Dealing With Life’s Hurts: 10 Ways to Face The Past and Move On

Let’s be honest, life if hard. I don’t know anyone who has not been hurt in life. It’s inevitable, as long as you live on this planet, you are going to get hurt.

Dealing with life’s hurts, and learning how to move on is a difficult task, yet it is the only way to find true peace and freedom.

What are some of the things that hurt us in life?

  • Poor parenting
  • Neglect
  • Rejection
  • Abandonment
  • Abuse
  • Criticism
  • Broken relationships
  • Failure
  • Bullying
  • Betrayal
  • No support
  • Loss of a loved one

How do people usually deal with life’s hurts?

One of 2 ways:

  • Deny them
  • Face them

Denial is very common, people do not want to deal with their past hurts. The perceived pain is too much for them to bear, and they think they won’t be able to cope. Facing past hurts can be painful, and overwhelming too, so it makes logical sense to avoid it. It’s safer.

But, stuffing your emotions does not work either. They’re still there, only hidden away. So denial, although it is comfortable in the short term, it will have more damaging consequence long term.

Face them – this is the better option. It is better to face the pain and learn what it’s all about, and train your brain to say, “hey! I’m an adult now, I can cope with this.” As a child, I could not cope with such rejection, abandonment, or abuse, but now I know what to do. I am not a victim, I have choices today.

As children, we were afraid to stand up for ourselves, because our very existence depended upon pleasing our caregivers. We were not independent and didn’t understand what was going on.

Often parents and caregivers were dealing with their own issues and were probably not aware of how their behaviour was impacting you as a child, but if you were sensitive and absorbed a lot of their stress and pain, it probably damaged your emotions.

Others were victims of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, abandonment, or rejection. Forgetting it seems like the best thing to do. At least life goes on and you don’t have to think about it, but unfortunately, this is not how human beings work.

Any hurts that you have incurred in your life, will show up in one way or another, making it difficult for you to live a peaceful, happy, fulfilling life. They show up in your reactions and behaviour.

Your relationships will be affected, either you will be drawn to abusive people and think that that is somehow okay, or you will avoid intimacy altogether to avoid ever being hurt again. Both options are harmful to you and keeping you in a place of pain.

If you don’t deal with the hurts in your life, they will deal with you.

For example:

  • you’ll find yourself in abusive relationships
  • you won’t feel you have the right to say no, because you’ve had no practice at it
  • your pain will get worse
  • you will get physically sick – most cancers stem from unhealed resentments or hurts
  • your life will lack joy, purpose, and meaning
Other possible side effects of not dealing with life’s hurts:
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Ulcers
  • Migraines
  • Cancer
  • Polymyalgia
  • Fibermyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Interpersonal challenges

I’m Afraid To Look At My Hurts

People are often afraid to look at their childhood wounds because of what they might find. It may open a whole can of worms, and they think their life could fall apart if they begin to look. This is the fear, if I go deeper, I will find ugly things that I have wiped from my memory.

These are realistic fears, it will stir up your emotions if you start digging up the past. I’m not a fan of looking for things to dig up. I’m more interested in how you are today and where you want to be in the future. But, unfortunately, if you want to heal, you will have to look back at the painful parts that are keeping you stuck, so you can go forward.

Life is short and digging up the past is time consuming and I would have to wonder if it really works? (perhaps for some), but it’s not the work of a coach to go back, we always look forward.

In coaching, we deal with issues as they arise. For instance, if something from your past is blocking you from going forward today, we examine it.

You can work on it with a coach and if the issues are too deep and sensitive, then you may need to take some time to work on that specific issue with a counsellor.

How are you feeling today?

Are you happy?

Do you have the life you want?

Do you feel stuck?

Are there obstacles in your way, preventing you from moving forward?

Is there a hurtful relationship or situation  that you are currently struggling with?

Are you confused?

Are you feeling angry, bored, irritable or lonely?

Do you feel a bit dead?

The Walking Dead

Sadly, many people today are dead, the lights are on but no one is home. They are just going through the motions of life. They go through life dead, go to school dead, then college, then get married dead, buy a house dead, and even raise a family dead.

You would wonder how they do it, but they do. They are living unconsciously. They haven’t ever taken the time to get to know who they are and why they exist.

