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How to Let Go of the Fear of Being Hurt Again

Hiding in the Rain

“Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear.” ~Unknown 

My pet fish died today. Red-striped fins as beautiful as always, he was swimming around in his tank only four weeks ago. First he became less active. Next he refused to eat. Then he was gone.

As I buried him in the yard, my first thought was, I don’t want to have a pet fish ever again. Awareness kicked in, and I realized that my thought was triggered by fear to experience an unpleasant circumstance such as this again.

This is how our minds tend to work: After we go through a hurtful situation, we subconsciously avoid anything that we believe caused our pain. 

This instinct of self-preservation can protect us from repeating mistakes and experiencing pain, but it can also prevent us from living life to the fullest.

One of my friends accepted a job that required her to relocate often. After the fourth move, she decided it wasn’t worth it to make new friends in her new town. It seemed to be a less hurtful option to distance herself from others.

Focused entirely on work and her immediate family, she stayed in touch with a few long-distance friends, such as me, but she admitted that she often felt something was missing in her life.

My uncle swore to never have another dog after his fourteen-year-old Shih Tzu mix had to be put to sleep. He didn’t have to deal with the loss of another pet, but was still in mourning for his dead dog years after the event.

After a traumatic experience with marriage, the mere thought of being in a new romantic relationship used to make me my physically ill. I didn’t want to get hurt again, so I would distrust everyone I met, which prevented me from welcoming new people into my life.

That’s until I realized that my sense of self-preservation had become my biggest obstacle to create new meaningful connections.

How do we let go of the fear of being hurt again and open our hearts and minds to what life has to offer?

Contemplating the following truths has helped me and it might help you, too.

A full life is made of a wide range of experiences, and some of these experiences will be unpleasant.

Job situations change. People and pets become ill and die. Relationships end.

Accepting that sometimes things won’t go your way will allow you to let go of the anxiety and stress that arise from resistance to your life circumstances. When you stop resisting, your mind is clear enough to find solutions to your problems.

Avoidance based on fear will not protect you from experiencing pain.

Why? Because living in fear is already living in pain. Instead of avoiding perceived sources of pain, seek sources of joy.

When I focused on the character traits I wanted the people in my life to have, and adopted behaviors that reflected these qualities, I started to meet amazing beings who became trusted friends.

Assuming responsibility for your unpleasant circumstances is a way to regain control of your life and to learn.

Ask yourself how your thoughts and behaviors might have contributed to what happened to you. The past won’t repeat itself if you learn from the difficulty and assume control of your thoughts about the situation.

And even if you feel that you didn’t play a role in the challenge you experienced, you can still take responsibility for your attitudes and feelings about what happened. You can choose to move on.

My friend could choose to apply for a job that doesn’t require moving so often, or she could view relocation as an exciting opportunity to make friends all over the country.

My uncle could cherish the memory of his previous pet by giving a new dog all the love and care that all creatures deserve.

When I let go of my limiting thoughts, I started to see life under a different lens, and welcomed new people who were aligned with my values and appreciated me for who I was.

The instinct of self-preservation is a powerful tool when combined with conscious awareness.

Become aware of your negative thoughts as soon as they pop up, and assume the objective perspective of an observer. This will prevent you from being ruled by fear and will allow you to tap into your intuition.

Allow yourself to learn from the past and then, let it go. Leave the hurt and the pain behind. Move forward so you can enjoy the unlimited, amazing abundance that life has to offer!

Photo by Eddi van W.

About Cloris Kylie Stock

Cloris Kylie, Marketing MBA, helps entrepreneurs to attract the right clients so that they skyrocket their impact and revenue! A sought-after speaker, trainer, and author, Cloris has been featured on various television and radio shows, including the #1 podcast for entrepreneurs, "Entrepreneur On Fire." Cloris's articles have been published on websites with millions of followers. Visit her website here https://www.cloriskylie.com.

