Sometimes the pain and trauma of the events that certain people have afflicted on us, can seem too much to bear. Bitterness, anger, resentment are just some of the negative emotions that can feel like a heavy chain dragging us and reminding us of the hurt they have caused, triggering within us episodes of anger, hurt and frustration. This can lead us to lash out at the World and the people that actually matter to us This pain can affect us in our everyday lives, from difficulty forming relationships, our social lives, to our work, even contributing or potentially causing depression and anxiety. How do we let go? How do we move on in life? How do we forgive and forget?
The thing is- we don’t want to completely forget. Memories are resourceful. It’s about utilising those negative memories to our advantage so that we learn what we need to- add the learnings to our resources and to ‘change’ the event and the negative impact it has on us. It’s about seeing the event from a distance- an observer and ‘changing our perception of it- so that it no longer has that negative impact on us like it did before. When we view an event from a distance, we’re much more able to be objective and less emotionally involved. Once we have changed our visual representation of the negative event we can begin to change how we feel about it. Whilst we can’t ‘forget’ what has happened we can change our internal representation of the event so that it has less of an impact on how we feel and therefore how we act. We can at least accept what has happened and change how we feel about then event. This can help us to forgive and move on with our lives.
One client, Sandra, for example, came to see me as her partner (whom she had loved dearly) had cheated on her with a woman he met at a party. Before this event, they had a loving relationship. Sandra quite naturally, felt betrayed, unable to forgive, unable to trust, angry, and was currently going through a break up with her partner. Through a process of therapy, Sandra was able to learn and observe this experience objectively whilst utilising the resources she had that would help her to ‘let go’ of this negative experience. We worked on changing Sandra’s internal representation of the event so that it has ‘less’ of an emotional impact on Sandra. By doing this, Sandra was able to view the negative event objectively and feel less affected by it. We also worked on metaphorically releasing any residual negative emotions that Sandra still felt about the event. After some sessions of therapy, Sandra finally reached a stage where she felt that she could accept what happened. Sandra was able to move on with her life and focus on her children and herself, I’ m quite pleased to say that Sandra got in touch 6 months later- to state that she was back with her partner and that ‘they were making a go of it’ and things were going very well. She was quite happy to state that they had even manage to sit down and talk about the event in a calm manner without resorting to arguing. Sandra added, that even though she had come to see me for only a small number of issues, she felt that her life had improved in a number of ways. Mainly her confidence- and she felt a lot calmer- which is quite often the case with therapy!
If you would like help with forgiving, ‘letting go’ of the past and ‘moving on with life’ then please feel free to get in touch with a free consultation. There is never any obligation to book a session.
Image by ‘nenetus’ of Freeditigitalstock images.net