Inspired living

Let go to move forward: 12 steps to overcome past hurts

Credit: Rick Van der Poorten Photography

Credit: Rick Van der Poorten Photography

I’ve recently been asked for some help around letting go of past hurts. We’ve probably all had a relationship that has ended painfully, whether it’s with a best friend, a friend, a family member or a partner. They may have gone but the pain lingers on. What can we do to put this pain to rest, to overcome past hurts, feel at peace and move forward?

Here are some steps that can help:

1. Feel the pain. This might seem strange but, in order to let go of deep and challenging emotions, you actually have to feel it first. What is the pain you are feeling? What is it about the loss that goes so deep? It can be good to talk with someone who is skilled, to help you explore this and work out what is happening for you.

2. Explore whether you’re being ‘triggered’ by anything from your past. Many years ago I had an issue with a very close friend. I found it very hard to let go of the pain I felt. When I explored this, I realised that my current experience was taking me back to a time when I had been deeply hurt as a child by a couple of school friends. Once I realised this, the intensity of my feelings subsided. Sometimes a current experience can trigger past pain and hurt and mean that you feel it more deeply. If you work out what is triggering you, it can help you release those intense feelings.

3. Accept the pain and discomfort. It’s normal to try to push away the uncomfortable feelings. Do your best to accept the feelings as they come and go. Say something like, wow yep that’s deep pain and hurt. It’s uncomfortable. That’s OK. Sometimes the hardest part of the feeling is feeling bad because you’re feeling bad. Try as much as you can to observe and accept, rather than dive into, reject or judge the painful feelings.

4. Feel compassion for the person who ‘caused’ you pain. Try to remember that the person did the best with the resources they had and their own challenges in life.

5. Work on saying to yourself, Everything that I am experiencing now is as it should be.

6. Look for the lessons that you’ve learnt from the experience. Focus on appreciating who you have become because of what you have experienced.

7. Meditate. It can be on your bed, on a chair or floor. Spend at least 5 minutes every day sitting with a straight back, closed eyes, breathing in and out. Consciously focus on watching your thoughts pass and on your breathing. Sometimes focusing on a word or a ‘mantra’ can help. You can try repeating ma silently on the in breath and om on the out breath. My experience is that meditation is the key to feeling more peaceful and being able to manage life’s challenges.

8. Explore whether there are any relationship patterns in your life that might need a bit of work. Sometimes when you don’t feel worthy, you can end up with relationships that disappoint and confirm deeply held feelings within you. Therapy can really help you overcome patterns like these.

9. Love and accept yourself. I truly believe that, in order to make changes and overcome past hurt, we need to start from a foundation of loving and accepting ourselves as we are right now. Start saying the affirmation I love and accept myself repeatedly to help you get there.

10. Ask for help from the God of your understanding or the universe. It can be as simple as repeating quietly please help me.

11. Feel gratitude for the relationships you do have in your life.

12. Reach out to others. Focus on creating new and positive relationships with people who love and adore you and appreciate you for who you are.

You can do it. Lead your own change.



Tulsi van de Graaff is a former lawyer with a psychology background as well as an experienced management consultant, workplace trainer, facilitator, presenter and coach. She is the founder of Lead Your Own Change and for over 7 years has been working with individuals, teams and organisations to solve their communication and conflict challenges. She also helps develop emotional intelligence and resilience, create positive personal and cultural change, manage change and uncertainty and enhance relationships and communication. Tulsi runs public workshops including Teen Talk: a communication workshop for mums and teen/tween daughters, Couple Talk, to enhance couple communication and Beyond Breakup, for people healing after a break up.

Tulsi is a volunteer facilitator and presenter for Dress for Success Sydney (DFSS). At DFSS, she runs workshops for women in need, including Finding Your Vision and Trusting in Your Ability as well as coaching training for DFSS volunteer coaches.

For more information check out Tulsi's website, www.leadyourownchange.com, her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LeadYourOwnChange/ or email Tulsi at Tulsi@leadyourownchange.com