Guidelines for Healing the Past
- Undo any damage. If you caused pain or harm, it is wise to undo it wherever possible. For example, if you hurt someone’s feelings, you may want to apologize; if you stole something, it may be appropriate and healing to replace it or pay for it.
- Aim for solutions in which everyone wins. The ideal solution is one in which everyone involved gains and learns from the process. For example, if someone hurt you, it is far better to gently explain that the behavior was hurtful than it is to attack. Ideally, both of you will learn from and be healed by the interaction.
- Avoid attack. It is terribly tempting to retaliate when someone hurts you. The painful result, however, is usually only a dizzying spiral of ever-increasing anger, attack, and counterattack.
- Communicate. Simply telling someone honestly and openly about your pain can be remarkably healing. This kind of communication is so effective that it forms the basis of the healing offered by religious confession, psychotherapy, and self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Learn. As always, learn as much as possible from your experience. For example, when you have resolved a dilemma, see what worked and what didn’t, so you can proceed more effectively in the future.