In this blog, I want to share a process I used many times to let go of old, painful memories that still negatively affect me in the present.
As humans, we have the ability to remember the past. This is a great tool. But like all tools, it can hurt us if used in an unresourceful way.
Memory is best used to serve us, but sometimes memories can hinder us from living the life we want to.
Constantly remembering things that hurt, playing the same old movie of the old memory repeatedly in your mind, and continuing to be hurt by it is not in service of a good life.
You already lived it once, and you don't need to keep reliving it again and again and again in your mind.
Feeling negative emotions about our past does not change the past, nor does it improve our present or future. It does quite the opposite. Learning from the past and understanding the past in a resourceful way, and taking those learnings and understandings into the future is what serves us.
Taking learnings and understandings about the past gives us wisdom. It allows us to experience a better future, avoid future mistakes, achieve better results, and understand life in a resourceful way.
I used to have a memory that bothered me often. It was a memory of a moment during my parent's divorce. This memory was something I could think about, and I would instantly feel bad. Even 17 years later! This was not serving me and the life I wanted.
So, I decided that I didn't want to have a reason to feel bad, and I especially didn't want to keep reliving something painful. I had lived it already, and I was now continuing to relive it by playing the old movie repeatedly in my mind. I was sick of it and done with it!
I realized that if I spent my life staring into the rearview mirror, instead of focusing on the road ahead, I wouldn't give myself the best chance of living the life I wanted to live.
So, I went through the following process about 3 times, and it is now nothing but a distant, faded memory.
Start by remembering the old memory. Imagining yourself back in that moment when this event took place. But instead of seeing it through your own eyes, imagine you are floating out of your body, up a few hundred feet above the event, looking down, like a birds-eye perspective of the old memory.
See that memory from a different perspective.
Looking down at the younger you in this old memory, ask yourself these four questions:
1. "Now that I am older, what do I need to understand about this past event that will make it safe for me to let it go?"
2. "What can I learn from this past event that will make it even safer for me to let it go?"
3. "How has/can this experience that my younger self went through made/make me stronger and better for my future?"
4. "What else do I need to know, understand or learn to let that old memory fade into the past where it belongs?"
And if this memory is about the loss of a loved one, you can ask yourself the following:
1. Would my loved one want me to continue to feel negative emotions about this?
2. What would they want me to know from the bottom of their heart?
3. What would they want me to feel?
4. How would they genuinely want me to live from now on?
Do this process multiple times on the same memory if necessary. Each time it will fade more and more.
Once you have let go of the memories, you can focus on creating a clear and compelling vision for your future.
I invite you to take the time to create a vision of your future that excites you. One that feels realistic and compelling. Think it through and write it out.
Create a vision that pulls you forward because of how good it feels at just the thought of achieving it.
Set mini milestones and goals as you work towards actualizing that vision.
And allow yourself to celebrate every time you make progress.
Good luck & best wishes,