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Steps to Letting Go of Painful Memories

Experiences can leave us with some painful memories. They tie us to the past and prevent us moving on. And the only way to freedom is to work on letting go – so these memories don’t haunt us or keep us trapped in pain. Below are some guidelines to help you work on this.

1. Before you can let go, you must face whatever happened and accept that it is part of your past experiences. Suppression doesn’t work as a long-term solution. It can only be a band aid that brings temporary relief. Talk to someone you trust, or write about it in your journal. You need to share what happened, in order to move on.

2. Identify the lessons you have learned from what has happened. There’s always a lesson – so look for what you’ve learned. It doesn’t make it better – but it does lessen its power.

3. Write the lesson down on a piece of paper and repeat it to yourself when you’re hit by memories. For example, if you’ve been scarred by abuse, then you might write something like: “My experience of abuse does not determine who I am. I’m a stronger person now, and that is not my destiny. I’m choosing my own future, and the person I will be.”

4. Repeat this mantra often so it takes root in your mind. Allow it to be stronger than the bad experience. Say it often, till you mean it, then you’ll start to feel you’re freer. Persevere and keep on fighting when those memories return.

5. Seek to be a person who’s a peace with themselves. When peace is your focus, old thoughts and memories have much less power over how you think and feel. However, seeking after peace must be a conscious, constant choice.

6. When the past tries to intrude, focus firmly on the present. Ground yourself in what’s happening around you in the room, and try to breathe deeply – and deliberately relax. You are here in this moment; the past is over now.

7. Forgive – for your own sake. Try to heal from what happened – then let resentments go. You don’t want them in your life for they’ll just tie you to the past. It’s not an easy process; it takes work and discipline. But it is worth the daily struggle – as one day you will be free.

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On Healing and Closure — Don’t Lose Hope

“Sometimes closure arrives two years later, on an ordinary Friday afternoon, in a way you never expected, or could have predicted. And you cry a little, and you laugh a little, and for the first time in a long time … you exhale. Because you are free.” – Authentic Soul Care No-one knows what their […]

On Healing and Closure — Don’t Lose Hope
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Some Facts about Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope

“You can be healing and feel broken at the same time. Healing isn’t a destination we reach where we’re perfect and at peace all the time. Healing is a journey which involves accepting and embracing ourselves as we break, as we heal, and as we reconstruct.” Najwa Zebian 1. Everyone’s trauma is different; everyone’s reaction […]

Some Facts about Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope
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Some Tips for Coping with Flashbacks — Don’t Lose Hope

“It takes a great effort to free yourself from memory.” Flashbacks are a bit like waking nightmares. They are powerful, terrifying, repeated episodes where the person re-lives a traumatic incident. They occur suddenly, and feel uncontrollable. And the responses they evoke are so vivid and real that it feels like the experience is happening again […]

Some Tips for Coping with Flashbacks — Don’t Lose Hope
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Truths You Need to Admit to Yourself in the Aftermath of Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope

“I have a gaping, bleeding hole in my soul.”   1. What happened to you mattered. It really, really mattered. 2. It wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t ask for it. This is one situation where you truly are a victim. 3. You’re no longer the person you used to be. You’re a shell of […]

Truths You Need to Admit to Yourself in the Aftermath of Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope
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Trauma and Sleep — Don’t Lose Hope

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs.” ― Bessel A. van der Kolk If you have experienced a trauma of some kind, your brain will now be programmed to expect danger or threat. So, […]

Trauma and Sleep — Don’t Lose Hope
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How to Cope with Flashbacks — Don’t Lose Hope

“Healing is not an overnight process. It takes time. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re finally feeling better, and then the wound will reopen and bleed. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Keep on taking it one step at a time.” Flashbacks are a feature of PTSD that are hard to manage, as well as being […]

How to Cope with Flashbacks — Don’t Lose Hope
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10 Signs you may be Carrying Unresolved Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope

Some symptoms of unresolved trauma include: 1. You find it hard to experience joy. You want to feel alive and experience joy, but somehow that feeling continually eludes you 2. You fill up your life with distractions. Whether it’s binge-watching TV, or it’s snacking when you’re stressed … There’s always a way of avoiding painful […]

10 Signs you may be Carrying Unresolved Trauma — Don’t Lose Hope