Holocaust survivor Edith Eger shares a profound understanding in her memoir, The Choice.
Conventional wisdom says that if something bothers you or causes you anxiety, then just don’t look at it. Don’t dwell on it. Don’t go there. So we run from past traumas and hardships or from current discomfort or conflict. For much of my adulthood I had thought my survival in the present depended on keeping the past and its darkness locked away…In my yearning to belong, in my fear of being swallowed up by the past, I worked very hard to kept my pain hidden…and in choosing not to face the past and myself directly, decades after my literal imprisonment had ended, I was still choosing not to be free. I had a secret, and my secret had me.
What would happen if instead of keeping your darkness locked away, you faced it, felt it, and heard a message of wisdom and hope from it?