Continuing to build on the prompts from your story a few weeks ago, it is likely that while writing about your strongest memories and the nature of your child self that you also recalled some painful memories - what I refer to as past hurts or emotional injuries.
Last week we looked at what your consistent character traits and behavior patterns may tell you about your nature as a person. This week, I ask you to examine the equally important painful memories, what they taught you, and how they may be showing up for you now, in the present.
It is human nature to move away from pain. As an organism we are programmed for survival, and mostly risk and pain averse as a result. When difficult, heavy, emotions and memories begin to surface, our most common reaction is to push them down, deny our pain, distract our minds, and place our attention elsewhere. Often, we believe that works.
Except it doesn't.
An experience coupled with emotion makes a lasting impact on the psyche, and unprocessed pain remains stuck in your mental, emotional, physical, and energetic body.
And so we must bravely inquire. I ask that you take a moment now, and consider the painful memories that you have noted. If you did not do the exercise, spend a few moments now and reflect on any experiences that come to mind in which you recall feeling hurt emotionally, and consider the following for each memory:
- What stands out to you about this memory?
- What emotions do you either remember feeling, or do you imagine you felt at the time?
- What do you feel now thinking about it?
- What did this experience teach you that is not true?
- Do you notice this "lesson" coming up as a core belief that does not serve you in the present?
- If so, are you willing to let this belief go?
- Do you recognize any patterns in the painful memories you have listed throughout your life so far?
What did this experience teach you that is not true? I ask this because understanding the untrue lessons you were taught is the first step to unlearning them, and in the unlearning of false lessons you begin to return to your true nature.
If a woman recalls that as a young girl her father never showed her love or affection, this painful experience of not receiving what is needed from a parent could have taught her the untrue lesson that there is something wrong with her, or that she is undeserving of love and affection. As an adult, this same woman may hold a core belief, based on this early emotional injury, that she is not lovable. Though she may "forget" consciously, this painful memory, and the resulting core beliefs, become imprinted in her subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is the primary source of human behavior.
As a result, unexplored past hurts can lead to unconscious behavior patterns that unintentionally recreate painful experiences.
And so we must lean into, examine, and honor the sources of our past hurts. In so doing we create increased conscious awareness around how they may be showing up in our present experiences, and give ourselves the gift of empowered choice and the opportunity to break undesired patterns to create change.
You can always expand on this inquiry with a trusted professional if that feels supportive.
There are no enemies inside. Look inward with love.