TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of physical abuse and may be triggering to some people.
“What hurts you blesses you, darkness is your candle.” ~Rumi
We are all born with it. The beautiful bright light in our soul, filled with love and happiness.
I remember having that feeling of being so alive and free and untouched by fear or worry.
This is who we are at the core of our being. This is our true authentic self, from before the world told us who we needed to be and negative outside circumstances started to tear down our self-worth and self-esteem.
I can tell you exactly what age I was when the light inside of me started to fade. I was seven years old and there was physical abuse at home with belts and hangers.
From the very first moment it happened, I remember being in my bed and hugging my Snoopy doll, questioning what love and trust really meant.
Worst of all, I started to believe that I was not worthy of safety and security, and decided I must be a really unlovable girl.
Having this negative belief about myself, I could no longer hear anything positive from anyone. No matter what compliment someone offered or how much someone would try to show me love, I would go back to this now instilled belief: “You are not worth it. No one will love you. You are supposed to feel pain if love is involved.”
This false self-perception led me down many dark paths into self-destruction and self-sabotage, and my world in my mind became very small.
I was attracting circumstances and people in my life that would reaffirm my low self-worth so that I could tell myself, each and every time I was abandoned, rejected, or broken up with, “See, what you think is true—you are not worth it.”
This eventually turned into a huge black abyss in my soul, and there was no light in sight.
I tried to fill it with alcohol, drugs, relationships, sleeping pills, and whatever I thought might help me escape this deep darkness that was now my everyday existence, but nothing helped.
After many years of struggling, running, and numbing, I saw a quote by the great poet Rumi that read, “What hurts you blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” That was it!
I realized that my pain was not a punishment, and that I could see all this pain as a candle, a guide to bring me back to who I was before I decided I wasn’t worthy or lovable.
My journey into spirituality began, and I was able to come up with a process that allowed me to heal from each painful incident, no matter how bad it was.
Here are the steps that I have taken to heal some of my deepest wounds:
Identify what, exactly, is causing the pain.
I needed to go back to the beginning, before fear took the place of love in my heart, and remember the specific events that I allowed to negatively affect me. I created a timeline and wrote down everything that had ever hurt me up until my current age.
Take a quiet moment and sit in a place where you won’t be interrupted. Take out your journal or a piece of paper, and then sit with your eyes closed.
Bring yourself back to your past and try to recall a time when you felt hurt, scared, or fearful. Write down what happened and how you felt. This process is not an easy one, but the only way we can heal it is to reveal it.
Acknowledge the pain in the present.
After allowing myself to get clear about what had hurt me and caused me great suffering, I needed to fully acknowledge how each incident was affecting me in the present.
Once you retrieve the memory of what caused you this pain, sit with it and visualize yourself saying, “Okay, I am in fear/distress/pain/extreme sadness, and I am going to be okay.”
You are now acknowledging your feelings in this moment because you felt very alone and helpless before. This allows you to comfort yourself, which will bring you a feeling of peace.
Accept the pain.
What I was resisting, numbing, and avoiding was causing my suffering. My detour away from my light happened because I refused to accept that these incidents had so much power over me. I didn’t realize then that acceptance can set you free. I didn’t have to condone or like what happened; I just needed to accept it.
It will be a freeing exercise for you to now write, “I fully accept this situation as being exactly how it was supposed to be. I am a stronger person because of this.”
This will alleviate the hold the pain has on you because you’ll be shifting your belief about what you experienced. Instead of feeling victimized, and consequently hurt or ashamed, you’ll feel empowered for having gained strength and wisdom through your experience. You can do this any time you feel you are holding on to something that is upsetting you.
Release, forgive, and let go of the pain.
Before I acknowledged the pain and brought it to consciousness, I didn’t think I had a choice, so the pain became part of my identity. Now I can release it. If I decide to visit it again and identify with it, I know that will be choosing to suffer.
Now is the time when you can release the situation and the hold it has had on you. In order to do this, you need to forgive yourself for carrying around the dark and heavy emotions.
You also need to forgive anyone who hurt you. It might help to consider that they, too, were hurting, and that’s why they did what they did. Recognizing that hurt people cause others pain, you now have an even stronger motivation to do this work to heal your own.
Envision yourself in the situation(s) you revisited with a beautiful white light surrounding you, protecting you, and allowing you to see that you are safe.
Picture yourself telling the fearful you that it’s okay to let this go because you are not there anymore. You are free from what you hurt you in the past, and it doesn’t mean anything about you or your worth. What happened wasn’t your fault, and you don’t deserve to live a life defined by that pain and shame.
This is where you detach from your story and choose not to identify with the painful situations.
You can now write out, “Universe, I am now fully releasing this situation and forgiving (whoever was involved) and myself. I am free from this pain. Thank you for taking this from me.”
The good news is that once we make the courageous decision to bring these painful memories and emotions into the open, and decide we need to confront the pain head on, we can start this healing process.
This is not a process that you will only do one time. This is something you will do over and over again until you feel the heaviness lifted from your heart and a sense of inner peace wash over you.
By shining light on our deepest and darkest wounds, we allow them to come to the surface so we can go through the necessary steps to turn our greatest pain into our greatest power and strength.
If your goal is to reconnect with your inner light and realign with who you truly are, I invite you on this healing journey that has forever changed my life.