There is no life in what they do and they don’t even know that they are dead. The world needs an Awakening!

St Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, teaches the church how to walk in the light of Christ and anyone who is not walking in the light, walks in darkness. In other words, they are dead (spiritually dead).

“Awake, O Sleeper, rise up from the dead and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:14

In the gospel of Luke 9:60, Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead,” in response to a disciple who wanted to spend time at home before committing himself to the Lord. Jesus said, “Follow me.’ But the man replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:59–60).

This man wanted to go home to carry out his duty and obligation within his family, but Jesus was saying, there are plenty spiritually dead people who can bury your father, come with me as this work is more important.

You might think, this is wrong. We must honour the family, but not ahead of doing the work of God. This is the higher work to continue to serve Jesus. Yes, Jesus expects this kind of commitment, so it’s time for you to wake up and live the spiritual life that you have been called to. If family is your God, you need to think again, for even Jesus did not put his family first.

When you are needed in your family, The Lord will make that clear to you. It’s about priorities. It is right to care for your family, but it is also right to lead them and show them how to follow God, and put their trust in Him.

10 Ways To Deal With Life’s Hurts

1. Awareness – this sounds so easy, but you would be surprised just how many people live in denial, simply not acknowledging their past hurts. There’s an expression amongst therapists – if you can’t feel it, you can’t heal it. You must be willing to examine your life.

2. Talk about it – share how you feel with a friend, counsellor, or coach. Get all the support you need. There are many different support groups that can help you depending on your need. You can see a professional counsellor, coach, or therapist.

talk to someone about your hurts

Sometimes you might need more intense support, especially if you are in a lot of emotional pain, or perhaps confused. A therapist will reflect back to you your reality, as we often get confused in our thinking when emotionally disturbed.

3. Educate yourself – it’s amazing how many people struggle with painful life issues, but do nothing to learn more about it. We are living in the information age, so we have no excuse for not finding out more about dealing with our issues. There are hundreds of self-help books, videos, groups, and professionals to help us deal with our hurts.

4. Journal – journaling is one of the greatest ways to work on yourself. I have done this for years, and it’s a lifesaver because there isn’t always someone to discuss your feelings with, but by journaling, you just need to write how you feel on paper. Don’t hold back! Don’t edit your writing, this is not for the public, this is for you to express and release your pent up emotions. Try it!

5. Pray – I don’t know where you are on your spiritual journey, but if you are reading this blog, you might believe in God. The spiritual path is not a race and we certainly should not compete, although even Jesus’ disciples used to compete, but Jesus put them straight.

When you come to understand that God is who He says he is, you won’t want to compete, because we all have blind spots and God doesn’t mind showing them to us.

In other words, you will be humbled, so better to humble yourself first. Pray simple prayers and let the spirit of God lead you into a deeper, richer prayer life.

6. Love yourself – practice good self-care every day. Observe how you care for yourself. Do you neglect yourself in any way? Do you abuse your body with unhealthy food or addictive substances? Do you overwork, leaving yourself exhausted?

Develop new rituals every day that are loving. For example, speak positive, encouraging words to yourself every day, organize your day so that you feel productive. Be careful who you spend time with. Surround yourself with people who make you feel better.

7. Forgive – you must remember, you forgive for YOU. If you have been wronged or abused in any way, you have every right to feel hurt and angry. Forgiveness does NOT mean you return to that relationship if they have not changed their behaviour. If they have not changed their abusive ways, you are just going to get hurt again, right?

So, do what you can to distance yourself from that person. If you live in the same house and for some reason, you can’t move out, then set boundaries within that house. You can have your own room etc.

8. Let Go – letting go is hard. It has to begin with a decision. You must ask yourself, what am I gaining by holding onto this pain? Is it serving me? Does the other person even care that I am hurting? Usually, they don’t care. If you don’t let go, you will end up living in limbo – stuck between the past and the future. Holding on always hurts you, never the abuser.

9. Move on  –  ask yourself, what are the reasons that I absolutely must move on from this?  Often we think we’ve let go, but then we find ourselves ruminating over the situation again. If the person is still in your head, then they still have power over you.

