Hurtful memories can stifle your development and growth. So how do we break through this insidious mental conditioning? How do we develop beyond painful episodes that bury themselves in our subconscious and influence our lives? How do we change and grow so that we can live our dreams?

The first step is to break the hold of these inhibiting influences from the past. Recognize them and then either get rid of them or turn them into a positive force that pushes you ahead rather than holds you back. Identify these inhibiting memories in your life so that you control them rather than allowing them to control you. Did someone hurt your feelings? Forgive them and forget it. Move on. Did someone punish you unfairly? It’s over. It’s done. Go on.

Here are a few of the most common emotions that burrow into the subconscious and impede our growth as individuals:

  1. Anger: This is a natural response to a perceived attack or injury. It makes energy flow. But when allowed to simmer, it depletes energy that could be used to improve your life. If you hold your anger for more than a week, it is only hurting you. Try to let go. Envision yourself throwing it out. Ease your mind. Transform your anger into positive motivation. Don’t get mad; get motivated.
  2. Revenge: The first cousin of anger. It also robs you of strength in the long run. The person who has injured you has probably gone on with life; so should you. Don’t let the injury hurt you further by inhibiting your growth. Lose it or use it. Instead of saying, “I’ll get them,” say, “I’ll show them. I’LL BE SOMEBODY!”
  3. Sadness: This is more crippling than anger because it drains you from the start, sapping your will to go on. You probably will have to let this drain away slowly at its own pace. Time heals but consciously forces it out if the sadness seems to linger. Seek out things that make you laugh and feel optimistic about life. Realize that feeling sad will not change anything. Seek the peace of mind as your right.
  4. Resentment: Life is not always fair. It is unrealistic to feel any other way, and holding on to resentment is no way to fight back. Drop it and get back into the battle.
  5. Guilt: Guilt is another emotion that stands between you and your dreams. All of us have done things we feel wrong about and regret. Things we would do differently. Many of us carry that guilt around, which keeps us from moving forward. Don’t let people put you on a guilt trip. Say to yourself when someone is putting you on the defensive, “No matter what you do or say to me, I am still a worthwhile person.”
  6. Fear: People fear many things: guns, heights, spiders, etc. Some fears are more pointless than others. The fear of sky diving makes a lot of sense, but the fear of public speaking isn’t as sensible: it won’t kill you. Fear includes stress and can be very emotionally painful if you’re scared of anything that might hold you from realizing your dreams.

To rid yourself of these past emotions, put them in a positive rather than negative perspective and thereby cut off their bitter roots in your subconscious. Reinterpret the past with these methods: Get better, not bitter. Find a quiet, comfortable place. Sit back and relax. Think about something or someone who caused you pain or disappointment. Now take a mental step back from that feeling and the situation. Assess it. Did the emotions that resulted make you stronger? Did they give you determination? Can you use those memories to empower you rather than drain you? Why let them hurt you further?