Letting Go of Pains from the Past by Learning the Lessons They Teach

08/30/2016 11:22 am ET Updated Sep 01, 2016

Do you still think about all those sins that others committed against you? Are those angry and bitter and hurt feelings still present in your mind, bringing you down into the depths of despair or letting that bitterness consume you day after day?

Perhaps it’s all in how you perceive it. When we are in the midst of the storm, it’s hard to see the lesson. Days later, even years, we can sometimes see the silver lining, the faint glimmer of hope in that sadness or loss or experience that we thought we’d never heal from.

The following 5 examples are life experiences and lessons they teach that can maybe offer you a different way of looking at it:

1. Your father beat the crap out of you for the first 10 years of your life before he left.

You might still be filled with hate, resentment and pain from all those years he forced hate onto you. You could continue to hate him, which isn’t good for you physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, and probably doesn’t even affect him, or you could try to understand that maybe he came from worse abuse than you did, was never shown love, was cast out, and you might come to pity him, as he will probably never know what real love is. You could break the pattern of abuse and neglect by bettering your parenting skills because of and in spite of your parent. You can learn what NOT to do. That’s not the correct way to behave and never the right way to treat a child. The right way to treat children, and all people, is with love, understanding, compassion, forgiveness and celebration. Yes, you discipline, but you do it with love, not out of anger. He taught you that children are to be loved and celebrated. That includes your inner child. Love yourself. You deserve it. And so do your children.

2. As a child, your mother never protected you, even after you told her someone touched you.

You may not get this lesson until many years later but the first step in dealing with pain someone else caused you is to try to understand how they were raised. Maybe your mom was not protected by her parents. Maybe she wasn’t shown love growing up. Perhaps it was never taught nor instilled in her that you protect your children fiercely. Many of us learn from various lessons throughout our lives. Some of us never learn. Some mothers are just not proactive mothers. That’s not a reflection of who you are. You deserve protection. You deserve to be fought for. You learn to forgive her. She taught you some very valuable lessons, one being that you will protect your child like a mean Mama Bear and there will be hell to pay if anyone ever so much as lays a fingernail on your bear cub. And you fight for yourself, too.

3. Your doctor touched you inappropriately when you were 12.

There are no excuses when someone hurts a child. There can be no good explanation or reasoning behind ever doing something like this. However, there is always a lesson behind everything. Even if it is simply to teach you that there is evil in the world, you must do whatever you must to protect yourself. And when you become a parent, you go with your child into the room with the doctor. No if’s, and’s or but’s on this one! You go in there with your child! You may be thinking, “Oh, he’s a friend of the family.” or “I work for him. I can trust him.” or “He’s like an uncle to her.” No. You be present in that room with your child. This jackass taught you that just because someone seems or should be trustworthy does not mean they actually are. And this goes for doctors, chiropractors, pastors, preachers, nurses, your next door neighbor, your uncle, your brother, and the list goes on.

4. When you were 14, you spent the night at a friend’s house and you woke to her older brother fondling you.

You lived with this, never to tell anyone, because you knew no one would do anything about it. But you learned something from this, didn’t you? You learned to be extremely discriminating when it came time to allow your child to spend the night at someone’s house. And just because you are good friends with the family of where your child is having a sleepover does not mean that the parent of that other child does not have his/her name and photo listed with the state’s sex offenders. True story. You can never be too careful! Lessons here? Stay up-to-date on sex offenders in your area. Be careful who you trust to look after your child. And if there's another teenager in the house, you might want to invite your child's friend to your house instead.

5. Growing up, you were told you’d never amount to anything and you aren’t special.

They lied. Grown-ups lie. People of all ages tell lies. They are most likely forcing onto you what they have experienced in their own lives. You amount to more than you know. You are special and one-of-a-kind and no one can be the glorious wonder that you are. And don’t take my word for it. Know it for yourself. Feel it. Not only know it, but teach that to your children. Every child needs and deserves to be loved, celebrated and to feel beautiful, smart, funny, talented, creative and wanted/needed. There are so many lessons here. No matter how someone has treated you, God made you because he needed you. We are each special in our own unique ways and we each make the world a better place, if we use our powers for good. Many use their powers for evil. What will you choose?

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