5 Steps To Dismantle and Release Pain from the Past

img_8701Each and every one of us go through experiences in life that have generated feelings of pain, hurt, turmoil, sadness, anger,  frustration, loss or anything of the like. Experiencing such feelings is an inevitable part of life, however allowing them to impact you adversely or remain stored within your subconsious is optional.  In order to let go of our past and free ourselves from any harbored pain, hurt, etc. we must consciously move through a series of steps as to completely process our experiences and hence forever free us from any potential detrimental attachments and allow our whole being to be cleansed and subsequently soar on in total freedom.

Have you ever wondered why some past experiences are long gone without a second thought and some seem to creep in to our present consciousness from time to time in a nagging or even haunting way? The difference is in the processing of the experience – as processing allows for emotional completion, for the complete and total dismantling of negative emotions and subsequent ability to easily and fully let go and move on, more wise and evolved than before. The following steps allow you to process your life’s experiences.

These 5 steps include:

  1. Facing each situation and its details in full with no resistance – declare that you accept this circumstance as a moment in/part of your journey (Acceptance vs. Resistance).
  2. Feel the feelings of pain, hurt, sadness, etc. for a short amount of time.
  3. Fully forgiving the situation and any and all involved.
  4. Feeling love, appreciation, and compassion.
  5. Release our hold, let go, and completely move on facing forward.

When I say “past” I do mean any timeframe, be it 5 minutes ago, 5 years ago, or 50 years ago. This practice is extraordinarily powerful and helpful to move through any and all experiences – no matter when they occurred, or no matter how seemingly severe or trivial.

A paramount truth for you to digest upon beginning:

Nothing in the past makes you any lesser of a person!


Any and everything in the past exists for one reason: to teach you and add to your wisdom and intended personal evolution. If anything, all elements of the past ADD to the brilliant masterpiece that makes up the Whole YOU.

As you move along your journey – you are ALWAYS WHOLE AND COMPLETE: nothing can disturb this inherent and magnificent truth – no words, actions, or circumstances can take anything away from you, ever. You are whole and absolutely complete.

Yes, this process can be incredibly unpleasant and challenging sometimes, which is why many people either consciously or unconsciously choose to bury or run from these negative feelings in hopes that they will simply go away. However, doing this is exceptionally detrimental to our well-being. Burying or running from negative feelings does not get rid of them…it allows them to grow. This happens gradually, over a long period of time, on a subconscious level. Throughout this detrimental process, this energy is silently eating away at us, stealing our vitality and life force as a source of sustenance. These smoldering, hidden attachments can also present themselves in our present as projection onto someone else. As is stated by Diana Kenney in “Tempering Stormy Emotions”,

“I have observed how people react to situations from the perspective of their memories…most disputes are the result of people reacting in the present to feelings and experiences from the past.”

This harbored pain also serves as the foundations for the development of false, limiting subconscious core beliefs, which shape all aspects of our life intrinsically and extrinsically. The topic of reformulating our false core beliefs is an entirely different article all its own, but when we harbor past pain, it begins to dominate our present life because it is the basis for various beliefs that we have formed as a result of experiencing and holding onto this circumstance. There are endless examples of how this happens. Let’s say someone has a relative that is extremely critical of them, unjustifiably, starting in childhood. This person feels hurt by their relative, upset that they are receiving such negative treatment. “I must have done something to deserve this,” they naively and innocently think (unaware at the time that the behavior on the part of their relative is caused by that person’s own harbored pain and turmoil being projected outwardly onto someone else). This person proceeds to grow up, and has no contact with this relative but they never partook in the steps to release the pain that was brought about by this behavior. As a result, this person has formed the subconscious belief that they are not good enough, and deserve to be treated poorly (the specific core beliefs/interpretations that are formulated completely depend on the person). They then lead their life to fit this belief, limiting themselves left and right because they feel unworthy. When viewed from an outside perspective, clearly this person does not deserve to feel this way, nor are their beliefs justified or founded in truth, as OF COURSE they deserve to be treated well, and OF COURSE they are worthy of a happy life – this is their birthright! But this person can not and will not see this as long as they are still harboring this past pain…which by the time they are an adult has grown to hold a tremendous amount of power in influencing the way they view themselves, the world, and how they sculpt their life!

