This is not Disney; this is your life.
Oh, so true John. And life can leave you feeling stressed, angry, sad, resentful, hateful, jealous, lonely, depressed, confused, deceived, betrayed, hurt, etc…
The list of negative emotions that we can feel throughout our life is huge!
Something I know intellectually and am working on emotionally is the skill of letting go.
Sometimes, it’s just so hard to let go of these feelings.
We want to feel angry and we have a really good reason! But does being angry for a long time serve us?
No. It doesn’t hurt the person who did you wrong. It just hurts you.
You are the one whose heart is angry.
I do think anger is a useful emotion and we do need to feel our anger and delve into it. And go through it. But we don’t want to become stuck.
Same with any negative emotion. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and really feel them. And move through them. Being stuck is the problem.
When we realize that we have become stuck in an emotion or several emotions (and that will take some honest introspection) what can we do?
Let them go.
These are some ideas that may help:
Acceptance. Stop expecting your life to be any different from what it is now.
It is what it is.
Acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t aim for a better life. We do need to have goals and plans. But we don’t say or think — “ This shouldn’t be this way.”
Shouldn’t is the word that keeps us stuck. Why shouldn’t it?
It actually is this way. Accept this and move on.
To really accept things you MUST stop living in the past.
The past is gone. You cannot change it. Stop wishing you could change it.
The time has come to make peace with the past. Feel the emotions and process the past, change what you can, and then live in the present.
Make your life now the best you can.
Take responsibility for your life.
You can only change yourself. And where you are in your life is partly due to the choices you yourself made. Yes, other people can wrong you and they do and some events are way beyond our control.
Your life is your responsibility. When we blame others, we have no power. When you claim responsibility for your life and your circumstances and your feelings — that’s when you take your power back.
Own Your Shit!
Which means you need to figure out what your shit is.
For example, you have a relationship that didn’t work out? What was your role? When you figure this out, then you lessen the chance you will do the same damage in the next relationship. And you have the power to make changes.
You will never change another person. So stop beating your head against the wall.
Remember you have the choice of how you respond.
I recently wrote about personal power, and I said this:
Your attitude, your reactions are your key to your personal power.
Working on developing positive, life-affirming reactions to times of stress will help lessen the depression, anxiety, and confusion that comes in these times of trouble.
Of course, we won’t be perfect.
The first step is to be aware of your knee-jerk reactions. Then work on putting a pause between the event and the reaction.
Over time we can lengthen that pause.
Or change our reaction.
Or as Joel Osteen says:
Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. — Joel Osteen
There are many other ways you can work on letting negative emotions go.
This can be a lifetime pursuit but realize that holding on to anger and hurt only hurts yourself.
The thing about forgiveness is this — it doesn’t mean what happened was okay, or that you will forget. It doesn’t mean you can have (or want to have) that person in your life, ever. It doesn’t mean you allow them to influence you at all. It just means you are releasing the negative emotion and freeing yourself from the bonds of anger or hurt.
It is hard. I am working on this. Like I said in the beginning, these are things I know intellectually, but admit to struggling with in my life.
I need constant reminders to put me back on track. I have several negative emotions that I feel stuck in right now and I am aware of them. I will probably need time to get unstuck as some of these wounds are fresh. But some are old and I need to release them — let them go. For my sake.
I am mostly writing this for myself, so don’t feel bad if you suck at all of these ideas. I certainly do! Most of us do. But as we work on them, hopefully, the letting go process can begin.