Do you have secrets that you haven't told anyone and that you've carried for most of your life? Sometimes we are too embarrassed or ashamed to let anyone know what we have done or maybe what was done to us. Often people carry secrets because they don't want to be rejected or judged by others and anticipate negative reactions. We may not fully trust even those closest to us and prefer to keep everything inside. Our experience with sharing our past choices may have brought unforgiving and negative responses. Of course we need to be selective in our sharing, but often carrying secrets gives them power and negative energy that can affect other aspects of life. Often in my practice, people share things that they've never shared before and recognize that it's a safe place to open up. Sometimes people blame themselves for things in their past even when they had limited resources or ability to change the outcome. We all have something from our past that lingers, but how do we let it go?
Occasionally people will share trauma from their past in my office because they can't forgive either themselves or others. They may also choose to hang on to the past so they can justify their present actions or behaviors. For example, hanging onto anger or hurt may allow a person to avoid commitment, vulnerability, and/or emotional intimacy. Their unresolved pain often prevents them from trusting others and deepening their connections. Certainly it is more difficult to let go of negative emotions and conflicts from the past without full knowledge, understanding, or acknowledgement from those who contributed to the pain. But even though there may not be a logical or understandable explanation for what happened to them, often naming the pain and identifying the trauma moves a person closer towards healing and resolution. Healing doesn't begin until the conflicts are acknowledged even if it's only with a professional. It takes great courage to confront past trauma and pain.
Professionally, I find that my clients experience emotional healing from writing about the pain, sharing it with someone, and seeking closure to the past trauma. Some prefer to wait until the person who caused the pain apologizes or at least acknowledges some responsibility, but that only gives the offenders more power and keeps you stuck. When we bring our past hurts or secrets to light with safe and trustworthy people it helps us move towards healing. Sometimes talking about our past hurts stirs up emotions that we've worked on repressing and denying, but working with a professional can enable healing, resolution, and closure to issues that may have been buried for years. Time alone doesn't heal wounds, but confronting the pain and shifting our mindset and actions can make a big difference. Living with past hurts, secrets, and trauma can be very isolating and depressing. Whether you seek professional help, lean on your faith, work toward forgiveness, journal your feelings, and/or channel your grief into positive outlets, trust that there is power in acknowledging our pain.