The MAIN reason you MUST go back and deal with your past is so you can LET THAT SH*T GO. If you know anything about me, you know I hate polarized words like “must” and “never”, but It’s the only way I can describe the importance of dealing with your trauma.
Putting it to rest, accepting it, letting it go, it’s all the same thing. If you’ve dealt with it, and there’s no negative energy there, then no need to rehash the past. If not, then doing the work to let it go WILL get you unstuck. If you have not processed your trauma, then FEAR is running your life. Your self-worth, your decision, and your relationships are all impacted by this FEAR.
Letting go is NOT living in denial, as some might think. Denial is self-deception while letting go means being deeply honest with yourself.
I want my clients to live full and free lives. I don’t want the past holding them back. I challenge clients to process and come to terms with past trauma, SO THEY CAN LET IT GO!
6 Reasons To Go Back & Get Closure
Reason #1: So You Can Be Fully Yourself
You’re the product of all the events in your life, the good and the bad. Hiding from, or minimizing, the impact of past trauma means living life without being fully yourself. Needing to hide parts of yourself creates deep-seated anxiety.
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” – Brene Brown
Reason #2: So Fear No Longer Has Its Way
Anxiety is often connected to not processing and failing to accept past events. Everyone needs closure. Pain and resentment that aren’t processed turn into fear. It becomes subconscious fear of that bad situation happening again. Your attempts to avoid that pain create layer upon layer of sensitivities that keep you stuck. You react and let fear make your decisions, rather than trusting yourself.
Reason #3: To Stop It From Harming You Further
When you don’t deal with negative experiences from your past, they harm your life today. Addiction is one-way people avoid dealing with trauma. It’s safer to be consumed by an addictive habit (e.g. substances, avoidance, worry, etc.) than to experience the pain of healing. Denial, minimization, and secrecy are strong temptations. If you live there, you’ll never see how what happened previously impacts you today. You’ll react to situations, rather than intentionally making choices.
“Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.” – C.S. Lewis
Reason #4: To Not Be Weighed Down
Your bygones will be a drag if you don’t deal with them. They slow you down and keep you stuck. It’s like running a 2-mile race with a 100-pound backpack. Why would you want something slowing you down? Take off your backpack by dealing with, and letting go, of the stuff weighing you down.
Reason #5: So You Can Live with Confidence
Life has a way of forcing everyone to deal with their core issues. Your junk keeps coming back up until it’s successfully laid to rest. People with unfinished business live with the fear that everything will implode knowing subconsciously the stuff they’re avoiding will raise its head again. When you work through your pain, you can rest in the present.
Reason #6: So You Can Make Sense of It All
Your mind won’t rest until it comes to terms with what happened. Talking about your past with a friend or counselor can bring clarity and perspective. You’ll start to see how you’ve grown rather than how you’ve been damaged. Talk about it, come to terms with it, and then you can let go of it. Acceptance is the answer.
If you found this information helpful, SUBSCRIBE TODAY, and you’ll receive our Free PDF of 50 Great Relationship Building Questions AND our Free Life Balance Tips eBook!
6 Things You Must Accept to Make Peace with Your Past
- The hurt (e.g. abandonment, assault, abuse, accident, death, molestation, etc.) you’ve experienced has wounded your heart.
- You’re worthy of love and acceptance despite going through this experience.
- Your trauma is different than others in scope and magnitude AND worthy of being addressed.
- Yes, there are people who will judge you, AND there are people who will love and accept you through your healing.
- There will be freedom eventually after you courageously deal with your hurt & let it go.
- You must open up to others about what you’ve gone through, but only to those who are safe and who love and accept you.
If you have read this far, I’m sure you’re wondering what the solution is. What does someone do to deal with unhealed hurts? I would first encourage you to talk to a professional and find a support group. Here are a couple of activities that you can process through yourself or with someone you trust.
Activity #1: Start a Life Timeline
This activity will give you insight into your past, and why you have certain triggers (e.g. fears, perspectives, setbacks, etc.), and help you understand yourself better.
- Step 1: List any traumatic events that have happened in your life. Examples: car accidents, neglect, divorce, etc.
- Step 2: List how you felt at the time and how it impacted you. If you don’t remember, list how you think it impacted you.
- Step 3: Describe how you feel about the situation now and how it impacts you today. Examples: “I fear abandonment,” “I’m terrified of being embarrassed.”
- Step 4: List any questions you have about what happened. Questions for your family, a counselor, or even a person who hurt you.
You can use this worksheet to complete the steps and draw your timeline.
Activity #2: Life Lessons
Answer these 3 questions related to each event you’ve identified as traumatic in your life timeline from Activity #1:
1. What could you have done differently?
Example: NOTHING. I was a victim, and therefore, couldn’t have done anything to prevent what happened to me.
2. What did I learn from going through this experience?
Example: I learned that it was not my fault. I’ve seen myself as defective because of what happened, and I’m learning this isn’t true.
3. How can I apply this lesson moving forward?
Example: I need to listen to my intuition with trusting, or not trusting, other people.
Your past makes you beautiful not tainted. Doing the work of going back and getting closure is often the scariest, and most courageous, personal growth endeavor someone can engage in.
Still hungry for more? Check out this worksheet on impactful life events and gain clarity on blind spots in your life.
If you like my style, and found this helpful, SUBSCRIBE TO TUNE UP FOR LIFE. Learn about healthy thinking skills, self-concept, life balance, core values, life purpose, goal setting, transformational habits, and more.
Emotional & Psychological Trauma (article) by HelpGuide.org
How Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Relationships (article) by Psych Central
Understanding Trauma: When Bad Things Happen to Good People (article) by Truman Medical Centers
Key Ingredients for Successful Trauma-Informed Care Implementation (article) by SAMHSA