Peace with Past

Hey there! It is Betul again, but this time I am not going to talk about languages. I am going to talk about another major interest of mine: human mind. Specifically, my mind.

This is going to be about the beginning of my conscious self-discovery period, which is pretty much still going on now. By now I am very much convinced that it will never end.

Disclaimer: What I write below is not professional information and I do not claim it is the right way to go about it. But it is something that worked for me. So, here we go.


I always found it exciting and intriguing when people go on a journey to discover who they are, giving up on many things that held them back along the way. To me, that is an indication of a strong desire to go with the flow of the universe. A strong desire to come to peace with oneself.

Big words, right? For some people, these concepts might even come out as gibberish or at least just ideal worlds that are not achievable, so why bother?

That is how I took these big concepts for a long time. But I also really, desperately wanted to know myself. I was noticing the discrepancies between what I did and what I felt. What I did depended very much on what people expected of me. What I felt was a cry from within to give myself a voice.

And I lived with this conflict for a long time.

Then, I decided to go on a journey of self-discovery but in a more tangible form. I wanted to be able to track my journey.  I would not be able to make it happen if it was too abstract.

I had always been interested in my mind, the workings of it. So, my first idea was to track what lied in its depths. And I went with this initial idea.

I had heard many times before that childhood years are our formative years and our experiences then shape our thought, feeling and behavior patterns later.

I wanted to see how my childhood had shaped my adult self.

But I also wanted this process to help me let go of my bond with the past.

I started with my very first memory, age 4-5. I sat down with a friend and thought through it. What had happened then? How had I felt at the time? What conclusions had I reached about how the world worked? How did it make me feel now? How had it affect my later selves?

I did the same kind of analysis for each and every memory I remembered until my current self. Each ‘session’ started with an analysis of the event and its effects, followed by a ‘making-peace’ part. I ended each session by ‘forgiving the people and the event’ so I could actually forget about them (not literally, as I still know the events; but forget in the sense that I could cut their effects off my mind). All this could last to several hours but gradually got shorter and shorter as I became more efficient in the process.

This gave me probably the hardest year of my life, with lots of ups and down. It is not easy to face emotions and memories for most people and I faced everything I could think of. As I was facing a certain thought or emotion, I went as down as possible. When I finally let go, I felt up right away. Then, down again and up again. Then repeat again.

After I felt like I had faced everything I could think of at the time, I finished this process.

The resulting feeling was just like how it was in my childhood. Well, ok, this is exaggerated. We can never be ‘just like’ in our childhood. But I got much closer to it. And I felt much freer. I felt as if I took my real self out of the many layers it was buried under. This is not to discard the importance of experiences, but just to re-adjust them so they become more beneficial than harmful.

This process also really got me into mindfulness and meditation, for which I cannot be thankful enough.

I will talk about parts of my journey every now and then, so this much is enough for now.

How about your journeys? Did you do anything to get rid of past bonds? Do you see effects of memories in your lives? Is self-discovery important to you? If so, what do you do to achieve that?


38 thoughts on “Peace with Past

  1. I think we all go on a journey throughout our lives. Some of us take longer than others and some are better at examining than others. If we don’t though we are not being true to ourselves and not fulfilling our full potential.

  2. Betul, not gonna lie, I don’t know if I could go through all of that. It sounds like a difficult process. Your friend must be a very good friend.

    I do consider self discovery important. Reflection and analyzing the thoughts behind my actions are things I try to do on a regular basis. I am also big on aligning my thoughts with my actions (or being “congruent”). I find it has helped me be more accepting of me. I may have to try to go through this process, but I don’t think I could go through it with a friend. Do you think a journal would be as effective?

    1. Well, the reason I don’t recommend this to everyone is because it is indeed very hard. It was the academic in me that wanted to get to the bottom of my past. But I also had the constant support of a very knowledgable friend, so that helped, although I did most of it myself. It helped me a lot. So now, I don’t care about what happened in the past and I am much more present-focused (but we are humans, so it is not 100%) and also I am much more open about what I feel, because I faced them enough so I don’t see a reason to hide it. So, I really am very satisfied with the result.
      I would probably say you could try it but not obsessively. Then it might give more problems than good. And yeah, a journal is good too! I didn’t go with that option because I hate hand-writing:) Maybe you could start with things that immediately comes to your mind and preferably easier memories (because some are harder to face). Do you think you can start that?

