Without sharing all of my life’s dirty laundry, let me just say that letting go is something I have struggled with in the past—especially when people have deeply hurt me. I think we all have at least one person be it a family member, friend or lover who has hurt us emotionally in ways that are difficult to bounce back from. Depending upon the situation, sometimes we let go rather quickly of the pain and other times we hold onto it for months—even years.
The question remains: why is letting go of negative thoughts, feelings, environments and people so hard? There is more than one answer, but let me share some reasons I feel we hold onto things that hurt us when we could let go and find greater health and happiness.
I believe that some of the time we hold onto things because they serve us, protect us or provide some level of familiarity. Other times, I believe, we feel it is our right to hold on to anger and not forgive because what has been done to us is so horrible. Here are some examples of ways our “holding on” works for us. 1) A person who has experienced trauma and lives with constant thoughts of fear believes these thoughts keep her safe and in some ways they probably do. 2) A person may stay in a co-dependent relationship simply because it is all they have known and is comfortable even though if they let go they might find greater independence and happiness in a new and different kind of relationship. 3) A person who has been severely hurt by someone feels it is their right to hold onto anger towards that person. And while it is most definitely the survivor’s right to feel anger, holding onto it forever will continue to negatively impact the survivor’s emotional health and quality of life.
There are real reasons and often real benefits as to why we choose NOT to let go. However, in the end, if we want to grow and experience greater levels of peace and contentment in life, we MUST let go of negative ideas, people and circumstances. We must feel the uncertainty that comes with letting go and sit with this uncertainty as we grow and embrace new ways of thinking, behaving and interacting with others. This requires great courage—not to mention a good therapist and support system– but is the certain pathway to experiencing deeper levels of love, freedom and peace.
If you are holding onto negativity there is a reason. It is important that you identify your feelings and process them so that you can understand what you need to do in order to let go and why you are holding on to begin with. If you feel stuck or are having trouble letting go, a qualified Orlando therapist can speak with you today. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment and begin your journey to letting go and feeling free.