One could argue that everything in this world is quickly becoming about convenience. Convenient fast food, convenient transport, convenient bill paying, convenient shopping. But when it comes to feeling, we simply cannot afford to conveniently just ‘let it go’. I have heard a number of clients say to me: ‘I just need to let it go’. Well, that would be the ultimate convenience (in my line of work, anyway!)
Let’s stop and think about this for a minute. Letting go of some emotional turmoil, of some burden you’ve carried for years, of a traumatic experience or just being annoyed by the sales assistant who looked you up and down and judged you. It is now part of you. It forms part of your life experience. There may be a lesson in it, or there may not. But it still happened to you. You can’t just let it go and go happily about your life. Well, some people can, but they’re the exception, not the rule.
Now think about the process of grief. It’s fairly well established now that one simply can’t just ‘let go’ of their lost beloved. It’s a PROCESS. You go through various stages in various ways in a varying order. You go back a few steps, you leap forward. It’s unstructured, it’s messy, but most importantly: it’s emotional.
If we take the same approach to ‘letting go’ of our negative experiences we will see that it is also a process. There are many facets to these experiences. Life isn’t one dimensional, it’s complex and complicated. It’s full of ups and downs, ins and outs, rounds and rounds. But rather than conveniently just ‘letting go’, how about we hold on until we’ve fully processed and then just ‘let it be’?
I often explain to my clients what I passionately believe is missing from our lives: instead of going AROUND the pain, the hurt, the sorrow – go THROUGH it. You need to feel it. Feel it every which way you can deeply, to your core. It’s only after we have experienced fully what emotions are attached to the experience that we can truly let it go. But don’t expect that big problems are solved quickly; you need to process all the facets of it which takes TIME. It takes work. But you’ll come out the other end of it stronger and lighter.
Rather than getting caught up in the convenience of ‘letting it go’, let’s start working through the experience. You can do this by:
- Taking 5-10 minutes at a time to just think about the negative experience
- Replaying in your mind what happened and letting out the feelings that come up
- Notice where the feelings are sitting in your body and try to explore the feeling
- Notice how the feelings move around the body as you let the emotions out (or suppress them!)
Let us start to concentrate on feeling before we try to let go of any negative experience. Your body will thank you.