How to Get Over a Major Hurt

Thorny experiences are challenging. Bruised memories of a taxing ordeal linger on like a bad dream even after grinding through the pain and discomfort.

This baggage not only casts a negative shadow, it takes up space.  Living with a past hurt is like having a dreary dungeon-like room in your home so crammed full of unsightly objects you cannot get in to open a window and let the sun shine in.

Ridding yourself of the urge to ruminate over painful experiences takes some extra effort. Think pageantry or radical action. Recently I read about a practice called a sorrow bonfire.  I never was much of a Campfire Girl but the idea appeals to me.There is power in fire. Take your painful experience and commit it to paper. Trek out to the beach or a campsite and create a bonfire.

Bring some friends along to witness the event. With sincere reflection toss your missive into the fire.  As you watch the document go up in flames, reflect on the fact it’s been reduced to ash. It can no longer throw a dark pallor over your life.

Sometimes you just need to beat the crap out of a huge hurt.

Years ago, when I felt my stress and frustration level mounting, I’d head out to a local game room. Upon entering I’d make a beeline for a game involving a soft mallet used to beat down pop-up gophers. Smacking those little guys back in their hole was not only a fun stress reliever; I also racked up multiple valuable redeemable points. My next move was to gift some little person with tickets that could be converted into cute stuffed animals.

The smiles I received in return were worth the all the money I poured into the gopher machine. I left feeling joyful on the drive home.

In her book, “Happiness as a Second Language,” author Valerie Alexander offers up another interesting action to rid yourself of a painful experience. Fill a piñata with fun little treats.

Next hang it up and hammer your paper-mache image with all your might as you commit to letting go of the bad memory forever. Then scoop up the delights and share them with others.

Ready to leave your pain behind and move on? Try the bonfire or piñata or any other method that ends in joy. Let go of the hurt. It’s time, right?

Keep Calm and Ever Onward

Happy teen girl  jumping on the beach
The other day I received an email from my very wise friend LaDonna. She stated she owns a ring she wears daily inscribed with the words “siempre adelante,” which means always forward. The ring reminds my friend to “accept life’s inevitable disappointments and changes.” This is a lesson worth remembering. Immediately I created a “siempre adelante” sign and hung it on my vision board.

LaDonna’s communication contained two important concepts. First, being cognizant of the fact that from time to time trouble is going to waltz through our lives totally uninvited. Life excels at keeping us on our toes. We get comfortable cruising along experiencing smooth sailing,
woman staying on sailboat
and then a totally unexpected event occurs to churn the still waters. You know the drill. Disappointment, stress and even a bit of panic might occur when the wind blows our sails in the wrong direction. It’s normal to feel deflated like a rapidly leaking lifeboat. But then what?

My advice begins with not burying your head in the sand. Spending time in denial is futile. There is a quote attributed to Elvis Presley putting setbacks in perspective. “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going way.” Accept the reality of the situation. The fact is, it happened, it’s real and it requires a solution. Own it.

Here’s another scenario to avoid. Do not let your emotions rule. Wallowing in anger and worry serves only to zap your energy reserves. Spending time doing the “poor me” moan to anyone with a listening ear is time wasted. Whatever it is, a speeding ticket, a broken relationship, a job loss, or a bad investment, take action and attack the problem. Need help on where to begin? Try rewinding a bit, and take comfort in the past. Surely you have faced downturns before and found a way to soldier on. Once you have regained your confidence, get focused and tap into your creativity. Start brainstorming a way to get back in the game.

Siempre adelante is the second concept in the equation. Engage in some positive thinking. Just as you can rewind to past achievements you can fast-forward to brighter times. Take a breath and imagine your relief when you’ve solved the problem. Next, build up some momentum by putting one foot in front of the other and work your action plan. Where will that take you? In the right direction, onwards, ever onwards!