How does one really accept tragedy and suffering and let go of an unhealthy connection to a past that is no more?
I can only tell from my own experience.
When I was 23 I promised myself I would not make the same mistakes as my parents (Don’t we all?) and I would not hurt people as I had been hurt. I was particularly determined and single minded in this mission. In order to break the cycle of suffering I spent decades looking into the how and why and what of my past, searching for the source of family problems with the goal of teasing out the sources and solving them rather than just moving on. I decided that I could not truly live my life until I had “solved” the past. I gave up living my life in the present because I spent so much time trying to understand and fix the problems of the past. My future goals were created as a defense against and protection from the recurrence of pain.
Over the years I experienced different kinds of therapy. Each therapist helped guide me as I tried to grapple with the meaning of three specific traumatic events. They helped me as I tried to find a way out of the web of the past and into a more enlightened future. But I never actually believed I could reach that more enlightened future.
What worked for me?
1. Forgiveness: No one can truly move forward without forgiving those that hurt them. We also need to forgive ourselves. We can be incredibly cruel to ourselves when we don’t live up to our ideals.
2. Landmark Forum: Landmark helped me see clearly how I was shutting down possibilities for my future out of fear and helped me begin to believe that I could change and truly let go. Then it helped me write my own story and supported me as I transferred into this unknown world.
There is no “one way.”