      1. I do. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my past, but I do get a lot of anxiety from certain situations. I don’t know if I could articulate them in a way that makes sense to other people, but I do think this would be very beneficial for me. Especially since I do get anxiety thinking about my past. I enjoy writing (though not necessarily about myself), and keep a journal already. Seems like a worthwhile effort to me.

      2. It is definitely worthwhile if you feel ready for it. It is just hard to go through because you face a lot of things you have escaped from for your whole life. But the result is major relief:) The major key after getting the courage for it is to do it right so it will not burn you out. I felt tired all the time during the process and after. Some balance could be good. It is just my personality. If I start something, I want to finish it because I want to see what happens at the end and I am generally overly-curious and I can’t wait:) Patience is good:)

  3. Interesting path you took for self discovery. I have to say self discovery is important because it helps us be more stable and better at tackling problems.

    I myself unwillingly found that being alone helped me find myself. I say it in the sense that I moved to a different city abruptly and lived by myself for several years. I had difficult situations in this journey including almost losing my life. It put everything back into perspective. I learned so much about myself. Who I am. What I want. What I am capable of doing.

    Many people fear solitude or the feeling of being alone, yet I found that being away from friends, family made me a stronger person.

    We are all different mind and souls. Thus, every journey is different. Btw I find mind fascinating as well and I see yours is a special one. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Looking forward to more 🙂

    1. I experienced that shock that comes with moving to other cities. and even countries So, I totally relate. But in fact, I started this process of peace with my past when I was really alone after I moved to another country. Being alone is a major motivation for self-discovery, it appears and it is probably because we can no longer rely on other people. So this makes us rely on ourselves and knowing ourselves makes this easier.
      Also, thank you for the kind words:) Human mind is always interesting and everyone is special! I would love to hear your experiences too!

      1. Great to hear from you! I couldn’t agree more with you. 🙂

        I have a blog called Super Chick: My Defense Mechanism that touches a little on the subject, but now, you have me thinking and wanting to write specifically about self discovery. Stay tuned <3

  4. What you did was very brave. I’ve learned that when you combine gratitude and forgiveness, you lift a weight off of yourself which puts you in a free-flowing alpha state. When you feel gratitude, you thank the experience/person for making you the person you are today. Letting go of the situation is more for us than for the other person. How beautiful that you experienced the freedom of your childlike self when you processed the memories.

    1. This is so well-explained. Everything happens for a reason and everyone comes into our lives for a reason. They are to make us freer. They teach us how not to depend on them.

  5. Wow! This is just spot on! It came at a time I’m having a strong urge to self discovery and acceptance. I am really struggling with confrontating my past though it’s really weighing me down.I can’t seem to move past some unpleasant memories, some from my childhood and greatly from my adult life.
    It’s a journey I am slowly getting to adjust and embrace. I am hoping I will find the strength from within ❤️

    1. It usually starts with that urge. That was the case for me too. I was being bothered by some internal conflicts and I knew that had to do with the patterns I had formed in my childhood. So now you have the urge, try to go with it, but don’t jump into it. It is a hard but delightful process!

  6. As I write my motivational memoir it has been a struggle to know when and how to introduce certain memories. Your post is inspiring me to just write first and sort it out later. Thank you! 💜

  7. I have been meditating for many years, I teach/lead meditation here in Australia and am invited to teach in Asia but just having a sabbatical as none of it’s paid and my savings have expired.
    Knowing ourselves is the most important thing we can do with our lives, then taming our mind! Without discipline and effort we are tossed this way and that by thoughts and emotions, we have no control whatsoever. So what you are doing is very important! I do it under guidance of a qualified Teacher so no idea how you manage with no instruction. I have seen some make themselves very ill trying to do too much too quick, a bit like chronic fatigue syndrome.
    What’s your PhD in?

    1. I love your background in meditation! I wish I had some good, guided background too!
      I agree that guidance is very much needed and I was very tired for a while (especially during the process) but I think and hope it is over now. Now, I am seeing the benefits. But I would not suggest this to people if they are not absolutely ready to bear these consequences.
      My PhD is in Linguistics. Not much to do with meditation, but it is about human mind. So, my interest areas meet somewhere:)

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