Memories cannot be erased. And unfortunately, the negative memories stand out more than the positive ones. That’s how our brains are structured.
One of the techniques in therapy, is to look together with your therapist at some negative memories. While it can help sometimes to reflect together, and feel understood, there is another big reason why talking about past negative experiences can help: if you and your therapist can create a safe, calm atmosphere to discuss these memories, then you will create a new memory! This new memory will be of looking at the past calmly, safely, and with support. This will introduce a way to practice being with your memories in a new way – you don’t have to avoid them, or block them out. You can let the memories come, but when you keep looking at them in this safe, supported environment, the memories will lose their power to harm you or upset you. You will become stronger and more resilient, and you will gain the skill to face your memories calmly.
Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it. (Excerpt from Lion King, Disney)
It can sometimes be liberating to physically let go of objects which symbolize painful times from the past. Humans have often created rituals of this sort to help them let go, or to help the grieving process. So if there is an object that you feel ready to let go of, which reminds you of a traumatic time from the past, then it can sometimes help to let it go, such as by adding it to a fireplace or a campfire. It is a symbolic letting go which can make it easier to do the psychological letting go.
Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. (C. S. Lewis)
You may encounter people in your present life who behave in a negative manner. This could remind you in some ways of negative experiences you had in the past. It is important to practice an empathic stance. Resist the urge to react in a negative way yourself… the most powerful thing to do in these situations is to always practice your empathy, to recognize that in many situations these people are having a bad day, or have had an unhealthy life. With empathy, it becomes easier to shrug your shoulders, and let these situations go. You would also gain peace, which you deserve to have.
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. (Samuel Johnson)
Affirmation: I enrich my life when I practice having empathy for difficult people and when I practice letting go.