As is made clear here, these consequences are not in our best-interests and do not serve us on our journeys of development, growth, and attainment of emotional freedom. These hidden attachments can negatively impact our present perspective, even without conscious awareness. You deserve to live your life in the present…happily, freely, and aware, however unconsciously holding on to past pain will starve you of this right.

As with any practice or exercise, this will appear and feel difficult at first, but as you move through your journey with conscious awareness in applying these steps to your present, lived experience, this will all become much easier and evenutally, when applied with persistance, will become your default way of life. 

1) As a means of liberating oneself from the potential adverse consequences of holding on to past hurts, one must develop the courage to face the pain head on. This is obligatory. Here is a wonderfully worded description of the necessary process of facing our hurts:

“When there’s a fresh wound in your heart, keep it open until it heals. Air it out. Understand it. Dive into it. Be fierce enough to become it. If you ignore it, it won’t be able to breathe. If you ignore it, it will merely deepen, spread, and resurface later, wanting to release. And when later happens it will hurt even more, because when later happens, you won’t know what you’re bleeding for. Remain with it until it clears, and watch the beauty pour into your openness. Remain open to feel lightness. Remain open to feel free.”

-Victoria Erickson

Loving yourself means taking care of yourself in every way, and sometimes this is unpleasant. Think of it like this…when you love someone, you extend yourself for them. You compromise, and sometimes you do things that you are uncomfortable doing because you know it will help your loved one. You, yourself, are no different. You must love and nurture yourself just as you do those around you, and sometimes that involves some tough challenges.

Once you have brought yourself to the space of fully facing the circumstance, intrinsically or out loud, declare that you accept this circumstance with no resistance. For example, one could state, “I accept that this happened and I am open to the lessons it has provided. This was a moment of my journey for which I am now moving forward. I fully accept this in every way.” Develop your dialogue to suit what will resonate with you the most, yet the most important component is to focus on feeling full and total acceptance for everything that is a part of the circumstance you are moving forward from. Acceptance vs. Resistance provides further explanation to this extremely significant process.

2) Next, and just for a bit, feel the feelings that originally maturated with the unfolding of the circumstance you are working to release. Allow the feeling – be it sadness, pain, hurt, anger, frustration, confusion, worry – to come into your mind and your heart. Make friends with the feeling and proclaim that you are not this feeling…that the feeling is free to move through and away from you…dissipated with your deliberate intent.

I can assure you that you will not keel over as a result of facing your pains. It will not be fun, but it will be overwhelmingly worth it. Just as Erickson so eloquently stated, “watch the beauty pour into your openness” and “remain open to feel free”. With the sheer intent to release your past pains and the deliberate act of facing and feeling them, you are dismantling their power, and moving closer to full release. As you move through this terrain, remain aware of how you are feeling and do not stop when the going gets tough…keep at it.

3) Following your intentional and courageous confrontation of the circumsance and truly feeling the feelings that resulted, the next step is to FORGIVE. At first, your ego/judge will tell you that this is not right! That you are completely justified in feeling however you feel because you are right and the other person is wrong. Or you could feel resistance toward yourself because of a past mistake thinking, “How could I have done that! What was I thinking!?” Or if it was a traumatic event that did not involve any other people, your mind may respond with thoughts such as “this happened to me and it is not fair…” Work to silence this chatter, because that is what it is, chatter.

