Making Peace with Your Past

I must confess. I have been watching many of the Oprah Lifeclass episodes and have been remiss in updating the blog.

I must also admit that I was hesitant in the beginning to watch the classes since I wasn’t sure where they were going to lead and what topics were going to be discussed. I am fully aware of the controversy surrounding Oprah and the spiritual teachings that she has focused on in the past. While I believe in God and His spirit and that He is the foundation of all life, I am surprised that many of the classes have had a Christian focus and have found myself growing spiritually as well as learning more about my feelings toward Dr. Liar. However, more importantly, I am learning more about myself, both the positive and negative.

In one of the earlier classes, Letting Go of Your Past, a quote was discussed that was so moving and powerful that I saved it from the web site to my Smartphone and have referred to it numerous times during the past few weeks.

“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”

Any person who has ever been hurt by another could most likely relate to this quote by Iyanla Vanzant. Especially those who have experienced physical injury or harm. I immediately began thinking about Dr. Liar and all the things he took from me when hitting my spinal cord during my Cervical Discectomy and Fusion surgery and causing permanent injury as well as ongoing medical problems. I also thought about those who had been raped, attacked, or experienced a tragedy and what they must struggle with when trying to let go of the past since oftentimes the person who commits the crime is found not guilty.

While I am not comparing my situation to those who experience a heinous crime or even death, I do believe that the forgiveness pattern is the same. Mourning must take place whenever a person loses something valuable in their lives. And, as Iyanla Vanzant explains, no matter what harm has been done in your past, you must re-open the wound to be able to move forward — something that is easy to do in theory, but difficult in practice.

During this same class, Dr. Phil discussed his thoughts regarding a married couple who were going through a difficult period in their relationship. The husband had committed adultery and while the wife had stated that she had forgiven him for his infidelity, she was unable to forget his indiscretion. Feelings I knew very well.

According to Dr. Phil, forgiving without forgetting is nothing more than a word game — one I am guilty of when it comes to Dr. Liar. He explained that people need to give themselves permission to feel (or allow) the pain before moving on. The question to ask yourself is not if you can forgive and forget — you must ask if you have emotional closure or are you able to achieve it?  He explained that living between the two can be a constant struggle. In fact, I have found this to be true since we are not supposed to carry this type of hurt around with us each and every day. If you don’t feel the hurt and deal with it, the ‘it’ can be expressed in other aspects of your life. Dr. Phil indicated that you become hypersensitive and that the past will show up somewhere — much like constantly opening up your wound or allowing it to ooze out and stain all areas of your life. If you don’t deal with it yourself — it will do it for you. The hurt has to get out.

As the weeks went by, I continued to spend countless hours thinking about what was said during this episode of lifeclass. I couldn’t get it off my mind. Those featured were telling viewers to forgive, but not actually giving the steps on how to do it. Sure, there are articles on Oprah’s web site, but many are stories about people who have forgiven and were able to move on. While I should feel inspired and able to learn from these examples, I am beginning to feel more depressed for not being able to do as they have done.

I am a structured person. I like a ‘to do’ list where I can complete the items and check them off. What I need to know is simple — how do I forgive, forget and have emotional closure? Quite honestly, I began to feel overwhelmed. Maybe a bit of a failure. While I thought I had accepted my injury and forgiven Dr. Liar, what I had really done was move my anger to another area of my life — redirected it to another place. And, all it took was an hour television show to demonstrate to me what I was doing. I was angry, upset, depressed and feeling as if I had failed all of you reading the blog and myself during the process. Now, how was I going to make it right and begin to take the steps to emotional closure as well as update a blog giving readers the ability to do the same? Was I ever perplexed.

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2011.

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About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Depression, Disappointment, Don't Give Up, Dr. Liar, Faith, God, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury, Surgery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Making Peace with Your Past

  1. Brenda Jennings says:

    I think this blog shares more insight than all the others, it really made me pause and reflect on how I respond to those feelings. I supress them and just like you said, they continue showing up when I least expect them. I admire you and your courage, thank you for being open and sharing your experience so those of us who read your blog can heal along with you.

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