It’s a classic dilemma: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Have you ever gotten an answer that makes any sense?
I find the same complexity in the question: how do I let things go? People talk all the time about letting go of emotions and things that no longer serve you, but can it really be that simple? Especially when you feel wronged or someone has hurt you?
Letting go of strong emotions, or the need to be right (of course, I’m right and you’re wrong!) in a particular situation, can feel like trying to move a 1,000-ton boulder out of the road so you can pass!
Now, keeping with the boulder scenario for just a moment, imagine it represents that thing, event, or emotion that you are holding onto. What would your life be like if you couldn’t move that boulder out of your way?
I will tell you that some people carry that invisible boulder on their shoulders, no matter how hunched over they get. They unwittingly create future experiences with that boulder in tow and allow the shadow of this great boulder to shade the brightness of new opportunities. They compensate. Compensating looks like settling for less than who you are and pretending that you're not. The worst part of it is that you are not being honest and authentic with you. Continue on this road too long and you can lose your zest for being who you were meant to be.
Others stay stuck in time. They try to roll it, move it, hoist it, and push and push against the boulder that won’t budge. And out of sheer exhaustion, they give up and sit down beside it, never moving forward.
So, what are you carrying, holding, pushing up against that needs to be let go of? Could you choose another way?
I like to enlist the power of my imagination when I am stuck in a situation and feel as though I don’t have the power (even though I really do!) to stop thinking, believing, or buying into something that isn’t serving me.
Here are some quick tips on how to remove (or shift) that boulder from your life:
1. Say Good-bye
Is the boulder (emotion, event, thought) serving you? Here’s how to find out: Close your eyes and think the thought or feel the emotion. If it feels heavy (sadness, shortness of breath, constricting) then it isn’t serving you. If it feels light (free), then perhaps you have learned all you need to learn from the situation, and now it’s time to give yourself permission to fully (and ceremonially) say good-bye.
If it is too hard to fully let go or you feel that if you do let go that you will be losing a part of your identity, ask yourself, “Am I willing to shift or morph the feeling, situation or event?” This means finding something positive or something you have gained from the boulder’s existence. Once you’ve found that, it’s time to change the landscape of the boulder. Using your imagination, perhaps you could plant some flowers around the boulder or paint a mural on it (it’s your imagination and your boulder, so have fun with it!).
If you are really ready to let go of the emotion, event or thought that is no longer serving you, you can:
Paula G. Rosario
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Laura West, President & Chief Creative Officer, www.centerforjoyfulbusiness.com