Let Go Of That Emotional Pain
Let Go Of That Emotional Pain
Dear Tacit,

I have been hurt by quite a few people in my life. How can I learn to let go of the pain I still carry with me?

Signed: Let Go Of That Emotional Pain

Dear: Let Go Of That Emotional Pain

Emotional injuries can be as damaging and as scarring as physical injuries – even worse, in some situations. We all have emotional baggage that we carry around with us, even just for short periods of time (even if we are unaware of it). The trick is to become aware of it (sooner rather than later), so we can deal with it and let it go. Not for the sake of the person who hurt us (in fact, they likely have let go of the situation long before we have) – but for our own mental wellness and peace.

Here are some strategies that may help you let go of that emotional pain:

Acknowledge and Accept: Recognize and accept that you have been hurt. Don’t sweep it under the rug – avoid minimizing or suppressing your emotions. It’s necessary to feel the pain if you are going to move through that wound and feel better.

Express Your Emotions: Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Don’t keep them bottled up – and don’t ruminate (over think, or spin your wheels just thinking about how you feel). Expressing your emotions outwardly can be cathartic and provide a sense of relief. This could be done by talking to a friend or family member; out loud, to yourself; or to a group of strangers that share a common experience. It can also be done through the process of therapeutic journalling.

Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. You may not have handled the situation as well as you wish you had – but in the moment, you did your best. Understand that everyone makes mistakes, including yourself. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a friend in a similar situation.

Forgiveness: Consider forgiveness as a way to release yourself from the burden of holding onto resentment. “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. It is not accepting what happened to you or that it was okay for it to happen to you. It is accepting that it HAS happened to you. And letting go of the hope that it could somehow be any different” (a quote from Oprah Winfrey that I just really love). It allows you to let go of the negative emotions associated with the hurt.

Set Boundaries: If the source of your emotional hurt is an ongoing situation or relationship, establish clear and healthy boundaries. This might involve limiting contact with certain individuals or creating emotional distance. It’s okay to reframe the connection in a way that is healthiest for your needs (not keep it the way that works best for the other person).

Focus on the Present: Practice mindfulness and stay in the present moment. Bring your thoughts back to your current situation, if you find yourself wandering back to a past memory. Dwelling on past hurts can keep you stuck. Focus on who you are now/how things are now and what you can control. Decide what strengths you have now that you will carry forward with you so you can work towards a positive future (and become the version of yourself that feels healthy and free from the pain).

Learn and Grow: Find the lessons to learn from the experience. Growth often comes from overcoming challenges. Use the opportunity to develop resilience and self-awareness. Focus your thoughts on your growth and wisdom instead of on the hurt and loss – your emotions will follow.
Engage in Self-Care: Take care of your physical and emotional well-being. Exercise, proper nutrition, hydration and good quality sleep will positively impact your mood and resilience.

Release Rituals: Consider symbolic acts or rituals to signify letting go. This could be a conversation you have with the person who has hurt you – or a letter writing activity that allows you to express your emotions (you will likely not send the letter – you can burn or shred it instead, symbolizing the release).

Seek Professional Help: If the emotional hurts are deep or significantly affecting your daily life, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. Therapy can provide additional tools and support for healing.

Allowing ourselves to let go of that emotional pain we have perhaps been pushing away for a while is a process, and it often takes time. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way. The connection you had with the person who hurt you took time to build – and so will the letting go of that emotional connection, if it is done in a healthy way.

Take care!

Have a question? Please feel free to reach out to us at counsellors@tacitknows.com. Your answer will be provided confidentially. 

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