Take control of your life. Start by focusing on what you want and not what you don’t want. Learn to focus on love, joy, peace, balance, harmony and flow. Soon, the thoughts of going back will repel you.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

10. Choose joy – you are now on the other side and you have let go!! Ahhhh, breathe in that freedom 🙂 This is where your new life begins. You will feel lighter and more hopeful. You can send love, peace, and blessings to all those who hurt you in the past and start to enjoy what’s left of your life.

Letting Go

Letting go is not as easy as it sounds, so I don’t take it lightly. Any of you out there who have had the courage to let go of your painful past, well done! I am so proud of you.

I have just come through a process of letting go of my past hurts which was very painful for me and I don’t think I would have chosen to look at it only I had an encounter with an abusive person recently, who really was quite sweet and charming on the surface, so following that experience I felt led to examine my past hurts.

Letting Go is Difficult

I didn’t enjoy it, but I know it was God’s way of leading me into more freedom, peace, and joy. Letting go is painful because, to heal our past hurt, we have to acknowledge it first and revisit the pain.  As I was revisiting the painful experiences in my past, I was taken back to how it felt, and believe me, it was hard.

Although I was aware that this was just a process and that I was not going to have to experience it again, I still felt the sadness and loneliness of it, and more importantly the injustice. I also had an underlying fear that I was going backward and that I might get stuck in this place. It was exhausting!

Letting go of emotional pain is a tiring process. It’s hard to believe how we cling so tightly to our pain. Let me explain the process as I’ve been studying it while also experiencing it. But, bear in mind this is not the first letting go process I have been through. I’d say this is the final one and if any of if comes back, I now know how to quickly deal with it. I have the tools now and I want to share them with you too.

3 Steps To Letting Go Of Your Past Hurts

1. Accept Your Past

Accept that your pain is preventing you from living a fulfilling life and it is depleting your energy. Accept that you are finding it difficult to let go of the pain from your past. Ask God  / your Higher Power to help you. It takes courage to let go. It is not an easy task and those who do it are the strong ones. It is not a weakness to forgive and let go.

We hold on tightly to our pain for a reason. We must believe somewhere that it is helping us. This is where you need to go deeper and ask yourself, what am I gaining from holding on to the pain? Usually, the child in us (the inner child) thinks that if I hold on to my pain, I am staying safe, that it is protecting me in some way and no one can ever hurt me again.

We also believe that if I let go and forgive the people who hurt me, that I am somehow condoning it, but this is not true either. What forgiveness says is, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I’m going to forgive you anyway.” You are not a doormat or a fool,  no, you are doing this for YOU – to set YOU free.

2. Share Your Story

Express your pain to supportive people in your life or a trained professional, someone who understands the healing process. This will free up some of the strong emotions to help you to use your adult, healthy mind to co-operate with the process. You must remember, the wounded inner child does not want to let go as it’s afraid.

When I say the inner child, what I mean is that part of your mind that stays stuck in the past and is still thinking like a child, and because it is wounded, it is afraid of change. It would rather stay stuck in negative feelings rather than take the risk of letting go and moving into the unknown.

3. Don’t Be A Victim

Take personal responsibility for your part in it. Yes, you were the one that was hurt and you have every right to feel justified in being angry or resentful (I know, I was the same :)). It is true, you were wronged and what they did to you was unfair, but the part you need to take personal responsibility for is to not hold on to it anymore. You are not a victim of it, but rather a survivor.

Being a survivor is a much more empowering position to be in and at the same time, you are not forgetting or minimising the hurtful actions of others. Accept that it happened and that you are powerless over the past, but you are not powerless over your future.

So, you accept it fully and make a decision to let it go. Then, look at all your gifts and talents and focus on building a positive future. Where do you begin? You begin right here and now – in the present moment. You only have today, so choose to be happy, choose to be prosperous and healthy. Choose life!

Dealing with life’s hurts is a painful process, but you can rest assured, you are not alone. Everyone was hurt in some way, by someone. It is always wise to seek help if it’s causing you problems in your life today.

If you decide to face your past, you won’t regret it as it will free you up inside and restore you to your natural, happy self, so you can enjoy life again.

Condition yourself towards a more positive mindset. Set your mind on higher things and train yourself to feel powerful, joyful, energetic, loving, and whatever else you feel called to be each day.