As families barbecued, enjoyed scenic views, attended colorful firework shows, or popped fireworks of their own. On the fourth of July- a day that serves as a beautiful reminder of freedom and independence. I could not help but wonder how many people were silently searching for freedom from their past; or for emotional independence from: habits, mistakes, and relationships that have caused some form of heartache.
Prompting them to ask, "How do I learn to let go"? or "How do I learn to let go of the past"? Questions worth taking the time to explore when you are having a hard time, searching for answers, mental clarity, or a spark of hope.
Something I can relate to on a personal level as I often openly share with my clients when the need arises. You see there was a time in my life when I thought I would never be able to learn how to let go. In fact, there was this period of time in my life, in particular where I made some poor choices that led me down a path of doing, what some would consider the unthinkable. And to make matters worse, the negative memories and emotions left me an emotional wreck as I suffered in silence. Crying in the shower or when no one else was around as I did my best to stuff the memories deep down.
The funny thing is, the more I tried to pretend they did not exist, the more it seemed that the people, conversations, and experiences I faced brought them back to the surface. Can you relate?
Forcing me to find a way to figure out how to learn to let go. Well if you've ever found yourself wondering if there is anything that can truly be done to change it? I can assure you that while not everything works for everyone, as we search for answers and meaning...There are a few key things I've discovered that help make a difference in the self growth process.
For starters, tell your story (or secrets) in a safe space with an expert or friend you can trust with your truth. Hint: a gossiping friend, a friend who's known for being judgemental; or a professional who seems apathetic or appears to want to sweep your past under the rug- is not ideal or the right match for you.
Next, after you've done that, make it your goal to release negative memories and emotions that served you then, but have no place in your life now. What I mean is, memories (as well as the emotions attached to them) often lie dormant in our amygdala like a "memory bank" waiting for the opportunity and chance to deposit themselves into our current experiences and relationships.
That being said, writing a goodbye letter to these old memories and emotions explaining why it's over is a fun way to let go. You can also set a timer or watch for 15 minutes and engage in an emotional release activity by grabbing an old magazine (maybe one you planned to recycle anyway) and with the timer set, allow each page to represent a negative memory, emotion, or experience you would like to get rid of. As you rip each page with all your might and verbally announce that you're throwing them away, in the trash where they belong. Tossing each memory (piece of paper into the trash). Once the timer goes off, give yourself permission to leave them their, forever or even if just for now.
And depending on your personality, sometimes just the mere self awareness of knowing what these memories in your memory bank are up to, can in and of itself be enough. Enough for you to stop them in their tracks and loosen their grip, as you remind yourself that those memories and emotions served you and did their job to help you survive (mentally, emotionally, maybe even physically) at that time. But their job is done so it's time to release and let go, as you find healthier and more effective ways to achieve the same results.
Hope this helped!
Note: It may not happen overnight, but little by little, day by day you'll start to become more aware, be able to shift, and notice a change.
Written By L.J. Jackson, Empowerment Expert
Mentor, Coach, Cheerleader, and Master Problem Solver