If you have children, or have ever spent any time around small children then you have seen a temper tantrum. Some temper tantrums are loud and wild and look like kids throwing themselves on the floor of Target because their mom won’t buy them a certain toy. Other tantrums are quieter, more subtle—like the child at a play date who slinks off to the corner to pout with arms folded and bottom lip stuck out because their little friend won’t share a certain toy with them.
Big or small, tantrums remind us that little people have big feelings and are tenacious in holding onto those feelings no matter what—even when all of their pouting, yelling or crying won’t really change anything. I would like to propose that though most adults don’t have full out “tantrums,” we are still fervent (maybe even stubborn) in holding on to certain feelings even when they don’t serve us well emotionally.
The first thing that comes to my mind that we often hold onto relentlessly is feelings of unforgiveness towards people that have wronged us. However, the list of negative things we hold onto is quite long: unhealthy thoughts/people/relationships, emotional pain, anger, jealousy and bitterness—just to name a few. The question becomes: why do we hold onto feelings, ideas and even people that don’t serve us well emotionally? I think there is more than one reason we have a hard time letting go, but here are a few reasons that come to mind:
- Justification—when someone hurts us we feel justified in feeling upset with them (and rightfully so…for a certain period of time anyway).
- Comfort—sometimes we stay in a relationship with someone who hurts us emotionally or physically because that is what we are used to. It is difficult for us to imagine a different kind of life or the steps it would take to create that kind of life.
- Depression & Anxiety: Clinical depression and/or anxiety can become almost paralyzing without professional help and may cause us to stay in negative life patterns we simply cannot see our way out of without professional help.
I will speak more about the benefits of letting go in the personal blog on this piece. But for now, I encourage you to take a quick inventory of your life. Are their feelings, thought patterns or even people you are holding on to that are causing you emotional pain. What would your life look like if you felt truly happy and who would be in your life (or not in your life) if you were emotionally healthy. If you are experiencing stress in your life, feeling overwhelmed or realize after reading this that you need to let go of negativity in your life, a trained and seasoned licensed psychotherapist can help you. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.