To me, “let it go” is not only the most annoying song on the planet (sorry Frozen fans), but can be a trap for many of us. It is easy to tell someone, “just let it go,” yet doing it can be a chore that can leave some of us more frustrated than free.
Why? At several times throughout our life journey we need to process and FEEL things before we are ready to let it go.
We may need time for the energy around an event to calm, so the fog clears enough for us to begin to deal with what occurred, how we feel and how we can heal.
FOR EXAMPLE: Let’s imagine two people have been in a romantic relationship for 3 years. One person is very happy in their relationship, and come home one day with a “Dear John” letter from their partner telling them they no longer love them and have moved out. The person left will most likely be overwhelmed with confusion and sadness, having no idea what happened or why. Their happy life was turned upside down and they never saw it coming.
Telling this heart broken soul to “let it go” will not work. They need time for the confusion to clear from their mind and the pain to subside from their heart. Then, they can start to heal.
If we simply push down the pain and force ourselves to “let it go,” it is like pushing a beach ball into the water in a pool. We may be able to hold it down for a little while, but in time, it will pop back up strongly with force and we will have to face it.
So, what do we do instead? My mentors have taught me to (1) have compassion for myself, (2) face the situation truthfully, (3) ask myself what I can learn from this, and (4) look for things to be grateful for.
Another highly effective tool is the Three Day Pause Button: anytime something “bad” happens, hit an internal pause button for 3 days and make an appointment for 3 days from the event to freak out if needed. During those 3 days, look for ALL the possible good that can come out of it. If you need to break down in 3 days… go for it! Usually however, the pain has subsided, you have seen a ton of good and you can start the process of healing. (Or, you can hit it again as I have in the past.)
With the relationship breakup example, here is some possible good: no longer need to share a closet, don’t have to worry about their habits, can have the entire bed, can eat what I want / when I want…. The list can go on, if we just look for it!
Also, remind yourself that no matter what, you will be OK! You have most likely been through a lot and will get through this too. Be kind to yourself, love yourself and know in time you will be whole again.
When someone you adore is in a painful situation, try not to push them to “let it go” before they are ready. It can often only add to their frustration, anger, resentment… having the opposite effect of helping them.
I am not saying this is easy and can take some strength, but you have it in you to tackle these very powerful strategies, versus trying to just “let it go” before you (or they) are ready to. I hope this helps beautiful butterfly!