We’ve all suffered some kind of hurt in the past, whether it was inflicted by our parents, our friends, family, a lover, a teacher, a stranger, somewhere along the line, we’ve all shared this common experience. What’s so disheartening though, is that many of us go our entire lives reliving our past hurts through our present relationships.
I personally saw most of my insecurities coming out in my romantic relationships. Because I wasn’t healed from my past wounds of feeling misunderstood by my parents, feeling neglected and unimportant, I sought out people who reinforced those very same feelings.
The thing is that we tend to subconsciously put ourselves in dynamics similar to that of our upbringing in order to fix or redo past hurts. When we do this, we don’t see that person for who they are, we see them as the perpetrator. I believe that this type of reenactment is so common with lovers because we tend to get the closest to them, developing an attachment similar to that of our caregivers. We can also do this with friends and other people who may light a familiar spark in our hearts.
So what’s the consequence for this type of behavior? A lot of disappointment and an endless search for fulfillment.
Now, I most recently became a believer in finding healing though relationships. However, I believe there needs to be a level of maturity and self-awareness between both partners for this to be accomplished. If not, the same patterns are repeated over and over again.
So how do you stop reliving your past?
Realize that you are not your past, and neither are the people around you. YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST. YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST. YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST. I wish I could engrain this very belief in your mind so that you could see every moment as a brand new moment, and every person as a unique individual. What happened in the past no longer exists in this present moment, yet we live like it’s still happening. Like the time your lover cheated on you and caused you to distrust that entire breed of people. Or when your parent criticized you throughout your life causing you to be just as critical to others. Whatever pain you experienced in the past and have not yet healed, it is being relived in your present moment, whether your projecting it onto people, places, situations or even things.
Self-awareness. This is why I’m a huge advocate for therapy, and why I’m a therapist myself, because this level of introspection allows the unconscious and everything we’ve tucked away for self-protection to surface. We can also practice self-awareness by journaling and reflecting. When we become aware of our patterns,—where they came from and how we try to relive them—we can stop ourselves from making the same mistakes.
Self-compassion. Self-compassion is HUGE in this healing process because it’s so easy to be hard on ourselves for being “broken” in some way. There’s a lot of shame involved in our less than perfect pasts. And when we come to the realization that we’ve projected that pain onto other’s, it doesn’t feel so nice. Because we were hurting, we felt the need to hurt others too. Nobody wants to hurt alone. Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, to others and especially to ourselves. The discoveries you will make about yourself and the people of your past will require a lot of self-compassion. Just remember that.
Present thinking. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I’ve conquered this technique because I haven’t. However, by making the daily effort of discerning my thoughts from what I’m currently experiencing in this very moment, has helped me to really enjoy LIVING. By becoming aware of my past hurts and the feelings that surface in response to them, I can prevent myself from projecting those feelings onto other’s or my current situation. This allows me to see each moment as a precious new one, free from the pricklings of the past. God, I can’t tell you how many experiences I’ve ruined because of my past conditioning, A LOT.
There has been so much freedom in taking responsibility for my own shit because ultimately, I am in control of how I am in this world. Nobody can tell me to feel anything unless I allow their words or actions to penetrate me. I’ve also learned to be compassionate for the people in my past that have inflicted this pain onto me. Why? Because the people that hurt are hurting themselves.
This is a moment to moment practice. We are literally rewiring our brains to unlearn the past and relearn a new way of being. I wish you guys the best of luck. Here for you if you need.