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| Empowerment Brand

Tips for Making Peace With Your Past

Making peace with our past is essential for our forward growth.

Can you imagine what your life would be like, feel like, without a weight of your past trauma bearing you down at every step?

Learning to forgive and accept ourselves, others and our experiences is the path to moving forward in your life. 

The cost is getting really freakin’ honest with yourself. You’re going to have to face yourself. I can promise you it’s worth it. It’s worth it because when you face yourself, you see the truth…your truth. And it opens the door to freedom. To peace. To forward movement. To magic. Are you ready for the ride? You don’t need a seatbelt, we in this thing together. Let’s ride, babe.


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I remember the day like it was yesterday. Mom tells me I was 4 at the time. It was cold outside and wet. The front door was open, the glass foggy you couldn’t see through. I didn’t realize at the time what “separated” meant but dad didn’t live with us anymore.

We lived in the house dad built on the river though, a beautiful handcrafted a-frame I’ll never forget.

Ton and I were playing in the hallway when dad knocked on the front door. Mom went outside to talk to him and what seemed like an hour later, they both still hadn’t come back. I went to look out the front door, wiping away the fog. No one.

Tony came up to the window and started crying for mom and dad. I grabbed his hand, both of us looking out the window, waiting. 

We cried together as he kept calling for mom. I remember being so scared, thinking they had left us. 

Mom came back soon after and hugged us as she let us know she would never leave us.

That was the first time I remember the feeling of being left. The second time would be when dad and mom divorced.

The next time, I was 7 years old. Mom met Matt, my stepdad and we had a new step sister, who was 2 years older than me. After she came in, me and ton were no longer me and ton. Tony started playing with gina and gina let me know I wasn’t to play with them because, “You’re different than us, go play with your barbies.” 

Over the years, I sort of grew used to this expectation that I wasn’t enough somehow. The way I saw it in my mind was that, to be a part of someone’s life, you have to be somebody that someone else wants to be there. And I didn’t feel wanted. So it must have been true I would tell myself. 

My limiting belief became the one that goes, I’m not enough.

And I would spend thirty more years proving it to myself because that’s what I believed from an early age.

And it held me back from being who I really am, from doing things I wanted to do, from taking risks, from shining my light…from loving myself.

I lived my life from the center of this belief. 

For so long, I’ve wanted to move on from this belief but I didn’t know how. I’d ask myself: how can I move on from something I still feel is true? How can I change the only thing I know? How can I believe I’m enough when I haven’t for this long?

And then one day, I figured it out: I had to let go by facing it…face myself. I stood in my truth and faced myself by facing my feelings from the past. I went deep, thinking about that day standing in the doorway holding my brothers hand, thinking of all the times I’ve not felt wanted and I just let it come out.

And it fucking hurt all over again. But something really magical happened at the same time: I felt relieved. 

It felt like I had just unplugged from something that had been running me for most of my life. That’s exactly what happened.

By facing my feelings, I opened the door to accepting them.

I faced what I was turning from for so long and I saw that it was pain that was trapped. It just needed to get out and move out from it’s space. To be acknowledged, embraced and then let go.

And that. THAT was the key that opened the door to my heart of me loving me for everything I am. It was the key that unlocked the truth that I am enough…for me.

We all have a past and in that past we carry with us trauma that’s blocking us on a physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and energetic level.

Our trauma keeps us from truly moving forward because it needs something from us.

What’s healthy is when we experience something in our life, we let it shape us in a meaningful way (we learn from it) and we move on and forward.

But all too often, we unknowingly let our past shape us in an unhealthy way because we haven’t reconciled with the things we haven’t yet come to understand.

Here’s how it goes: Something happens to you, it hurts, it leaves a wound and you don’t know how to fix it so it never heals. The wound stays open and spreads itself to every cell in your body. It becomes a part of you not in the way it would if you learned from it, in the way that a cancer spreads in the body. It becomes so powerful we become its shadow, it our ruler. It runs you around like you’re its rag doll.

We’re bound by the shackles of our past. We hold on so tight for fear of not knowing any different. And it becomes a part of us. After all, what we hold onto, we carry.

Over time, it becomes this living, breathing thing moving inside of us, directing us in all aspects of our life: our feelings, our direction, our actions, our relationships and our relationship with ourself.

And you just move on with it. But not without consequence. It directs you in every way and you always can feel it there, lingering beneath the surface. A wound that flares up when it gets touched by another pain.

