HOW TO COPE WITH PAINFUL MEMORIES

Painful memories.

Photos of bad memories

They have a nasty habit of resurfacing, and sometimes, even at the most unlikely of times.

Many things can trigger it:

A sight.

A sound.

A smell.

A phrase.

A person.

There are others.

Have you tried suppressing it? If you’re like me and have tried on numerous occasions, you’ll know that this doesn’t work. Not speaking about it or pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t make the situation simply go away. Suppression is a form of self-denial that festers under the surface. Previously, I was acquainted with this scenario enough to know that it runs riot in your subconscious and impacts adversely on your personality and decision-making. Worst of all, it won’t stay quietly underground for long. It will seep through the cracks and demand its moment in the sun.

So give in to it…

Yes, you read correctly!

But on YOUR OWN TERMS.

How??

1. Acknowledge what happened

Bring it to the forefront of your mind. Address it by speaking to trusted and non-judgmental family members and friends, even counsellors if you have to. However, if you can’t bring yourself to communicate with anyone, get a notebook to write in. How did that negative situation make you feel and why?  Leave nothing out – nothing is trivial if it is having a detrimental impact on living your life happily.  This is the first part of the healing process.

2.  Access that raw emotion (safely!)

Respect your emotions. It is only natural that you may feel grief, anguish, anger, hurt, loss etc. If you have not attempted to deal with it before, then this may be just as raw as when the original situation occurred. In cases such as these, your emotions seek acknowledgement that this situation happened. Embrace your feelings and channel them into something positive to neutralise that negativity.  Maybe try exerting yourself physically, like going to the gym or working-out, going on walks, doing yoga or meditation. In fact, anything that safely calms you down and is not harmful to others is a good option.

3. Tame it

It may seem impossible now, but the passage of time can actually cause these emotions attached to memories to subside. But you can make this process occur faster. Think back on your experience. What has it taught you? For example, one particularly negative memory I have has taught me to have a greater respect for my intuition rather than ignore it, as well as to make others earn my trust rather than giving it freely. Believe me, there is always a lesson that you can take away, even from the cruellest of experiences. Write that lesson down and put it somewhere that you can find easily should the memory resurface. Looking back on the lesson will gradually lessen the sting until it becomes bearable.

These steps are not a quick-fix. They take time, however, how long it takes depends on you.

And how do you know when you’ve been successful?

When you can think back on a negative memory and not be emotionally affected by it anymore.

Congratulations in advance!

 

Credits: Original Picture by GraphicStock

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