How has it affected you?
So, we've been honest and we've looked at what the past was. We've accepted our part; we've been honest about others'. We've stopped trying to run from it. We've stopped trying to ignore it, and we've chosen to face it head-on. We're no longer pretending that the past didn't happen. So, now what?
But, I do believe that everything we go through, whether it's good or bad, has an effect on us. The things we experience change our character, our beliefs, our abilities to be empathetic creatures. We are affected.
So, look at the past that you can't let go. Look at it and ask yourself, "How am I different because I went through this?" Your answers might be good and they might be bad. Two people's answers about the same situation might even be totally different.
My parents divorced when I was nine years old. I had two younger sisters, and I took it upon myself to be the second mother to them. Sometimes, that meant keeping an eye when we went to my dad's. Sometimes that meant entertaining the younger ones while my mom was studying for finals. Taking on that responsibility was something that made me grow up faster than maybe I should have. But, I've always looked back on that, not with bitterness, but with appreciation. I've always felt like it developed a motherly instinct in me that I've used as I studied to be a teacher and as I've become a mother myself.
I took a class in college in early childhood education, and I remember a day where we were discussing our upbringings. The girl next to me had almost the exact same situation that I did. Parents divorced when she was young, she took over a lot of responsibility at a young age. But... she came out of it with a lot of bitterness that I just didn't have. That made me see that different people can get totally different things out of the same experiences... and that the same experiences can have both positive and negative effects on people.
Back to your past... really think about how you're different. What lessons have you learned? How has your past changed how you deal with people, yourself, your life, your choices? Are there changes in you, as a result of your past, that you're glad time has wrought? And likewise, are there changes that you regret and that you wish you could take back?
What are they? Be honest about them, both the good and the bad. Write them down and embrace them as truth. They're a part of who you are now - not the only part, but they contribute to the person you are today.
Are there any you're willing to share?