Reconciling with the past creates hope for the future

This week in Australia is National Reconciliation Week. This is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements. Australia has a complex history full of hidden stories of trauma and pain. This year the theme is ‘In this Together,’ which encourages us all to consider and explore our individual role in contributing to reconciliation in Australia.

Reconciliation is not just forgiveness for past wrongs. Rather it is an interpersonal process of being vulnerable where you discuss what happened, exchange stories, express the hurt, listen, and begin to reestablish trust. It’s a complicated and involved process which moves beyond forgive and move on

At Outred Psychology, we understand the psychological process of reconciliation is not to delete the traumatic memories of the past - “To Forgive and Forget”. To do so is an empty and wicked attempt to absolve our guilty National conscience. Rather, we see the process of reconciliation as an ongoing and never ending journey we are all on to engage ‘and feel’ our National memories. Yet to ‘feel’ a traumatic memory is uncomfortable! Especially if we are in a position where we have benefitted from this trauma (land, money, power, status). However if we can all learn to feel our emotions regarding our Nations past without being reactive, we allow compassion, empathy, and trust to develop. We have the ability to change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.

So this National Reconciliation Week, we encourage you to just take a moment to reflect. This could be a 30 second thought about the issue, it could be reading this post, it could be choosing to read a book or watch a show about the topic. Whatever it is, I encourage you to lean in to the uncomfortable emotions, sit with them, and allow yourself to be part of this wonderful reconciliation journey we are all on together.

As a nature and water lover and someone who must connect with the natural world to find calm, I’d like to acknowledge the land that was taken by its rightful owners to afford me the privilege of my mental and physical health.

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