Let It Go
Learn to let go of negativity for a happier and more carefree life
As we approach the end of the year, we often lament about how quickly the year flew by. And more often than not, amidst the year-end frenzy of parties and family vacations, we come up with a list of new year’s resolutions (that we struggle to stick to past January)!
Yet, to truly move forward and grow into the best versions of ourselves, it’s important to take stock of where we are. It’s great to have tangible goals (like working towards a promotion or mastery of a new skill), but intangible ones – like emotional health, are equally important.
The reality is, with our hectic modern-day schedules, many of us deal with heartbreaks and anger by simply sweeping them under the rug. Life gets overwhelming at times and before we know it, we’ve accumulated years of resentment and emotional baggage. With the new year just around the corner, there’s no matter time than now to make a real change by addressing these emotions once and for all. and look back at the biggest disappointments and heartaches you experienced this past year. Perhaps you parted ways with a partner in a less than amicable manner, or perhaps you’re estranged from a family member… but whether you’re dealing with relationship uncertainty or unresolved conflict, properly processing the pent-up anger and hurt will allow you to move on without carrying all that extra emotional baggage.
Acknowledge Your Emotions, Then Let Them Go
When it comes to dealing with anger or heartache, many of us make the common mistake of trying to hide from our emotions by sweeping them under the rug, in the hopes that the discomfort will go off by itself one fine day. Yet, disregarding the pain does nothing to relieve us from the anger and hurt. Instead, this only serves to trivialise our emotions.
To truly practice the art of mindfulness, take the first step by acknowledging the validity of your emotions. Try talking to a close friend or if you prefer, pen your feelings down in a diary. This practice helps you to understand your right to feel – without rushing through your emotions. Having the courage to face your pain and vulnerability teaches you to be stronger. You learn that it is okay to be experiencing what you’re going through.
Then, make the conscious decision to let it go. Not because you are already over it, but because you realise that while you can’t do anything to change something that angered or hurt you, you have the choice to be proactive about how you allow past events to affect your emotional health and the way you live your life. Above all, you’ll realise that letting go helps yourself more than it helps anyone else, and that carrying the anger and pain only burdens you emotionally.
Quit The Blame Game And Focus On The Present
When we feel hurt and angered by others, it is easy to play the blame game and claim victim. According to Holly Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in San Francisco, “the problem with blaming others is that it can often leave you powerless. For example, you confront the person (your boss, your spouse, your parent, your child), and they say, ‘No, I didn’t,’ or worse, ‘So what if I did?’ Then you’re left with all this anger and hurt and no resolution.”
Obsessing over the what-ifs in such scenarios, or mentally replaying what could have been if you had done things differently, will not change the current outcome. Instead, try focusing on the other things you’ve got going on in life. “All your feelings are legitimate. It’s important to feel them fully, and then move on. Nursing your grievances indefinitely is a bad habit, because it hurts you more than it hurts them,” Brown adds. Don’t get side-tracked and miss out on the love and support of the other people who are still in your life.
Appreciate The Power In Forgiveness
If you think forgiving the person who caused your anger and pain is like giving him/her the easy way out, think again. “Rage is like the giant billboard advertising the evils of our assailant,” says Judith Sills, Ph.D., who is an author and contributing editor for the workplace at Psychology Today. Her analogy could explain why it seems easier to continue harbouring anger. But she also adds that forgiveness is possible from the moment you realise that “the cost of you carrying that rage exceeds the rewards of punishing the offender”.
Ask yourself if the emotional turmoil caused by holding on to the rage, is even worth it. When you drag anger and pain around, you subconsciously close yourself off to positivity. Give forgiveness a try, and you just might be surprised by how that emotional release lets you make room for happiness and bliss to enter your life!