This isn’t going to be an easy blog post to read. What I’ll be asking you to do through this post is something some of you will have already put behind you (please read through and comment at the end to share your insight!) and some of you aren’t ready to do yet. This post is meant only to inform. It’s meant to inform from the standpoint of someone who’s been there and someone who has seen the difference in others after they’ve let go.
Before I talk about different ways to let go, let’s talk about the myths associated with letting go. First, letting go (or forgiving) means you’re letting the person (or persons) who wronged you off the hook. This is the biggest myth there is when it comes to forgiveness. Let’s talk about it. When you’re holding onto anger after being hurt, who is that affecting? Do you believe that your anger is affecting the person who hurt you? I would argue that not only do they not care, but if they do care, they love that you’re still hurt and angry! Letting go takes that power away from them.
The second myth when it comes to forgiveness is that you need to tell the other person. Letting go of the hurt and anger has nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with you. Making a conscious choice to let go of hurt and anger and forgiving the people that hurt you is entirely internal and has everything to do with you.
Why let go?
Do you know that people who have gone through a divorce are more likely to suffer from depression than those who have not? As a side note, men are more likely to suffer from depression than women. Why do you think that is? Women do a pretty good job of talking difficult things out. Women open up and when they do, they get what’s on their mind out instead of holding it in.
Remember who is affected by holding onto the anger. It certainly isn’t the person who hurt you. In fact, you end up holding onto feelings no one enjoys having simply because you haven’t let go yet.
When you hold on, when you won’t release the hurt that is very real, you are allowing another to control your emotions. What happens is that when you hold onto the hurt, you feel it whenever you’re in contact with the person that hurt you. In essence, you are allowing them to hurt you all over again every time you have contact because you have not released the pain.
How do you release it all?
If you’re ready to forgive, ready to let go of the pain and anger and sadness, there are 3 tangible ways to do this:
Meditate. This is a great visual to help you imagine the emotions you need to let go of as a wave. Close your eyes and imagine laying on a beach. Imagine a wave starting out in the water coming towards you. You’re warm and dry laying in the sand and you don’t want to get wet, but the wave is too close for you to get away now. You decide it’s best to let the wave wash over you. As you lay there, you prepare by closing your eyes, holding your breath and letting the wave wash completely over you. In a moment, it’s done and you’re left wet and cold, but just as you open your eyes, you feel the sun on you. The worst is over.
Throw them away, literally. Some people are kinesthetic. This is a great tool for someone who needs to feel the process. Go on a walk and grab rocks. Write words or phrases related to the pain you are ready to let go of on them. Put them all in a backpack and carry that backpack, really feeling the weight of it. If you can carry it to high ground, even better! When you reach it, take each rock out, notice the words and repeat the phrase, “I am letting go of (insert the word or phrase here)” and toss the rock away.
Write it out. Some people are great with words. For someone who can sit and type or sit and write, grab your pen and paper and get it all out. Have a conversation with yourself not worrying about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Once you get this out - get rid of it! Throw it away! Burn it (safely!). Remove it from your life just as you’re removing the emotions.
Letting go is the key to moving on. If you haven’t felt ready for it, consider why. Hopefully I’ve given you an answer to help you overcome it, but if not, you can always reach out to me for help. If you’ve let go, comment below and talk about your experience!
Want or need more support than what's listed here? How about a workbook to give you the emotional freedom that makes co-parenting less frustrating and divorce a little more in your rear view mirror? The Emotional Freedom Workbook is yours.