All of us have gone through emotional and physical pain at some point or the other in our lives. Some of us hold on to the pain, go back and relive it again and again; while some others consciously choose to leave behind those distressing experiences, thoughts, and emotions to make space to grow and move forward.
‘Letting go’ is an essential inner skill which, in my own experience, is one of the hardest things to do. It could be a criticism from a colleague or an accusing comment from a family member. These thoughts can get ruminating. Our mind starts rehearsing painful experiences. We need to consciously train our mind to break this cycle, and this requires deep self-awareness, determination, and consistent practice.
‘Letting it go’ is not easy but holding on to pain can be more damaging.
Expressing our emotions: First step to letting go of negative emotions/experiences/ thoughts is to express it. Expressing our emotions in a safe space is a crucial step to process them before we are ready to let it go. We can talk to a trusted friend/ family member/ Therapist. Put it into words or journal our thoughts and emotions. Expressing what hurts us, helps to work through and heal from inside out.
Willingness & commitment: When we realize that our negative emotions is taking up too much of our mental space and energy, then it’s time to make conscious effort to work past these difficult emotions.
Reflect on how this is affecting your peace and happiness. Entice yourself with how leaving behind these thoughts and emotions can improve your quality of life. Once you identify what you need to let go of and once you are convinced of the benefits of letting go, it's time to sign off a commitment contract with yourself: commitment to stop reliving hurtful past experiences in your mind.
Be watchful of your own thoughts. Spot and stop yourself whenever you find your thoughts going back to painful experiences and reliving it again. Consciously divert your mind to something positive, engage in any physical activity, go out for a walk, dance to a tune, clean up your room, have a conversation with someone, watch a movie or cook a meal.
Acceptance: Letting go involves some level of forgiveness or acceptance, whether it is of ourselves or a situation or some other person.
It is an ideal but very rare situation when we get an opportunity to talk through the issue that we have had with the concerned person. We may never get a “closure” that we think we deserve. By waiting for them to give an explanation or apology, we are empowering them to influence how we feel.
Fully accepting the situation as it is or accepting people for who they are is the only way to move forward making place for and taking control of our own happiness.
Let me share “Let it go” Art Therapy Directive that will help us:
Explore things that we need to change or let go of; things which is holding us back in our life.
To gain a clear sense of purpose as to why we need to move beyond certain things in life.
How to do it:
Take a piece of paper and draw few balloons. This can be customised to drawing a heart or tracing your palm based on individual preference.
Ask yourself “What in my life would I like to let go of”. It could be any of your behavior pattern, beliefs or emotions that is holding you back from being the best that you can be.
Write/ draw these things on the balloon.
Observe your drawing closely and reflect on how these things are affecting your life? Are they helping you or obstructing your wellness?
Take a moment close your eyes, take few deep breaths.
Visualize yourself letting go of all that you have written on the balloons. Visualize these balloons flying in the sky! Take your time and keep this on as long as you want. Open your eyes when you are ready.
On other side of the paper, write down how it would feel if you let go of everything on the list. How will this help you to live a healthier and fulfilling life?
Do this activity repeatedly, at least once a week till you feel that you are ready to let go.