Letting it go. Believe it or not it’s a skill that can be learned. I used to be pretty bad at it. Subconsciously holding on to things I thought I had let go. Only to find the “wound” re-opened and deepened the next time something similar came along. Finding myself feeling not only the hurt from this particular hurt, but the one (or more) from before from the same person.
Over the past 2-3 years I’ve learned how to actually do it. It’s not always easy, but so worth it. And I still struggle here and there with it, but comparatively I’m so much better at it now. And instead of my subconscious validating that “see I told you so” feeling, I have more peace. I am happier with my relationships in life, and I spend less time feeling hurt.A few things that helped me to learn this skill: 1 Stop making unrealistic expectations for others. I kept waiting, and expecting my family to see my feelings in certain ways, or for them to understand why and just how much my disappointment was from this time or that when they let me down. After moving across the country I expected them to treat me differently when we came to visit than when we lived by them. And I was disappointed and hurt when that didn’t happen. Then as I was learning to let go we had our second visit to see them. This time I went expecting them to be them, to be annoyed at all the little things that have always annoyed me. And to not care, because I was there for me and my family, and we were going to have fun with or without them. And you know what? It was the best visit ever. The subsequent visits have been great, but this one stands out since it was the first. We all got along better, I didn’t worry about the annoying stuff, or care, and it was great!
2 Find a way to make it funny. Honestly my family is exceptionally good at being sarcastic. And sometimes it got old to me, because it starting feeling sincere from them, and not just sarcastic. But instead of getting mad that they wanted to complain a lot about us also seeing friends while we were out (yes our best friends live there too, and yes we’re going to give them a generous amount of time- these are life long type friends!)… anyway back to it. Instead of being mad that that’s how they were spending the time they had with me, or that they didn’t understand that we only have a short amount of time to spread between everyone, I would switch how I thought about it. And respond in a way that would make me laugh. Like “oh, I’ve missed you too. Don’t worry this isn’t my last day with you.” (and of course say it slightly sarcastically since it’s funny, and that’s how my family communicates) When you find ways to make things funny, it’s easier to stay calm, not get angry and not feel hurt. When my kids fight lately, instead of getting upset I start singing an awesome rendition of “Kung Fu Fighting.” Everybody was kung fu fighting. They thought they were fast as lightning. But them mommy came and spanked their butts. And they cried out all their little guts. They stop fighting and I’m left laughing at my clever, funny awesomeness.3 See it from their view. Like in number one above, when my family complained at me that we were also going to see some friends I was upset that they didn’t understand that we had a whole life there that we had left. (and when I say complained, I mean that it was brought up at least 5 times a day on our first trip out) I felt like they weren’t using the time we had together well, and I was sick of them being mad at me for wanting to see other people in our lives. My brother’s had lived out of state for many years, and it didn’t seem like anyone had a problem with them seeing their old friends. But then I started viewing their complaining, not as complaining, but as them doing a horrible job communicating how much they missed us. And I understood them. And didn’t take it personal that they were upset, but saw instead that they missed me, and loved me. And they didn’t know how to handle or communicate it well.
Hopefully these tips can help you start learning this skill. Let me know what you think, if there’s a tip you have or if these ones help. I’m far from great at this skill, but so thankful to have so much of it compared to a few short years ago. And grateful to be reminded to keep working on it.