Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

They say nobody truly succeeds without acknowledging the past, but what if that past is what holds people back? Often, people find themselves prisoners of their past; when this happens, there’s nothing left to do but start afresh.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself,
unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over,
you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

Why do people struggle to start afresh and let go of past experiences?

Those events have already been done, words said, and their meanings gone. Moving on from them should be easier. When most people quickly forget what they’ve gotten for dinner the day after, shouldn’t it be easier to forget events that have long passed? But more often than not, why do people find themselves enslaved by their past instead?

These are quite a handful of questions, but they all lead to one answer: how people start afresh differs from one person to the other, considering they’ve gone through different things with varying gravity.

Moving on from past events, especially traumatic ones, proves to be a complicated process. It takes more than sleeping them off and hoping glimpses of them don’t show up in the future. They may magically disappear from one’s memory one day, forgotten and buried, but their effect will gradually show up, disrupting people’s lives randomly.

Moving on isn’t a one-step process. It takes a deliberate and tenacious effort.

The First Step for People to Start Afresh

In her autobiographical novel, Cynthia J. Giachino took the high road and honored her vulnerabilities and past struggles. Quiet. Fear. is based on the six decades Giachino battled with trauma and her deepest, darkest fears. It aims to open the minds of her readers to the pains and gains of coping with PTSD and the process of moving on from it.

Among others, Cynthia Giachino empowers those suffering similar pains, reminding them that the pain isn’t perpetual and all it takes is the sheer determination to take the first leap toward healing. And just as how she did, the first step to successfully start afresh is for people to acknowledge their pain.

It’s frightening.

Acknowledging one’s trauma is jumping into open water without knowing if one can stay afloat. It’s opening oneself to two possible endings. There’s the risk of sinking and spiraling back into painful circumstances. The other is the possibility that people may swim back into safety. But either way, the process is both daunting and taxing.

People want to start afresh, forget, and move on with a clean slate. Digging one’s trauma back into the surface appears entirely invalidating and defeating this purpose. However, people must also remember that to forget, they must recognize and call out what they want to forget. And in doing so, they must entangle themselves again with the events they’ve firmly pushed aside.

The Little Steps After the Great Leap

Now that people have acknowledged their need to start afresh comes the more challenging process.

Moving on may have looked frightening before people have taken the leap. But now that they’re closer to the problem, things look terrifying. This causes people to hesitate, but fighting this fear is crucial. This fear must remind people why they’re starting this journey – to free themselves of the shackles and terror holding them back.

It’s intimidating, frightening, and uncomfortable. But this should be how moving on should be; else, they may find themselves basking in the familiarity.

Pain Isn’t Comfortable, and So Is Moving On

When people have been hurting long, this feeling grows on them until they’re familiar with it.

They live with pain, and it becomes an emotion they openly welcome in their homes, entertaining it in their lives. It may sound sadistic or questionable, but pain can feel ordinary when one has been long exposed to it. And this familiarity is often the reason why people find it challenging to start afresh.

However, comfort doesn’t always indicate that one has grown accustomed to the pain. In fact, it can also mean people have long buried the pain until they become less pulsating and more peaceful and comforting. People may have settled with bottling their emotions instead of battling with them. This may feel peaceful, but this will end up hurting people more in the long run.

Ruminating and overthinking may negatively impact people’s lives, but so is indifference. Rather than keeping emotions bottled up, people must find healthier ways of releasing this emotional charge. Acknowledging that they need to start afresh is one step, but letting out these pent-up emotions is another step toward healing.

How Much Are You Spending Moving On?

Once emotions have been expressed and things have settled, it’s time to take accountability. In this discussion, people often mistake it as blaming themselves for what happened. Accountability doesn’t necessarily mean carrying all the burden. Instead, it’s about realizing how much energy people spend moving on and letting go of things nobody controls.

People must take responsibility for the energy they’re spending, not just distract themselves from their past pain. But also the energy they’re directing on remembering the feelings that should be released. When people hold unto this resentment and relive the painful experience, they’re allowing themselves to be imprisoned by their past, keeping themselves stuck in the unfortunate experience. Accountability means empowering oneself and claiming the power to decide where one’s energy is spent. People can choose where they place their hearts and minds into.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This