How to find peace?

I'm unable to get out of my past or perhaps I'm living in my past. I hate myself for what I did to myself and although I know praying to god helps me and He has forgiven me, but I feel like I have no one.
Asked by Jeeks

Hi Jeeks, Thank you so much for reaching out for support on the BetterHelp platform! I really appreciate you taking the time to ask this valuable question about making positive changes as a means to find a way to let go of your past in order to pursue a semblance of peace. You have certainly come to the right place.

Based on what you wrote in your question, it sounds like you have been feeling this way for quite some time. It may be helpful for you to begin to identify which aspects of your past are truly holding you back from your goal of letting go. I can understand that it is a challenging task to process and let go of the past. Please consider having some hope, as well as faith, that the therapists available on the BetterHelp platform are here to guide you in this therapeutic journey.

I truly admire your goal of trying to find peace with yourself and with your past. It sounds like that you do have some hope that you can attain peace in some way and at some point. I realize how challenging it can be to let go of the things that have happened in the past but I believe that you can do it. Essentially, it is going to make a difference in your future based on how you choose to process your past.

As Francine Shapiro, a well renowned American Psychologist and the founder of the therapeutic modality known today as EMDR once said, "The past is the present. It pushes you." It is true that the past influences and impacts human behavior, thoughts and feelings in the present moment. If we were without our memories and our most deep seated thoughts, experiences and feelings, who would we actually be?

It sounds like you really do value peace, and I can tell that you are looking to find some peace within and for yourself. I recommend taking some time to implement the EMDR inner peace place exercise. Initially, the development of the inner peaceful place must come from the self. I will share with you the link to this EMDR based technique:

The inner peaceful place goes like this:

Imagine a place, real or fantasy, that provides a safe space for you to be comforted. Imagine that feeling safe is only seconds away from the present moment. If you can picture this place, what things might you notice seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling? Tap into your five sense for this exercise and imagine yourself feeling grounded and okay in the present moment.

Some people may choose to imagine laying on the beach, hiking to the top of a mountain or strolling through the park. Who might be with you in this space? What might you decide to bring with you? Ultimately, this guided visualization exercise is geared towards helping individuals to establish safety, provide relaxation and bring an overall sense of comfort to the present moment. Your inner peaceful place can manifest itself in your life. Remember that no matter where you are physically located and what emotions you are currently feeling, you can return to this place at any time.

If you have some time and are willing, you may want to create a therapeutic drawing, painting or a collage of your inner peaceful place. Perhaps you can find an image online that is akin to your imagined peaceful space. Having a visual cue close to you will serve as a reminder of the image you harbor as peace. It will also bring you closer to your desired place of peace.

In addition to securing an inner peaceful place, I recommend that you continue your pursuit of prayer. I think that it is a great thing that you have been praying to God for forgiveness and asking for His assistance. It is awesome that you know that God has forgiven you. It is such a wonderful strength of yours to be so in tune with your spirituality. I hope that you continue to value yourself as a spiritual being.

A prayer for forgiveness is a truly amazing and powerful thing. It may help if you choose to begin your day with a prayer of forgiveness for yourself. In some ways, this might help you to forgive yourself first and foremost! Think of forgiving yourself for what happened in your past as a great gift that you have the ability to give to yourself. 
Take a moment to contemplate how far you have come and how hard you have worked to get to where you are today. Thinking in these terms will likely help you to realize that you are deserving of such gifts, including the gifts of forgiveness and of peace. It may take some time, but perhaps you will begin to realize that some of the things that have happened in your past were not always circumstances that were within your control or perhaps you were just simply going through the journey that will lead you to the place where you are meant to be.

At this time, I recommend individual counseling services on a weekly or biweekly basis. I can tell that you have a lot of experiences that you are willing to process. I wonder if group therapy services would also be beneficial for you at this time. It sounds like you feel that you have nobody to rely on at this time. It may be helpful for you to join a therapy or support group as a means to connect with other people and engage in social interactions.

Thank you, Jeeks, again for your time in exploring this topic on the BetterHelp "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey now and in the future. With a combination of hope, faith, and prayer, you will surely be able to find a connection to your perfect place of peace. Stay positive and be well!