Recently, I became incredibly aware of a rat’s nest of feelings, emotions, and varying opinions that really caught me off guard with the intensity and force with which they caught my attention.
As I started to process the considerable amount of feelings while probably reliving a bit of the emotional experience, I quickly shifted to wondering how this experience “snuck up on me.” Truth is, it didn’t just appear out of nowhere; it was triggered, and yikes if it wasn’t making a statement at this given moment.
This led me to consider how something can impact our lives, but once the moment is over, we choose (on some level) to hold onto the experience and feelings for some reason. Even more puzzling is the choice to revisit the experience as if the first few times were not painful or distressing enough; we sometimes review it as a means of healing. A shift to forgiving and letting go would be a better use of time, energy, and soulful intentions.
Which brings me to the point of this blog- letting go. Sounds great as we speak the words; good feeling to say we are going to “let it go,” but it’s an often complex and tedious process to move towards. Interesting to note the impact that holding onto hurt feelings and unproductive resolutions can have on us. According to studies, when we choose to hold onto hurt, it can result in low self-esteem, poor coping skills, and maybe resentment & grudges toward others.
Somewhere along this path of life, I have continued to hear a statement that applies here, but it also holds such a foundation of truth- holding onto the hurt only hurts you. With that philosophy, let’s consider how letting go can genuinely release the emotional attachment of the experience, which relieves us of the hurt while moving us closer to healing and living a more contented life.
Letting go is hard. It’s changing, something different, it’s usually by surprise, and it can also challenge your beliefs and ideas and shake your faith in what you have always known to be “the truth.” For whatever reason, letting go means confronting uncertainty by being vulnerable.
How does one actually start moving in the direction of letting go? Let’s consider a few steps toward that end goal. From a mindset perspective, try to put your hurt feelings into words and start feeling comfortable with those emotions and understand the purpose is to identify, address, and resolve to heal.
Next, remember your commitment to letting go, and often that means accepting things as they are, both your parts and those actions of others. Control is an illusion; therefore, things happen, and we all should own our contributions to the events. Now with that same awareness and admission, forgive yourself and others. Do not confuse forgiveness with forgetting. Two separate entities and energy factors. Forgiveness is possible, but forgetting doesn’t mean ignoring the event or the feelings. It just means you have chosen to forgive and move forward while taking your newly acquired life wisdom to not revisit repeated incidents/persons/situations, for you have accepted the life lesson.
For the above, many, if not most of us, will require support. Whether that’s family, friends, or a therapist, always appreciate the value and strength a good support system can be in times of confusion, hurt, and emotional recovery.
Focusing on yourself and your happiness is essential work. According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., “creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” she explains. Shift your attention from the challenging life event and shift to focus on gratitude. Develop a mindfulness practice that helps lessen the impact of events and focuses more on being present and then using that freedom to move through our emotions a bit easier.
Once you are able to place yourself in a less emotional and reactive state, then consider the temporary state of emotions, especially negative ones, and focus your attention on accepting the life event, the life lesson encompassed in the exchange, and then forgive yourself (and others if the case) so the negative experience becomes transitional and not a permanent fixture. Self-care here is also a healthy alternative by way of your favorite activities, journaling, meditation, or other creative outlets for energy and process time.
Forgiveness is fundamental to the healing process for many reasons. First, forgiveness allows you to let go of anger, guilt, shame, sadness, or any other feeling you may be experiencing and move on. Secondly, accepting that an acknowledgment or apology you are seeking from the other person might not be forthcoming, so by forgiving and moving on, you have resolved the issue independently and not waiting for someone to provide you with the event closure you are seeking. Lastly, forgiveness and letting go is challenging for most. If you are struggling with any of the above, know you can reach out to an experienced professional to assist you along the journey.
To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to you Ó.as your practice refocuses on how you see the problem, and celebrate the small victories you have achieved so far.
Lastly, and most importantly, be kind to you. Being hurt is inevitable, pain cannot be avoided, and disruptions are a part of life. But how we react and treat ourselves and others is within our abilities to influence and manage. “Hurt is inevitable, and we may not be able to able to avoid pain; however, we can choose to treat ourselves kindly and lovingly when it comes,” Lisa Olivera explains.
Remember, you are your best and most important asset. Your peace of mind, mental health, and general contentment are how you ground yourself from which to live your best life!
If you want to learn more, let’s connect at email@example.com to set up an appointment. Until then, be well, my friends!
Dr. Shana Garrett