As much as I believe in talking something out, I also believe that there’s a time and place where, in order to stay balanced and healthy, a pestering issue needs to be laid to rest. Overly talking about and ruminating over an issue, can easily become more the issue. Meaning, too much attention on the perceived problem becomes the problem itself. Trying to figure out the problem. Trying to understand the problem. Worrying about the problem. Talking in circles about the problem.
This bad habit causes suffering and leads to absolutely nowhere.
Being a natural over analyzer myself, I’ve personally found that after enough healthy introspection has been done around a specific issue, turning toward what’s light, inspiring and fun is an important step toward moving beyond something. When you’re going through something difficult, you have to be reminded that there’s joy on the other side of the issue. You need proof that you can feel good again. You can only find this proof when you allow yourself to be in the space outside the worry.
The other day, I randomly grabbed a magazine to read at the local library. I happened to turn right to an article that impacted me and was the source of inspiration for this blog. It was titled, It’s Time to Graduate From Self-Defeating Habits and Begin Your Glorious Future, by Martha Beck. I thought about the glorious future that I’m going toward and decided to read on.
I loved the simplicity of the author’s message when advising about how to get over a hardship. It was free of any sort of psychoanalysis and headiness, which is an approach that I very much appreciate and believe in as a therapist myself.
Here’s what she said:
“I want you to pick a day when you’ll be over this. It can be in a week or a year, but that will be your graduation day. Once it comes, you’re done with this subject.”
That’s right. Just decide and accept that “it’s done” and let it go. Graduate from the burden of your worry and just decide it’s beyond you. Hell yes! Process your stuff. Feel the emotions and then, please, learn to put it behind you.
Believe me, I get the “How the hell do you even do that? How do you let something go that was so significant, hurtful and the source of so much pain?” I write this post with conviction because (I was-SLASH- can still be) the girl that struggles to let a painful hurt go. It’s been one of my major life lessons that I continue to hone.
With no clue of how to let something go in my past, my over thinking and circling around a painful topic in conversations with friends or in my own head became more my issue. The issue wasn’t what had happened that initially caused me pain, it was how I was coping with it. Attempting to move forward while bringing my past crap into the present put a residue on every new situation. For example, when on a date with a hot new man, it was too bad that all I could think about was my hurt from my past relationship that was also on the date with us. A total set up for a crash and burn outcome. It was like carrying around stinky laundry everywhere I went. I freshened up all I could, but no matter how cleaned up I became, I always had the stink of my past with me. It put a damper on every new possibility.
To give you a picture of my inability to “let pain go,” I remember feeling really pissed off when friends changed the subject on my pain or didn’t hold the space for me to talk about it for the 100th time. I was convinced that, “They don’t care” or “They don’t get it.” Now, if this response from my people occurred when I initially went to them to seek support, these thoughts would have had more validity. However, after months and years of struggling with being caught in my own head, I see how their lack of attention to my perpetual need to talk about what had happened was their loving attempt to help me move forward. They didn’t want to give my obsessive thoughts more energy.
We have all experienced the person who appears to be continually stuck on something or someone. I’m all for processing through an issue so it can sit somewhere within that is more settled, although there’s a tipping point where there’s no more to say or do and it’s time to let go.
Think about what you’re still holding onto and pick a graduation day. Commit in your heart that when this day comes you will be graduated from this problem, meaning it will be officially behind you. The cool concept about graduation is that when you graduate from something, there’s no going back.
You can’t go back to high school because you have already graduated. You can’t redo something that’s done. So be done. Do what you need to do to work through your emotions and give yourself a specific date for the issue to be put in the past with the door firmly, yet comfortably closed. You deserve to walk into your future with light and love in your heart. In order to do this you need to free yourself of the heavy pains and burdens that you’re carrying with you into your future. It’s shading your light.
Free yourself friends by letting go. Your life will improve if you do so.
Above image is by photographer, Amy Lynn Bjornson.