It’s something that is so beneficial for us but can be hard to do. It never seems as straight forward or as simple as just letting go as there are usually strong thoughts and/or feelings involved and the situations always seem complex but maybe we just overthink it?
Up until I was around 22 years old I was able to strongly hold a grudge against someone and it could’ve been about something that was actually minor or something that happened years ago. I would keep hold of the feeling they gave me (this could be anger, guilt, anxiety, pain etc) and carry it all around with me every day. Every now and again I would get reminders of that time and the feelings I felt would come along with it as well, it was a vicious cycle that prevented me from moving on with my life.
When predicaments, harsh words or any sort of situation arises in my life my overall outlook will go either way which is ‘Shit happens’, ‘This is not something I care about’ or ‘Life goes on’. Each one is used differently but they all help me to let go.
Well it does. This is my most commonly used phrase, I usually use this one if I have made a mistake, made a tit of myself or something hasn’t quite gone to plan. If I am going through an anxious period it can be harder for me to let things go. For example, say I forgot to do something at work, if my anxiety is bad at the time, I will dwell on that for dayssss, no matter how small of a thing it is, I can dwell on it for many days just purely because I go into overdrive thinking and replaying it in my head. If this happens I just try and take a step back, analyse whether it is my anxiety or me talking and then figure out whether the situation needs to be dealt with (i.e if it is anxiety then I know I need to do some more self-care) or whether I just simply need to say “Shit happens my friend”. Shit happens can sometimes be followed by ‘It could always be worse’ because it could. I can guarantee there are many, many other people out there in the world that have it worse than me and my friends/family.
This is not something I care about.
This one relates to either a social situation, my insecurities or anything others say/do. Basically, if I don’t care for the action, I do not care (I have written in more detail about how I came to prioritising my cares which you can read here). Back in the day I used to care way too much about what others thought about me (seriously, this really is not worth caring about). Say someone said something about me that could easily be taken offensively; I ask myself if it is worth a reaction. Chances are it never is. This one relates heavily to my anxiety. Prioritising my cares allowed me to let go of pointless (usually negative) shit that is not worth my time or energy.
Life goes on.
This is a saying I use if a personal situation (with either someone I know or just myself) arises. It helps me during times when something has happened that is out of my control life does go on. The world doesn’t pause itself when event occurs in your life. Your life still goes by but you can choose how to live your life after the event. You can either keep hold of the memory which could result in you being held back by yourself or you can accept what happened and choose how to continue with your life.
When it came to me letting go of my past, the hardest part was forgiving those that had caused me some sort of pain. Forgiving what happened, what was said/done and what choices were made takes a lot of courage and strength. A big part of forgiving is realising that you may never get an apology from those that hurt you. Waiting for an apology will only hold you back more and keep you feeling that pain or hurt. Usually when we keep hold of memories/emotions we prevent ourselves from reaching our full potential in our lives as part of us remains caught up in that memory, thought or feeling. Well, what does that do for us? Not much my friend but it is important to remember that there is no deadline to when you should’ve let something or someone go. CBT helped me alter my perception on my life as a whole which then helped me to not only forgive those that had hurt me, but to forgive myself for beating myself up and keeping hold of the negativity.
I blamed myself for a lot of what happened to me. I was convinced that it must be me that causes this bad shit to happen as no one else seemed to take the blame but other people won’t always take the blame (as that usually requires some hard realisations on their part) but that does not mean that you are always to blame either. Sometimes people act/say out of impulse, to try and fit in or for humour (even if it ain’t funny). This is not your fault. Over the time I have had a lot of comments about my body, my intellect, my lifestyle and me as a whole and some things were hard to let go of but I did not cause any of those comments. Those comments weren’t coming from me, they were coming from other people (who, lets just say, we weren’t on the same level) and that is not my issue, it is theirs. Not my issue, not my problem therefore I am not keeping hold of that shit.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to letting go such as:
– Start off by making the decision to let it go.
– Be gentle and kind with yourself. Do not force anything.
– Focus on the present
– Talk about it
– Express whatever you need to express
– Practise mindfulness
– Allow the negative emotions to flow
– Accept that you might not get an apology
– Spend your time with people that value you
– Remember you have plenty of time!
Don’t spend most of your life living in the past. Remain in the present moment and take care of yourself.
Sending much love to you all,