"Just get over it. That’s what I heard every time someone told me to “let it go” when I was growing up.
I felt this was incredibly insensitive—that someone who clearly didn't understand the depth of my pain would suggest that moving beyond it was as simple as “letting it go.”
As if “letting it go” was a simple, one-time decision, like pulling off a Band-Aid. Like I just needed to decide to vacuum up all the hurt within my head and my heart, and toss the bag in the trash, allowing myself to bask in the bliss of a clean mental space.
“Let it go” seemed like advice from the disinterested and lazy. If they really cared, they would have listened, empathized, and realized how complex and overwhelming the situation really was.
I had to dwell on it, complain about it, and analyze it ad nauseum. It was just that bad. And anyone who cared about me would know better than try to minimize it.
I've since realized that I was right in two regards: For one, empathy can make a huge difference, since everything feels more bearable when we sense others truly understand. And secondly, some people were disinterested.
But it wasn't always because they didn't care. Sometimes they just couldn't listen anymore, and in some cases, they knew it wasn't helping.
Cruel though it may have seemed back then, refusing to listen to a repetitive negative story can actually be an act of kindness.
Because dwelling, complaining, and analyzing rarely help. Sure, we need to acknowledge and work through our feelings. But obsessing about them is a surefire way to keep ourselves miserable and stuck.
It turns out “let it go” can be pretty helpful advice. The question is: How?
How do you let go of anger when your first thought in the morning, the last one at night, and a majority of the ones in between revolve around how you were hurt?
How do you let go of resentment when it feels you’ll never be able to change the things that you resent?
How do you let go of frustration when you feel stuck, stagnant, and completely powerless to change it?
How do you let go of worries when even the thought of letting them go fills you with worry?
And how do you let go of your disappointment with yourself when you try your best to “just let it go” and continually struggle to do it?
“Letting go” is such an abstract concept. What can we do, or not do, to put it into practice—and effectively?
I've devoted much of the last seven years to studying the art of letting go. I've learned a few things that help with all disempowering emotions—and a few things to address some of the specific ones that are the most difficult to release.
In this email series, I’ll tackle them one by one, with five additional emails beyond this one addressing how to let go of:
Each email will offer a few simple things you can do to release the feelings, come back to the present moment, and find a sense of peace. You will receive them every seven days from this point forward.
I hope you find the series helpful!
This has helped me a lot and I wanted to share it. You can apply it to lots of things not just infidelity It also helped me realize that people did get tired of hearing about it. That hurt my feelings at the time but yes the tired of hearing it person or disinterested person has a right to their boundaries as well.
In letting go a tool I learned on SI is to schedule a time for grief and sadness. During this period I allowed myself to be sad and to express my emotions. When the time was up it was time to put it away until next time, yes compartmentalize- in order to function and take care of daily tasks that needed to be taken care of. I don't want to be a prisoner or victim of emotional pain, yet denying it is not healthy either. Recent past, long ago past, doesn't matter.