Utilise the new year to Let it go, and as a result, Let it grow.
Past hurts and old injustices can keep people stuck in old patterns of behaviour and thought traps. Bad memories can be like emotional quicksand, and can contaminate your thoughts taking command of your day-dreams, and leaving you obsessing over perceived or real losses, betrayals, and inequities.
It is possible, and probably beneficial, to give yourself a “time’s up” mandate. Just as you might join a gym in order to support your commitment to new health behaviours, you can also decide that you will stop allowing old hurts to define you, in order to let new hopes, grow.
This can be easier said than done. Part of the reason that “Let it go”, is so hard is that it is a challenging is that it is not satisfying in itself, without a benefit or alternative activity. Replacing one type of thinking with another, is easier to contemplate than simply asking an active mind to STOP. An active mind wants to remain active. In order to let it go, we need also think about alternative thoughts and behaviours to actively replace old tired traps. Hence, I ask you to consider, let it go, to, let it grow.
How to let go of old hurts, thoughts and harmful behaviours.
• Stop magical thinking.
Magical thinking occurs when you assume patterns of reactions that have not previously been in evidence. For example, if you are thinking, “If I do x then y will happen”. For example, “if I get sick, he will come back and feel sorry for me” or, “If I just collect enough evidence of this betrayal, my family will finally realise they have wronged me.” The relationships that you thought you think you should be having are probably quite different from the ones that you are actually experiencing in real life.
• Learn to accept that other people’s bad behaviour is (really) not about you.
It is common to become stuck when people have wronged us. Betrayal is often not about you, it’s more about our perceived “betrayers” desire to follow their desires at your expense. Whilst this feels unfair, and may not be what you signed up for in a work or personal relationship, focusing on the betrayal keeps us stuck in the role of victim.
• Challenge your labels.
Are you stuck playing the role of a victim, or as an unappreciated hero? Check if you are continuing to hold onto a role label that really has not benefit for your growth. For example, if your partner was unfaithful and ended your marriage – perhaps be grateful for the end of a marriage that wasn’t working. For example, think to yourself, “He had an affair which ended the ‘not the best ‘marriage. I have been stuck feeling bitter and as a victim because I didn’t cheat (even when I wasn’t as happy as I wanted to be). The affair gave us both a way out to the marriage whilst allowing me to be the good guy. I wanted that, but now I want more than just that… “
• Challenge your goals.
You may be consumed with a controlling desire to acknowledged as being wronged. It is possible that you will never receive anywhere near the level of acknowledgement you aspire to. Ask yourself, what do you need this acknowledgement for? Will this make you feel whole? If everyone you could list acknowledged that you were wronged, would you feel complete? Why can’t you be complete without the acknowledgement that you crave? Is that real, or perceived? You set your own value, not another person. Others do not need to acknowledge that you have been treated unfairly in order for that be your reality. This is a trap that many abused people can fall into. Without the abuse being s acknowledged it can be hard to move on, but it isn’t really necessary. People who have been complicit rarely acknowledge that abuse occurred. If you were wronged, this is your fact, and that is enough. Now you can move toward recovery.
• Take responsibility for your role in a situation – and no more.
Each party in a hurt played their role, including you. Take some responsibility for maintaining, creating, even exacerbating a situation. Make a promise to yourself that this can end, and you will end it.
• Acknowledge forgiveness, even if only for yourself.
Whilst forgiveness can feel like you are letting the bad guy off, even potentially endorsing their behaviour, there is some benefit to forgive rather than feel angry. Elizabeth Smart who was held captive for 9 months when she was 14 could have hated her captors forever. Instead she chose to realise that she holding onto the pain and negativity of what had happened to her allowed her captors the opportunity to steal more of her life than they had already dominated. She chose to forgive them and instead focus on her happiness and freedom.
• Challenge your rigidity with the power of YET
Thinking rigid thoughts such as “I can’t do that” will keep you trapped. So will thinking “it is not okay for me to move past this hurt. Add the word YET and this changes everything, suddenly you can’t do this yet, you can’t get past this hurt yet.
• Write a ‘let it go’ letter
Write a letter to those who you feel hurt by. For example. “You have wronged me. I didn’t deserve the abuse you have wrought. I’ve been angry long enough. I’m letting go of my feelings of anger, resentment, hurt and betrayal because I don’t need to carry those around with me anymore. I choose not to give you any more of my energy”
Channel your energy into positive change in 2019. Let new thought patterns grow.
• Transform your narrative
Rather than label yourself as wronged, or as a victim, think about who you are in the story of your life. Are you a survivor? Are you working to make yourself a better person? What are your strengths? How can you be more empathetic and realistic in your view of yourself? You are a work in progress, celebrate where you are going and what strengths you have to get yourself there.
• Future focus
What is in the future for me? What do I want in my life? What am I CHOOSING FOR MY FUTURE? Do not focus on what you leave behind. Imagine the past is like the border of an old country of hurt, and now you live somewhere else and that border is closed.
• Your Diva-mour
Utilise theamour and weapons of a true diva. Being strong, being clever, continuing a struggle, are values within a cloak of amour that you put on. For me, I celebrate being a diva-hustler, (thank you #Michelle Visage #DivaRules). This means I remain determined to build opportunities for myself and take chances. Other people I’ve worked with have found their diva in other self- visualisations (eg Madame Butterfly). The weapons you have to support this Diva-mour are your strengths (your smarts, your friendships, your focus, your commitment, your creativity.)
• Write a mantra just for you.
A mantra is a passage that becomes an instrument of the mind. What the mind sets as an intention and belief so that this can to fruition. Phrase this in a positive voice. Celebrate your strengths. Remind yourself of your goals. For example
I am strong, calm, loved and forceful. When I face a challenge, I will draw strength from the people who love and support me, remember all that I have already achieved as a result of my focused activity and my commitment to my family, and myself. I give love, I am loved. I am enough
• Pursue Internal love over external anger.
The cure to external anger is internal love. Even if you are still working on accepting yourself, remember that it is OK to be not okay, as long as you are a work in progress. Be kind.
Being grateful reminds us want we have, rather than focusing on what you perceive may be missing from your life. When we see what we have we learn to that we are more complete than we first realised and have more than enough in life, and even more importantly, we are enough.
I hope you find these activities helpful. If you find yourself stuck in old hurts you can consider to consider therapy to help you let go. All of us need help sometimes, and that is okay.
#Michelle Visage #DivaRules #Resolutions #Recovery #RedDoor