Letting it go Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Friday, 20 April 2018 14:45
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Something happened to a woman I used to know. About twenty years ago. She was a psychologist.

Probably still is. I don’t know. In any case, she lost a patient. Suicide. And of course she felt responsible. Wasn’t it her job to prevent it? Did she push too hard? Not hard enough?

Her guilt feelings were a burden she couldn’t let go of. Until someone gave her the sort of advice that opened her eyes to what she was doing to herself. It involved a stone. She had to pack as big a stone as she could into her handbag. And then lug it around with her wherever she went.

This she diligently did for a long time. Eventually she started getting shoulder spasms. The burden was just way too heavy. All she wanted to do was to put it down somewhere and walk away from it.

You see, sometimes we need some sort of externalisation of that which is going on inside of us, before we can understand it. Maybe that’s why we need rituals. Dressing up. Burning stuff. Discarding things until you understand that suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.

Indian mystic Osho said that. He said that “when you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you.”

I’m not suggesting you ignore your emotions, that you stifle your feelings. Before you can let go of a hurt, you have to feel it fully. Then ask yourself: Do I want to feel like this? So, maybe you do. Maybe you want to wallow for a while.

Dr William Frey II, biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Centre in Minneapolis, writes that crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress.

Still, the point is not to sit there crying forevermore. Give yourself a rant window. Decide how long you’re going to let yourself vent. Then ask again: Do I want to feel like this? If not, reach for relief, like Abraham Hicks says: Reach towards a beter feeling thought.

Judith Sills writes that one powerful strategy for easing the pain of the past is to rewrite key aspects of the story from a more balanced perspective. She says that a healthy rewrite makes you less victimized, less devastated, less lost than the one you told yourself at the time of the original injury.

For example, Judith writes, “I was bitter for a long time because my husband had an affair that ended our marriage. I was unhappy in the marriage, but at least I didn’t betray him! I stopped being angry when I saw that his affair unlocked the door for both of us. I got to leave and still be the good guy. That was a gift.”

Rewrites, says Judith, do not attempt to change the facts. They simply see those facts through more mature, more empathetic, less injured eyes. Those eyes help you to let go.

“Simply put, we are our story. Not so much the story of the events in our lives but the story we tell ourselves about the role we played in the events – hero or victim, beloved or unworthy, competent or careless.”

Eckhart Tolle often refers to “me and my story” when he explains that thoughts alone are not the cause of our suffering and unhappiness. It is when we identify and attach ourselves to them that we stumble. He says that we maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto pain far beyond its ability to serve us.

Yes, girlfriend, it hurts. I get that. But, says John M Grohol, what you do with your hurt is almost certainly even more important than the hurt itself. What most people do is sing yet another somebody-done-somebody-wrong song.

Blaming others for your hurt seriously backfires. It makes you a victim and puts you into powerless mode. How to prevent that? You do it the way you do everything else. From the inside out.

Focus only on what can be changed – your own thoughts. Then remember that you are not your thoughts. You are the one observing them. So, girlfriend, pick one that feels delightful to you. A thought, that is. Then play with it. Nothing is more worthwhile than that you feel good.

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