post by Jen Bebb, co-founder of What If the Conference.
Past hurts haunt us. They stalk us in the dark and creep into our lives. We do not know they are there until they have entrenched themselves so deeply in our souls that we cannot shake them loose. In our unguarded moments, they infiltrate all aspects of our current life, coloring emotion with their sadness/anger/regret until we no longer separate then from now. At times we see them clearly for what they are and squish them back down where we think they belong, but that merely increases their power and causes us more pain.
We must pull our hurts and regrets out into the light and give them the attention they deserve. They are important and they can exist alongside all the good and positivity we also have. They simply want to know you remember them, that you acknowledge their existence, that you are willing to every-so-often be consumed by them, that you never forget about them. If you can do that, if you can embrace the sadness/anger/fear/regret/doubt of a moment that reframed you, you can also embrace to joy/potential/certainty/hope of your present and/or future.
It is when we hide the darkness in an even darker place that it thrives, it cannot grow in the light. It will not go away, nor should it, it is part of you, but it must be tamed and put into the context of a whole life. One moment should never define you – you are a whole person, living millions of moments, each with the potential for something incredible. Do not allow yourself to wallow in what might have been, or what was, rather embrace your past, love it with all that you have, for it made you who you are today. Hold it tight as you would an injured child, then let it go when it starts to squirm. Before you know it, it will hurt less, demand less of your attention and exist alongside hope and happiness.
You can do this, ______, I believe in you. You have the capacity and intelligence to understand what you are doing. You recognize it in others and know just how to help them. Help yourself – love yourself. Know that you deserve happiness and joy and know that you will only get that when you choose it.