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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disempower Pain From Your Past

There are many articles that address the issue of pain in one's past, and that it needs to be disempowered. I imagine we probably all agree on that.

Many, however, misunderstand this, and believe that it means that past pain, or, the memories of the past pain, need to be erased, forgotten, done away with, in order for the pain to be disempowered.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

No matter how much I insist that you erase those memories, or that you forget them, or that you push them somewhere very far away from your conscious attention, they continue to be there.

Do you forget something just because you want to? Erase it just because you feel your life would be better if it were no longer in your memories? It doesn't work that way, does it?

So here's what I (and others) recommend: keep the memories. They will always be there. But disempower them by taking away the energetic charge you get when you think about them. That is something you can do simply by deciding to do it.

Let's say you begin to think about something painful from the past ... your parents were emotionally abusive to you and favored your younger sibling. That is a fact. That can not be changed. What can be changed is what you think and cause yourself to feel as you remember.

So you begin to have the painful feelings as you remember, and you can take these steps:
  • remember to be aware, so that when the feelings come, you are in a position to say to yourself:
  • this is a memory
  • it hurt when it happened
  • it has hurt dozens, or even hundreds of times since then, whenever I think of it
  • since having the memory always gives me the same results (pain), I could potentially choose to do something different this time
  • I could choose to do something physical (get oxygen into my system to raise the serotonin levels in me and hence feel a bit better)
  • or I could choose (instead of going into the pain) to think of five things for which I am grateful (gratitude causes us to come to the present, to the NOW more readily and easily than any other practice. If we are in the present, we aren't thinking about the pain from the past).
  • as I begin to make new choices, and as I begin to realize that I may not feel like jumping up and down for joy, but I do feel much better than I normally do when I think about that memory, I begin to also realize that the way I feel about that memory appears to be in my hands. In other words, I can choose how to feel.
So: don't deny the memories, but begin to disempower the pain by making new choices each time by remaining aware so that you are actually in a position to be able to make those choices.

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