There are things from everyone’s past that they’d rather not discuss. Things they’ve done or experienced that brings them pain or frustration when they think about it. Though you’re in a different place in life now, the pain of the past keeps you from reaching your fullest potential. You’ve tried meditation, prayer, eating right, doing good, and surrounding yourself with positive people, and while it has had some impact, it’s not quite enough to get you to let go of the past and move forward. 

One major reason that you might not be able to be truly healed and transformed is because deep down, you still allow your past to bring you pain. It is only when you’re able to look back on some of the most hurtful and embarassing moments in your life and not feel resentment, sadness, or pain that you’re able to be free. 

An effective way to free yourself from your past pain is to learn how to turn it into your purpose. Use what has happened to you in life to guide and heal others. Though this process can take some time, here are some steps to getting it done: 

Find the Lesson

As you think back over the negative things that have happened to you in your life, instead of focusing on the pain, try to find the lesson. Say you went through a bad divorce and as a means of coping you started overeating, drawing away from things you enjoyed, and even battled with depression. When you stop and think about what you’ve learned, however, it can give you a new outlook on the experience. Letting go of what wasn’t true love and then neglecting your own needs teaches you that you didn’t know the importance of loving yourself first, foremost, and always.

Write it Down

Now that you’ve reflected on those painful parts of your past and found the lesson or silver lining, you’re ready to write it down. For each experience from your past that is hard to let go of, write down the key takeaways. You may have gone through that divorce, but you learned how to love yourself, how to identify unhealthy relationships, and even how healthy love should be given and received in a committed relationship. 

Access Your Strengths and Passions

If you’re going to turn your past pain into purpose you’ll need to decide how you can use the lessons or takeaways from your experiences and turn them into opportunities. The next step in mastering this is having a clear understanding of what your strengths and passions are. Create a list of things you’re good at or things you enjoy doing. Then, review this list in comparison to your takeaways.

Opportunities to Help Others

You are not alone in your experiences or past pain. There are others out there who have suffered just as much if not more than you have that could use assistance to heal and recover. Comparing your takeaways and strengths or passions, turn these into a list of opportunities to help others. Here’s an example. You were diagnosed with a life-altering disease that resulted from you neglecting your physical health. In order to manage or even cure the condition, your takeaway was to take better care of you. During your journey to take care of yourself, you developed a passion for and serious understanding of diet and exercise. Essentially, you could become a personal trainer, a health coach, or even start your own indoor cycling franchise to help people reach their diet and fitness goals. 

Using the example of divorce and self-love. You were in a relationship where love wasn’t healthy. You continued to treat yourself in an unhealthy manner after the marriage ended. Then, you learned that if you don’t first love yourself, you will never be able to truly give and receive love. In your quest to love yourself more, you became inspired by motivational books and blogs that give you easy to follow tips on self-love. You’re also a great writer. So, you decide you’re going to start a blog to empower women and give them advice on how to put themselves first. 

Don’t allow your past pain to keep you from growing into your authentic self. Instead, learn how to find purpose in your past. It is when you can look back on what you’ve been through and not feel any pain, frustration, anger, sadness, or hopelessness, that you are truly healed. By using your pain to help others in similar situations come out on top, you can begin to see your pain as the stepping stones to pushing you towards the person you were truly meant to be.