Conflict # 29 – Letting Go

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Of the many influences you’ve experienced through your life, what would you say has had the greatest impact on your happiness? Is it luck? Attitude? Hard work? God-given talent or skill? The determination and ability to bounce back? The amount of pain and the depth of pain you’ve endured?

We’ve all experienced suffering. There’s no getting away from it. That being the case, maybe the big question is actually: after the event has passed, can you and will you let go of the pain? If you cannot, how can you ever be happy?

It seems we can agree that it’s important to let go of grudges and resentments. Alright, very good. And then we might wonder how that’s accomplished. One approach might be to determine what it is that stops us, and then seek to eliminate the obstacles. Consider the following as a partial list of the factors that prevent us from letting go.

– Even though we can’t control most of life’s events, we refuse to accept that fact. Thus, we try to control things we can’t control. So, we feel frustrated. We get caught up in emotion and we stop thinking clearly.

– We take things personally.

– We get attached to the way things “should” be and lose sight of what’s really happening. Or, we see what’s really happening, but refuse to accept it.

– We can’t get past the injustice of what has happened to us. We are stuck in our outrage.

– We hang around with equally miserable, negative-minded people. We use people and we let them use us in order to justify our not moving forward.

– Our thinking works against us. — The mind races. — We can’t focus. — We worry about the future. — We obsess about the past. — We feel hopeless and helpless. — We beat ourselves up with thoughts and feelings of shame, guilt and failure. — We use self-defeating words: “I can’t!” “It’s so hard.” “I hate him.” “This is just the way I am.” “I’m stuck.”

What’s to be done?

– Avoid people who spread negativity.

– Focus on what we do have, instead of concentrating on what we’re missing.

– Seek opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

– Improve our physical, emotional and mental health by changing our thinking and habits. So many of us operate on “auto-pilot”, stuck in old habits, unaware that we can choose what to pay attention to and how to use our minds. If you’re not sure what this means, I can explain it to you.

Needless to say, these ideas are just a tiny smattering of what’s possible, and this article does not begin to scratch the surface. But at least we can wonder whether the ability and willingness to let go could be the thing that affects our happiness more than any other factor. If this bears some relevance to your situation, please call 219-309-3928 for a free consultation. I’d be happy to talk with you.

Thanks for reading!