“let go of the past”- not so fast!
“The past is the past, let it go, what happened happened”. Ever hear those words from someone and you just cringe in anger?
I have heard this many times, and the sad part? I heard it from people who I was once close to; people who didn’t understand what it meant to heal from something that happened in the past.
I have heard this from people who try to use “just hand it all over to God”. I have heard these words from people who either have never been through trauma in their life, or they have, but they are still in denial that healing the past is what makes for a richer future.
What would of happened if I never walked into therapy years ago? I would still be the same person who could not look in the mirror when working out. I would still be the same person who would let people walk all over me because I didn’t learn that I had a voice that was worth hearing.
I would still be the person who holds in emotions and swallows them. I would still be the same person who would run away in hiding at social events in fear someone will try and hug me.
I would still be the same person stuck in 2 O’clock not understanding why it is I go through it everyday. I would still be the same person who isolated everyday instead of reaching out to others.
I am a firm believer that we need to heal the past, to be in the now. YES the past is the past, but when you have been through trauma as a child, you have lost any fundamentals that a child needs to build who they are supposed to be today. You get lost in that world of fake belief, lies and fear.
A child is supposed to learn love, learn a caring touch, learn about support and comfort. A child is supposed to learn what affirming words are, and what it means to be praised, or be given a “healthy” scold for when something is done wrong. A child needs love and affection and assurance and safety.
If I walked around saying “the past is the past”.. I would be still living in the past. I am where I am today because I decided to stand up and take action against those who hurt me. I have stood up to say “I am ready to learn what it’s like to be healthy”.
I have lost a few friends since my journey to healing years ago. That sounds harsh doesn’t it? its reality and it’s true. Some people don’t understand why I would go back to something so painful – yet I have learned it’s the most courageous thing a person can do.
I have had friends who said that therapy is a waste of time, that I should hand it all over to God. Sounds like a COP OUT to me. handing it all over to God is great, to a point. I truly believe that God gives us the tools to get through tough times, it’s up to us to use them.
My answer to that person – “I did hand it over to God, and look where I am today”.
I am not ashamed to say that I am in therapy – I would be ashamed to say that I wasn’t. I am not ashamed that I work 4 days a week in this healing; working through the hard reality of my past. Today I would be more ashamed if I was sitting IN it, and letting the past and the people of my past win.
Working through the past doesn’t take away from the now, or the future – it enhances it. I am learning so much about life that I was sheltered from for years.
I dont regret the path I took one bit, in fact I am proud of this journey. The friends that walked away? Im sorry but I am not living for anyone else. I did that my whole life – living for others, and I am not going down that road again.
There is a quote that I read a while back ago that I love
“It is through healing our inner child, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior patterns and clear our emotional process. It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are”
So the next time someone says “the past is the past” no matter what it is you are healing from.. just keep in mind that, the past is the past, and it’s a crucial part of who you are today.
I have wonderful friends and support today that i am truly blessed for, and I have never been in the RIGHT place as I am today – healing and working through the past.
February 25, 2012 at 11:49 AM
This is a TRUE testament! Alot of people who say that are afraid to look into their past. Alot of people who say that are wounded themselves and they hide behind the old saying “the past is the past”. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.
I like what you say about “handing it over to god” and how handing it over to God is about using the tools he gives us to work through our hardships. That is true, people like to use God all the time to “take care of everything”.
You are on the right path Karen.
Me being a therapist, I have a couple of clients that I see many many times a week.. you are on the right path Karen, and thank you for this great read this morning, it woke me up to remember that all the clients I see are BRAVE
February 25, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I LOVE LOVE THIS! I have heard that term many times – “just leave it in the past” , and thank you for helping me see that I am not the only one who is frustrated with that. People seem too quick to shove things under the rug.
Thank you Karen for a wonderful write this morning.
February 25, 2012 at 6:41 PM
“the past is the past, and it’s a crucial part of who you are today.” That’s so true, Karen. When we choose to face our past we can have freedom today.