through them more effectively.

For example, if you experienced a traumatic event in the past, you may be feeling a range of emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness. You could start telling yourself "It's okay to feel scared and angry about what happened to me. My feelings are valid."

  • You also want to notice where in your body certain emotions reside. Our body is a reflection of our mind and it can also store trauma in muscles. So bring up the emotion and observe.

Instead of re-experiencing the emotion, try to observe the bodily sensations associated with it:

Is it deep or by the surface?

How big is it? Can you find where the sensations end?

Does it have a shape/colour/texture?

Can you allow for that sensation to just be? Witness and observe. Allow whatever wants to come through (tears, laughter, thoughts, memories etc) without becoming attached to it. I found that just becoming present with my emotions allowed me to let go. We tend to try and fix our emotions and make them go away but it only needs to be witnessed. Now repeat this process again and again and again.

  • Journaling can be a helpful tool too. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you gain clarity and perspective on your emotions.

Here again instead of trying to 'figure it out' just allow your thoughts and feelings to flow. I used to burn some of my journals as well once I finished them as a token of letting go.

Step 2: Identify triggers and patterns

What are the things that seemingly make you fly off the handle? Irritate you? Something other people do that you take personally?

Identify the triggers that cause strong emotions to surface. These are your keys to the past. Now that you have a list of your triggers, sit down in a quiet space, bring that trigger to mind and ask yourself 'when was the first time I had these emotions come up?'. Don't try to remember, just observe what comes up.

Triggers are usually our gateways to our patterns. And patterns are unresolved emotional experiences we repeat to mimic what was familiar (usually in childhood).

I used to have a pattern of picking out emotionally unavailable men. The more unavailable they were, the bigger the turn on 😁. Unavoidably, later down the line, I would start feeling like the person isn't there for me emotionally. Like they just don't get me and can't be there for me. When was the first time I felt this way? Well, I didn't grow up with a father and my mother wasn't emotionally available either so MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD.

Then, you want to go back to each individual experience and consciously rewrite it. Say you lost your mom in the mall when you were five. Go back to that experience with the little you and the adult you. The adult you is there to let the little you know she's not alone that mom is coming back and that she's coming back. be there for her, support her, protect her and give her anything she asks. Be the adult present she didn't have back at that moment.

I know this might sound like a lot if you want to do this in one sitting. But consciously rewriting my past experiences has been one of the biggest game-changers for me. Parent yourself and give yourself what you didn't have which leads me to

Step 3: Inner child healing and re-parenting yourself

It's a fact that your childhood shaped who you are today. We all inherit patterns, behaviours and views of the world from our parents and our relationship with them that affects us as adults. That's why reparenting is important.

Reparenting is a fancy way of saying that you can give yourself what you wanted to have as a kid. We're talking emotionally, but if a plastic tractor has been your dream, go get it, tiger. Reparenting is acting as a parent to your inner child: fulfilling your needs, offering emotional support and drawing clear boundaries.

If this sounds too woo-woo and you haven't done anything like this before, the easiest thing to start with inner child healing meditations on Youtube.

Essentially, reparenting process is like building any other relationship: spend time with your inner child, explore his/her inner world, listen to their experiences and desires. Just have a conversation! Whatever messages your inner child tells you, act on them.

Does your inner child want to play more? Become more playful.

Is the work that you're doing giving her joy or grief?

Do you honour, care and practice self-compassion towards yourself? Do more of it.

I found this to be the most pleasant and delicious process. It gave me back my self-esteem and strength. I learnt that I could trust myself to give myself what I want/need and I could also ask for what I need from others.

Step 4: Consider professional help

I've had therapy and coaching at different points of my journey and I'll say this:

Therapy was helpful to acknowledge my pain and see my patterns whilst coaching was something that helped me to move forward.

The type of talk therapy I had made me feel seen, changed my inner voice (from constant criticism to support) and rewired my view of myself. However, I found that talking and relating everything that was happening in my life as a manifestation of my past got tiring. Not everything is a pattern/sign/has meaning - sometimes shitty things just happen.

Coaching, on the other hand, helped me to consciously choose my future. Instead of defining myself by my past, I was constantly challenged to create from a space of 'what do you want NOW and for the future regardless of the past?'. That was freeing.

Looking back now, I would prefer to start with therapy and about 6 months in, move into coaching (while still in therapy). That would have saved me some time.

To close

Look, this isn't a one-night process. It's a process and I can't give any timelines on how long it takes. But I can tell you as someone who's on the other end of this, the freedom is worth it.

I want to share a few resources that I found helpful along the way:

  • the Sedona method
  • Inner child healing meditations on Youtube
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • Internal Family Systems process (best done with a practitioner)
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • the Landmark Forum (I've done other courses with them but this one is the one I'd recommend)
  • The Blindboy podcast
  • this article and this one

I wish you good luck 😉 any questions, shoot me a message!

P.S. I also went on a podcast discussing this topic in-depth