Two things that stop people from being able to let go of past experiences and emotions are:
- Inability to understand why to let go i.e. the benefits of letting go and
- Not knowing how to let go i.e. specific actionable steps
This is exactly what we will cover in this post.
Amit has been having a recurrent, unexpected dream lately about how his father used to beat him up as a child. He finds himself suddenly wondering how toxic his parents’ relationship was and how they really got divorced. That reminded him of his long-ago ex.
He constantly started ruminating about his past relationship and breakup.
In order to avoid these feelings, he joined a gym, tried Yoga, started working really hard and kept himself very busy in his daily affairs. He was trying to let go in order to avoid the possibility of confronting his past emotional baggage.
All these tactics worked for sometime but it was only a matter of time until everything came falling down like a house of cards.
- So what went wrong with Amit here?
- Was he really able to let go of his past baggage?
- Did he move on?
That brings us to the question LET GO, HOW?
How to Let Go of Past
Many times when people think of letting go, they think that focusing on the present is the best way to let go of the past.
But in most cases, where there are suppressed emotions, when people try to focus on the present, they are simply distracting themselves. It just leads to further suppression of the past emotional baggage.
Focusing on the present can help in the short term as the past emotional baggage is no longer a part of your conscious day-to-day awareness. But since the suppressed emotional baggage has not really been released, certain experiences, situations or people can act as a trigger and bring back all the past emotional baggage back to the surface.
The problem is that when those feelings come back, many a times, they come back with a vengeance like a giant imperceptible wave that can even cause a breakdown.
The best way to work with this is to identify what about the past bothers you and then not just let go of it but also replace it with something more positive.
Going back to Amit’s story:
Amit engaged himself into variety of endeavours in order to avoid direct confrontation with his emotional baggage. Instead of dealing with these emotions, he responded by blocking out these feelings and avoiding them altogether.
It is common for people to respond in this way, but this strategy only helps to cope for a short time. However, in order to let go of their baggage completely, one generally needs to acknowledge, accept and at times even confront these emotions and feelings.
If you are afraid to let yourself start dealing with your grief and trauma, seek professional help.
EXPRESS YOUR PAIN:
We’ve all been hurt.
You can’t be an adult or teen alive today who hasn’t sustained an emotional wound. We all carry our share of past baggage with us.
It hurts, and it hurts bad, we get it, and we really do. But the best way of letting go is expressing whatever emotional burden you are latching onto and not to avoid direct confrontation with those feelings.
Better do it directly through some activity, or through getting it out of your system (like venting to a friend, or writing in a journal, Or in a counselling session with a professional).
Vent it all out of your system. Doing so will also help you understand what specifically your pain is about.
MAKE A RITUAL:
Ritual Utilization has been mankind’s greatest exponent of art from the very beginning. By doing this ritual you are releasing the malignant emotions which are unneeded, although it will only work out if this ritual ceremony is meaningful to you in some way or another.
One of the rituals that you can incorporate is writing down on a piece of paper the stories and memories which are still stirring in your present and burn the piece of paper. You typically perform a burning ceremony during special symbolic times, such as birthdays, events, or, most commonly, New Year’s Eve.
The significance of the timing gives you more willingness to let go of something in your life from negative habits to unhealthy relationships. It’s the time to leave it all behind and start anew.
All of us have dealt with some kind of deep hurt from our past that still could have a negative influence over our lives to some extent. We have all had our share of hardships, we’ve all made mistakes.
The bad things in our past that we have not dealt with, be it personality issues, emotional issues, relationship difficulties or physical struggles, these issues tend to create internal and external problems that can jeopardize our day-today lives.
Therefore, it is important to not feel too bad for doing what you felt like doing, if you are burdened with a heavy heart to this day, try and make amends, reach out to a mental health professional if need be.
If you still feel the need to apologize then do it, but it is absolutely pertinent to not to beat yourself up about it.
Don’t let your hurt become a festering wound that never heals. You want to blame someone? Ask yourself if passing the blame on others would improve your situation.
There are a number of techniques that could help people let go. If there are emotions involve, there is:
- Regression and Regression Therapy,
- Void Management,
- Inner Child and
- There are other variations that can be done based on these techniques.
How therapists approach the therapy process:
If you are a Therapist who’d like to work with people in a comprehensive manner to help them let go of their past baggage then this is the following process that we highly recommend.
- Sit with them and take a cognitive interview to understand what is their current understanding of the problem.
- Ask them what is the end outcome they would like to achieve once they’ve let go of this past baggage.
- Talk about specific incidences that they are consciously aware of, the ones they are not able to let go off, along with different emotions they are feeling when they think about particular events.
- Once you’ve got details, then you can start with any of the de-layering techniques: Corrective Therapy, Self Validation and Integration, Regression… to be able to help people identify what is the deeper issue or the deeper feelings which are leading to all of these problems. Once the deeper issues have been identified, you can use a combination of Inner Child, Regression Therapy, Hypnodrama, Ho’oponopono, Void Management & Timeline to help the client deal with the same.
- After all of this is done, use future pacing with anchoring to help the client experience the expected changes in their life. This will create the desired motivation to move forward in life. All of these techniques together will be a comprehensible way to deal with past baggage.
Note: When it comes to working with emotions, in our experience only releasing emotion is not enough. It is important to replace the negative (dysfunctional) emotions that have been released with the positive (functional) emotions.