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  • Hi Cloris,

    What you have said in this article is very true. Many people are trapped by the fear of hurt which explains why they are not able to progress in life. I have learn to overcome the fear of hurt by taking complete responsibility for everything that happens to me and around me. This gives me the power to live life to the fullest and not worry about what will go wrong. As Murphy’s law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

    Edmund

  • Edmund, thank you for your comment! Yes, taking complete responsibility for your life circumstances is not only empowering, but the path to freedom. Hope you connect with me through my website or social media!

  • Mahesh Sahu

    Hi Cloris, thanks for sharing this article.
    I have been self limited on many occasions because of past bad experiences fearing hurt.
    This article is a great awaken-er for me. If you can suggest any detailed book or source, I will appreciate.
    Thanks again,

  • Mahesh, thank you for your comment! I would say that if your bad experience is related to relationship/marriage problems, my book, “Magnificent…Married or Not” can definitely help. If your previous past experiences are related to something else, then “Excuses Begone” by Dr. Wayne Dyer is a great resource. Hope this helps! Stay connected by joining my website or through social media 🙂

  • Sangeeta

    Dear Cloris,

    What I typed in Google ( because I have nobody to turn to) is ‘want to let go of resentment but afraid of being hurt again). I’m so grateful to be led here to read this.

    I am struggling with wiping the slate clean and being as affectionate and expressive with my husband after I finally snapped last month about having to literally beg him to be more affectionate.

    It was the last thing I expected of him, after having adjusted to a whole lot of things in every aspect of my married life.

    This article helps me. I’m trying to build courage to decide whether to take a deep breath and prepare to be hurt again or stick with my plan of leaving in 2 years when my toddler is 5. Thankyou for this article.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Thank you for sharing your story, Sangeeta. I’m very happy to hear you found the article and that it was helpful to you! Keep in mind that married couples with young children tend to be under a lot of stress, so who knows…maybe things will get better in the future. Always take care of yourself and focus on what is good about your relationship and your husband. All the best to you!

  • Kate

    Dear Sangeeta, I have been through exactly what you are describing, it is incredibly painful and demoralising to be in that position. I tell you, keep looking for answers! Follow your nose, something needs to be addressed because what you are part of is not loving. You are right to ask for what you need and you absolutely do not need to beg for love. Please know before you find your answer that what ever the issue is for him, it is not a reflection of your worth! I know that you love him dearly but are struggling with the distance he is creating. I can tell you my experiences only as a possible guide but I’m sure there will be differences between our stories. What you explained was very much the same for me, but I got to a point where I went into depression and saw my doc, and a psychologist and counsellor and took anti depressants for 4 years until I decided I wanted to live again! I wanted to have another baby too so I quit the medication and fell pregnant, life seemed to be going quiet well. But just before my due date I discovered that my husband had been deceitful about his sexual activities since before our first child, about 7 years of betrayal. We had only been married eight. He was afraid of real intimacy, he felt he wasn’t good enough to please me so he avoided making love as much as he could get away with. But he had another option that he felt wasn’t truly cheating but satisfied him enough to cope with our waning love life. I had to cope through medication. It wasn’t healthy and no professional I saw got even close to helping me find the answer. Unfortunately, I gave up on myself and my own instincts in favour of my love for and trust in him. That was my biggest mistake. I know you are hurt, and there is likely more to come, just try to see him as someone who needs help. But you need love, care, and support right now too and I can tell he isn’t in the right place to give it to you. Focus on building your own network of support, lots of friends if family is unable to be there. Find pleasure for yourself! Swim, walk in the park, take time washing your hair, watch the stars at night! Treat yourself with all the love you can muster! I have learnt an incredible amount in the last few years and am still learning, I am grateful for these lessons, I wish there had been an easier way but I probably wouldn’t have paid attention or given them enough weight. My beautiful sister, my heart is with yours, all the best, xo, Kate.

  • just me

    Thank you! That really helped me

  • merida

    Thank you..very nice

  • Molly Chen

    Thank you for this beautiful post. Really helps at difficult times like this. Sometimes, our fears from the past hinder and anchors us from the present. It can be overwhelming as our thoughts take over us entirely.