Friday, April 27, 2012

How does one just "let it go"?

I've become mildly obsessive about the idea of just "letting it go". You know, someone stands you up - just let it go. Someone says something hurtful - let it go. You didn't get the promotion you wanted? Let. It. Go.

My problem is that I have no idea HOW to let things go. Generally, I dwell over something, become (mostly inwardly) upset about it, but then with time those feelings chill out and I don't think about it much any more. But letting something go in the moment? Forget about it.

Currently, my method is the tried and true "fake it 'til you make it". If I say that something has rolled off my back, that's almost as good, yes? I am currently faking it on the outside, while stewing quietly on the inside. Oh, acting - you always do right by me.

But. If anyone has any actual suggestions that don't require me to become completely different* than I am right now, please let me know.

*For instance: "Just learn to chill" isn't helpful advice because that's not me and it would mean a whole new thing for me to learn. What is this "chilling" you speak of?


Unknown said...

I think that, as with any habit, fake-it-till-you-make-it is an excellent place to start. At the same time, listening to yourself--not just letting the rant run as a background process, but actually listening to what has upset you and rendering judgment (e.g. "Yes, that was a mean thing to say." "I'm upset because I really wanted that thing," etc.) can be very helpful. Like meditation, letting things go isn't about repressing thoughts or feelings, but about observing them without grabbing hold and hanging on to them. There is also significant evidence that emotional channels are self-reinforcing--if you can get in the habit of looking on the bright side, responding to negativity by cheering yourself up, those channels become deeper and easier to fall into automatically. Habits of forgetfulness are also worth cultivating--don't allow yourself to ruminate over the bad stuff. Develop a portfolio of pretty images, happy memories and good emotions that you can turn to when you are ready to stop thinking about the bad stuff. I like ocean surf, but you can visualize your favorite Arby's if that's what does it for you.

Hope any of that is useful!


The Perfect Space said...

I went to respond, but E's was so good, I have very little to add. Don't judge yourself too harshly for obsessing--let it go ;-)

Gilly said...

Got knows it's something I struggle with myself. What's helped me is looking honestly at what I get out of holding onto the things that upset me -- it's usually either because it makes me feel superior to someone, or because I feel like They're Doing It Wrong and I Have to Do It Right and That's Not Fair -- and deciding whether being upset makes me any happier than just letting it go would. So I let it go for 5 minutes, then forget and get upset and go through the exercise again. The internal conversation does tend to get shorter with practice, at least. But I think it's great that you're thinking about it and recognizing that you at least potentially have some power over your experiences.

Also, I miss you! Margaritas soon?

Leslie said...

Predictably, you guys are awesome. I shall try to cultivate some of this for my own mental health.