Bring yourself to that moment in peace and feel the total feelings of forgiveness within you…let these warm and relieving feelings saturate you…keep them with you in your heart and your mind. Forgive yourself if you feel as though you had made a mistep of some kind, and/or forgive someone else if you feel there was pain and hurt that was attempted to be brought upon you by another. If it was a traumatic event that did not involve other people, forgive the situation itself. Regardless of the circumstance – open your heart and connect to your True Self (Unleash Your TRUE SELF!)…the core part of your heart and soul that always sees the bigger picture and easily and fully forgives. Feel the feelings of forgiveness with the full understandning that everyone is on their own path, living their own truth and we are not obligated to approve of nor understand their path. For the sake of ourselves, however, we are obligated to forgive anything that we may have found unwelcome. Forgive with the consciousness that your life is always unfolding to serve you, even though that may be very difficult to comprehend in the moment.

Notice above that I stated “pain or hurt that was attempted to be brought upon you“. Just because someone says or does something that is disrespectful, dishonest, hurtful, mean, crass, tactless, overly critical, or anything of the like does not mean that you have to allow this to impact you in any way! It is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE as to allow someone to project their shadow upon you, and you may make the choice to dissallow this from happening, it is entirely up to you. That is, to dissallow any outside influence at all to impact how you are feeling. This is emotional freedom, as you are the master of your own inner world and you ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE.

You are the custodian of your own well-being. 

Any words, behaviors, or energies put forth by someone that could be considered crass, ill-mannered, rude, disrespectful, abusive, dishonest, hurtful, etc. are a demonstration of imbalance within that person – and this imbalance has absolutely nothing to do with you and never has: the behavior of other people is not reflective of who you are, it is a reflection of them. Anyone that is in touch with their True Self, is awakened, and is truly intrinsically happy and balanced would consciously choose to handle any situation with tact, regardless of the circumstances.

Furthermore, dishonesty or someone lying about you or contriving anything regarding you is rooted in insecurity and imbalance within that person. Waste not one second focusing on anything you know in your heart is dishonest. The way someone chooses to handle any given situation is reflective of that person, the relationship that they have with themselves, and where they are in their life at that time (and if it is considered unkind, disrespectful, or dishonest, this person is most likely consumed with their own heavy burden of weight from their past, with the underlying cause of this behavior being rooted in perceived fear and pain – their own perceived fear and pain). This is not reflective of you and it is not your burden to carry. Remember that, because so many people so very often are carrying around mountains of weight completely unnecessarily as a result of someone else’s negativity, imbalance, and perceived fears and pains.

This is YOUR life to live and you deserve to live it feeling joyful and light – in your own cleansed and awake energy field. FREE YOURSELF MY FRIEND, FREE YOURSELF.

The only feeling that should be generated toward someone whom treats you poorly in any way is compassion – while this will initially appear very contrary to how you “should” feel. Feel compassion for the past pain and insecurity that they are harboring and projecting that is ultimately behind their behavior or words, and hope for their eventual freedom, wellness, and betterment. This is a powerful intent. Once you begin exercising this shift, you will be amazed at the transformation and lightness that you experience in your heart, which FREES you even more and grants you tremendous peace.

If it is yourself you are wishing to forgive, think of it like forgiving someone else – because you are forgiving your past self, someone whom you are not today, as we are always changing and evolving fundamentally.

If it is someone else you are wishing to forgive, sometimes it is helpful to write a letter to the person that you feel pain or negativity toward, a forgiveness letter. You do not have to send the letter (go for it if you wish however!), this is moreso to facilitate your further release and conceptualization for forgiveness. Also, realize that depending on the circumstance, forgiving someone does not mean you have to welcome them back into your life if you chose to move on, or that you are “approving” disrespectful, hurtful, or poor behavior. However this does mean that you are making the powerful and conscious choice to free yourself from any negative or dark residue that was generated, and any attachments that you still may have that are pulling you back. Forgiveness is a strong and courageous act that bestows healing lightness and liberation upon you – so whatever you do, forgive forgive forgive! 🙂

Always remember that the process of forgiving and freeing yourself has everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else. You have full control over yourself and only yourself, so this is where your power resides. You may wish to visualize this person’s True Self (whom they truly are vs. their imbalanced/shadow self behavior) apologizing to you if this would help. However, the actions of other people have nothing to do with your ability to move through these 5 steps completely and effectively. You hold all of the power when it comes to anything having to do with you.