And then one day the flood gates open and you stand there with yourself, realizing you have a bigger issue on your hands: you’ve been holding onto something that has never and will never be good for you. And it’s keeping you from living your life fully. From being happy, at peace and joyful.

But how do you not hold onto this thing that you’ve carried for so long? This thing you’ve made room for and let guide your way for so long. This thing that’s told you exactly who you are and who you aren’t, what you can do and won’t do.

You worry and even fear, what would happen if you let this thing go? Would you flourish, be free, grow, be who you really are, live the life you’ve always dreamed? 

Scary, right. It’s scary because it’s what you don’t know. 

Let me assure you that just because you know something and it’s comfortable in it’s own way doesn’t mean it’s right for you. The second you decide to let go of your past pain, this block that’s keeping you from moving forward, you’ll want to hunt me down and give me the biggest hug ever. It’s that good. 

Where you have to focus is what you do know.

What you know is that carrying this heavy weight is weighing you down. It’s keeping you from being and living from your truest expression. And that’s no bueno. That’s not a life any of us deserves to live. It’s not what’s meant for you.

What’s meant for you is a life where you’re free, unbound, limitless and forever growing forward!

Ashley Johns Peace Quote

So how do you make peace with your past so you can finally move forward to joy, peace and freedom? Here’s a roadmap I created for you that will help you move through this process one step at a time.

Take These 3 Steps To Make Peace With Your Past

1. Feel it to heal it. If you keep running and living from the place where you store your pain, you’re going to keep running to stand still. You’re running away from your trauma doing this. You have to make a really courageous choice to face yourself and these feelings once and for all. You’ve got to feel it to heal it. 

Are you ready? Here’s how you do it. Be sure that when you take this step, you’re in a place in your heart that’s willing to open and ready to go deeper into your true feelings. Once you’re ready, find yourself in a comfortable seated position. Be sure you’re in a place with no distractions, one where you can truly connect to yourself in this moment. Once you’re settled and ready, press play on this meditation, created by the wonderful Suzanne Heyn.

2. Let it be. You’ve worked through the meditation. In this time, you connected to your inner most feeling deep in your heart. Whatever came up, let it all in and let it be just as it is. As you move through the rest of your day, the next several days and week, continue to take it in by connecting with how you feel. This step is a little more abstract because we’re all going to have a completely unique experience with step 1. Whatever needed to come up, did. Accept that fully and work through that.

If you feel you haven’t hit the main trauma from your past, consider this: maybe you have. Maybe it just doesn’t look like you thought it would. Let your experience be by accepting it and honoring it in this moment of your life. In doing so, you should notice a shift taking place within you. An emotional, energetic movement happening. Let whatever happens be. Let it happen organically as you move throughout the rest of your day. 

3. Accept, honor and let your trauma move through you. As you’ve let the feelings come and go, accept your feelings fully by embracing them. The feelings you’re having are yours and yours alone. They matter so much because they’re trying to tell you something. They want you to embrace them with open arms so that they can move on because they’ve made you stronger. Honor whatever came up for you by seeing it and now, releasing it.

It doesn’t have to stay with you, let it move through and now, outside of you. Let it go. Just like that. Let it go.

Over the next several days, put your energy into being curious about what came up for you. Inquire with your inner self either by asking or journaling:

How has this feeling, limiting belief or pain shaped my life over the years?

Why was I holding onto it?

How do I feel now?

Is it still present within me or has it moved: completely or shape shifted into something else?

What has this pain taught me about myself? About others? About life?

Now, move forward.


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p.s. And this is life. When we move forward, we have to let go of things that were meant for us then so that we can live aligned in what’s meant for us now. It’s apart of life and living and moving forward. 

We have to feel to heal. 

To make peace with where we’ve been, where we are and most importantly, who we are. To fully accept our feelings, our limiting beliefs, our past, our pain…that allows us to open in our fullest expression. 

Just like a lotus grows through the mud. It doesn’t miss the step of slowing making its way up through the muck, it shifts, moves and carries it until it grows past it and through it and opens up. And it’s a part of the journey of the lotus, it’s not one that gets forgotten or pushed down never to be known…it’s what makes the journey of the lotus so beautiful, is that it grows through mud to become something beautiful on the other side.

Have you taken time in your journey to heal from your past traumas?

I’d love to hear from you. And if you feel this would help someone you know, please share it below with them.


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