Letting Go!

Tough one here.  How many times I wished that the memories in my mind would be let go?  Please understand, I forgot everything about my life before high school and not much in high school  I forgot but my body didn’t let it go.  I had body memories, triggers, and extreme reactions with no understanding why I felt them.  I thought I was so unreasonable because I had these weird reactions to different situations.  I was puzzled when I was in counseling the first thing he did was to start to explore my past and what was there.  I couldn’t tell him anything.  Here is the thing I learned, I needed to acknowledge that bad things happened before I could let them go.  I need toacknowledge what is in the backpack of my life before I can take them out and say I learned all I need from this experience I no longer need to carry the burden of guilt, shame, fear, or anger.  Processing information and events were a major part of the guidance that my counselor helped me work through.  It took weeks and months because I had no memories of my own.  He waited for me to be triggered by present events then he would ask me questions like, “Why do you think you reacted that way to that event?”  “Do you remember some other event that was similar?”  “Do you remember acting this way before?”  “Has this situation always bothered you?”  The hazard I see is people want to forget without doing the hard work of processing what happened to them, gleaning what they can learn from the experience then deciding that this no longer needs to be hauled along in life’s baggage.  Forgetting is not ‘letting go!’  Did you read that….I will say it again:

Forgetting is NOT letting Go!!!!!!!!

I forgot so I would have to learn the same lesson over and over and over and over.  I think there is a story that better describes the process of letting go:

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

When I learn to walk down another street, react differently to triggers or put triggers in a safe place where they no longer hurt me, when I change my response to people pushing my buttons, when I acknowledge, feel, and release an emotion then I let go of how that emotion affects me.  My counselor spent many, many hours showing me all the different choices I had, different responses I can give, different roads I could travel.  I was in a rut, I needed someone to guide me out because I didn’t know I was in a rut…does that make sense to you, the reader?  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  My counselor helped me learn I had choices besides the knee jerk fight or flight response.  I could process a situation, make a thoughtful choice on how to respond and protect myself from the verbal spears pitched at me.  Letting go is a process that many people try to short circuit, want an easy button or simply forget.  I forgot.  It harmed me more than facing my hurts and fears and feeling them.  I grayed out my world and forgot what happened and forgot how to live.  Don’t do that.  Yes, it was very painful facing what I forgot.  I cried. I shook with fear.  I was devastated remembering the hurts I experienced.  Now, many of the events that I work on I look back and ask myself, “Is this something I can let go or is their valuable information I need to retain for my future protection and happiness?”  If I just forget things I am bound to redo them until I learn the lessons I need to know…eventually I learn to walk down another street.  Then I let go!




One thought on “Letting Go!

  1. This is a really important post. Before we can let go of something we have to know it fully and often being told by others to let it go means they would rather we didn’t feel it or make them uncomfortable by sharing it. We do need to know where our hurts and injuries lie so we can self soothe and practice good self care. We may have to sit with the hurt for sometime before we can let it go and doing so occurs because we say we no longer want to retraumatise ourselves by reliving it over and over and over again. But we don’t necessarily forget it.

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