Stand in your power and live your self-love and respect by realizing that you control you – and anyone else’s actions or words are irrelevant to your ability to cultivate and maintain inner peace, joy, and happiness.

4) The next step in this process is to bring yourself to the place where you can FEEL LOVE,  APPRECIATION, and COMPASSION for this person, yourself, the circumstance, or whatever it is that you are working to release pain and hurt from. Feel love and gratitude for all that was, and for the opportunity to learn a new lesson that you can and will apply to your future. Feel compassion for the pain that is harbored in the other person which has served as the underlying impetus for their behavior, actions, or words. Feel compassion for their inner battle and hope for their freedom and happiness. Feel love for the liberation and wellness of all parties involved. Feel love and compassion for yourself for always doing your best, with the tools and awareness that you have, at that stage in your life. Feel love and appreciation for the fact that you are learning as you go and you are happy that you have more experience now to apply to your growing wisdom – the WISDOM YOU HAVE EARNED!

This may be hard at first, but realize that this feeling (of love, appreciation, and compassion), just like forgiveness, is one of the most magnificent and influential feelings of all. It has the power to clarify, heal, set free, bring closure, and emancipate you. The only person whom is hindered by you holding onto any feelings less than love (i.e. anger, regret, resentment, bitterness, etc) IS YOU! You deserve to feel and be joyful and free, my friend, and giving yourself this gift is paramount.

There are gifts and blessings in everything, all you have to do is open yourself and your heart, which will allow you to see.

5) The next and final step is to RELEASE! Visualize yourself moving forth light as a feather and the dark cloud of ill feelings dissipating into nothing, overtaken by the fresh air that saturates your entire being. Your powerful feelings of love and appreciation have transmuted any unwelcome feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, worry, or turmoil. You many now soar on with gratitude for the experiences that have now contributed to the true and beautiful evolution of your soul. You are whole and excited to greet the next moments of your life with welcome embrace and intrigue.


You are walking your perfect path and embracing it all with gratitude and love in your heart.

You are living your self-love and self-respect by processing your life’s experiences, maintaining your freedom throughout the process, and celebrating the fact that everything is a gift!

A tip to remember is that when you are actively experiencing a challenging situation, remember this practice, and free yourself of any negative emotional attachments at that moment. Digging up old wounds and releasing them years later is a bit more difficult and a bit more tedious. Over time, this practice becomes your inherent way of life, and emotional freedom your natural state of being. This is the magical nature of our existence – as all aspects of your inner and outer world are defined by, characterized as, and set up BY YOU. No, this is not how most of us are used to thinking, or how most societies are built, however, always always always remember that you have the choice.

Once this practice has been fully accomplished and you have successfully moved through the necessary steps to dismantle your past pain as to disallow it from hindering your present and future: IT IS OBLIGATORY THAT YOU NOW MOVE FORWARD. The past is there to teach you, it is not meant to be carried with you.

Let it be over.

Leave the past behind, where it belongs, and EMBRACE TODAY, TOMORROW, AND THE REST OF YOUR REFRESHED AND FREE LIFE!

Love yourself enough to know that you deserve the best in every way, and this includes freedom from the past and freedom from harboring any negative energy ever. Have full compassion for yourself throughout these processes, and develop an inner dialogue that is supportive, forgiving, and unconditionally loving. Be your own best friend. No matter what, you’ll always have yourself, so make sure you are treating yourself kindly and giving yourself the gift of release, lightness, and love.

All the best on your journey, and to your emotional freedom!

Megan ❤

Copyright © 2015-2018 Megan Westbrook – Flow Surge Healing

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