Letting Go Makes Room For the Positive
Have you noticed that letting go or moving past through negative thoughts, emotions, experiences, behaviours is a difficult task to do? Rest assure you’re not alone and this is quite normal. Our brains are made this way. It is as though we hold on to negative things like Velcro because this is how our brain reacts to protect us. By holding on to negative thoughts and feelings, it serves as a reminder to not allow those events to happen again.
This protective mechanism we have is like a double-edged sword. On one side it protects us by helping us remember. On the other side, by holding onto these negative thoughts/feelings we become stuck. We end up reliving them in our minds if we allow them to take over and can even form behaviours or habits that are no longer useful to us.
I noticed I would go through cycles like the above whenever I was going through challenging events in my life. Whether they were relationship problems or dealing with stressful work events. In order to not get hurt or make those mistakes again I would shut down, and go into a “zombie” mode – where I won’t allow myself to feel at all. Or I would fester and relive over events of what went wrong and focus on how crappy I feel. Instead of seeing the problem as is, I would run over those negative scenarios over and over in my head until I was in a heightened state of worry.
Then at some future point, whenever I have those similar feelings or were triggered to be back in those states, I find myself thinking back to past relationships or similar problems that I experienced. I would find myself reliving through those feelings, images and thoughts all over again. I noticed how my body would respond similar to how I would have back in those very situations: nausea, “empty stomach feeling”, light headedness. Or if it was a heated argument, how my heart would be racing, my hand shaky and face feeling red. Whenever those body triggers were activated, my next response was to evade by not talking, not engaging and not eating, pretty much not anything so I would not have to feel.
Of course, that was not helpful as I was not resolving anything. There was no open communication, I wasn’t thinking clearly, I was not taking care of myself, I was not physically active, no self-love/care…nothing. And this became a habit; what worked in protecting myself to not feel so that I won’t get hurt became my default.
In my relationships, this was damaging, I became closed off and I wasn’t communicating anymore. I wasn’t even open to love and to no surprise the relationship would die. My work performance suffered, I was happy and my passion and drive drained. I was constantly getting sick and in the end, I burnt out. I was not able let go; to make room for change of behaviours to form new thought patterns that were healthy. In essence I didn’t allow real love (for myself) to flourish and to embrace the pain and to work through it. I was very much living in the past, and not allowing room for new connections and growth to happen.
Things we do, much like my experiences as shared above, as well as things we think that hold us unwittingly in a painful place keeps us trapped in the past. It blocks us from truly moving forward and living in the present. To shift our behaviors, we need to do the “ugly” and hard work. We need to pause and take the time to focus on them: allotting time to think about it, perhaps even sharing about it with someone else, and to allow ourselves to embrace them. Then move from focusing on how it made us feel, to how we can respond to it now.
For instance, we do a self-check: “Is what I am feeling now going to help me resolve this problem? Yes, this sucks! What’s one easy thing I can do now that would be actually helpful if I were to take a step back from this?” When we actively change those thought processes that we become intricately aware of. We then get beyond yesterday, the past and in develop a psychological neuro-response of letting go.
Understand that the act of re-evaluating past experiences and relinquishing old perspectives; discarding cherished but mistaken beliefs (often about what it makes us to be happy) by delicately and deeply recalibrating those thoughts and feelings have such healing power. Letting go means something has to open up in our head and in our heart.
However, this shift of healing process comes up against our own invisible and often unbending resistance. Majority of this resistance comes from nothing more than our great reluctance to change and our fears. We’re also working against the well engrained neuro pathways we have formed through years of unknowingly doing and practicing. Even change for the better is still change, often initially dreaded and avoided. I can confidently say that we are creatures of habit, even if these habits do not positively serve us. Isn’t that a silly thing we do?
One of the tools that helped me in the process of letting go was to engage in an “actionable activity”. What is an “actionable”? Well, it is to bring forth something that is in your subconscious thought into the forefront (conscious thought). Then we act upon those thoughts by doing something physically or actively engaging our senses in that process of change. Such as writing something down, talking it out with someone, leaving something behind, and the options are limitless. The next step is to deepen that process through hypnotherapy work. This is to clear out whatever is left deep in our psyche (subconscious thoughts).
Many psychological research has proven by physically engaging with your environment and changing it, we form new actions and thus forming new neuro pathways that were not even there before. In a sense, we are delicately capturing those hidden, elusive subconscious thought patterns into a tangible way where you can consciously and actively recalibrate these small shifts to allow for bigger changes.
Think about it this way, when you finally get around to cleaning and organizing a room, notice how being in that space instantly makes you feel better. You feel lighter, clearer in mind, less stressed and free. You may also notice how the room might seem bigger and there is space for more new things. Now imagine that your mind is that very room, and when you let go; you are clearing it out and organizing it to make space for new positive things. Now, doesn’t that sound wonderful?
So, you may ask yourself, “How do I use this “actionable” tool? How do I let go?” The following link is video recording guiding you through an “actionable” process of letting go followed by a guided music induction, imagery and hypnosis/mindfulness process: Guided Video on Letting Go