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chicadelplaya's avatar

Letting go?

Asked by chicadelplaya (2208 points ) January 30th, 2009

Hi All-
I’ve realized recently that I have a hard time letting go of old flames, hurt feelings from friends and family, etc.. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I hold on, but I do and I want to change that.
I am trying to find some healthy ways to process these feelings and let them go. I know it’s hard, but I want and need to. Holding on to hurt feelings makes me sad and I know it doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone have any healthy suggestions? Thank you!!

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13 Answers

Fieryspoon's avatar

This is really hard to do and takes a lot of practice.
I’d suggest starting to forgive people for small stuff first, and work your way up to the stuff that deeply offends you..

Work on focusing on what you want out of the future, instead of thinking about how things got to be the way they are.

When someone does something that makes you happy, think hard about it, and commit it to memory. When this same person does something selfish or annoying, then you won’t need to struggle for why they’re still worth keeping around.

Bluefreedom's avatar

What might help is not having any influences that would continually remind you of the person(s) that you are trying to get over such as music, pictures, or activities that you did together. At least until the hurt subsides.

Another thing that I might suggest that I have done in the past in similar circumstances to yours is to spend time with family and friends that will give you a shoulder to lean on and be good listeners in your time of need.

benseven's avatar

Writing things down can be great for moving on. It doesn’t have to be something you hold onto, but it makes you rationalise, summarise, and get it out of your head.

fireside's avatar

Well, this is a really tough question because when I noticed that I had finally let go of some past embers it was almost more of a switch that flipped in me.

But for the time being, I would say that there are two approaches.

One is to process the feelings fully, really dig inside of yourself and find out why you feel the way you do, what it was about the other person, how that can be translated into a lesson about who you may be looking for, etc…

The other is to block it completely until it simply slips your mind; go out and spend time with friends, find a way to do some light casual dating, get a new membership to a club or museum or something, just live each day for you and eventually the feelings may pass.

The right choice is more of a personal knowledge – for me the former always worked better than the latter.

mangeons's avatar

Well, if these feelings are taking over your life (you’re thinking about them all the time, at work, in the car, when going to sleep, etc.) you might want to see a therapist/psychologist, they could help you sort your feelings out, and figure out why you’ve been holding onto these feelings if you don’t want them in your life. Hypnosis might work too…

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I’ve had a hard time severing ties with my daughter’s old boyfriend, because they dated for so long. I don’t really want them to get back together because he has a lot of issues, but I do really have a soft spot for him. I think it’s hard because when relationships end, there is grieving process. There is a death of dreams and promises.

There are some people, no matter how much you want to, that you cannot just be casual friends with. The emotions in the relationship are too complex.

richardhenry's avatar

This is a second vote for writing things down. I write everything down.

If I’m about to speak to someone about something important, like a make or break up, or speaking about a problem or resolving an argument, I’ll write things down to clear things in my head and then throw it away.

It really helps me focus on what I want to say to the person when I see them, how I’m going to say it, what really matters to me, and how I’m going to work things out.

It’s sometimes hard for me to think clearly without paper.

Siren's avatar

@richardhenry and @benseven: Third vote for writing things down. It works for me anyways.

Also, maybe change your physical environment around you so you’re not in the same place where you had those emotions initially. For example, getting out of the house and going for a walk if you were in the house dwelling on it previously.

jellyfish's avatar

you are not alone!! I have just changed my old hanging on behaviour 1) Write out how your own behaviour helped to end it
2) get rid of all email addresses and delete mob numbers etc
3) write down what was crap about them 4) send them best wishes in yr head 5) just for today you will give the person five minutes of ‘grief’ time then do other things like see a funny movie, swim in ocean, get onto rsvp and browse others.
Let yr head rule yr heart for a bit and do what is good for you – not what you want! good luck!

chicadelplaya's avatar

Thanks, everyone! This is really helpful and I truly appreciate it. (sorry for the delay)

Marodr13's avatar

I have been going through the same thing, sometimes I just think about past things which happen…
One thing is I am in search for happiness, with my older, different self and I am not sure why I still think about things which happened to me when I was younger..
Sometimes I wonder why i even think about things like that..
Even my move has not changed my holding on to past things which is not a good thing.. I will go the length to let go of it all..
One thing is that I have tried to surround my head with positive things and read good things.
Listen to motivation music and videos, but let me know if you do find a solution.. I am in the boat..

stardust's avatar

I agree that writing down your feelings helps. You could write these people letters – freeflow. When you’re done, maybe burn the letter/dispose of it whatever way you like. It doesn’t have to be all bad too. I think it’s nice to forgive and moce on, but also to remember the good times I’ve had with people who’ve hurt me. Still doesn’t make me want to have them in my life, but it helps with getting rid of resentment.

Marodr13's avatar

Considering what I am going through myself I would have to say that we have to learn from the past, and move on… Regardless of the pain that is involved.. Life was not promised to be easy and sweet, but something that is remarkable, which it is, because the bad and the good always are things that we tend to hold on into.. My best advice is take time to figure you out, learn the real you, and in that time you are going to see that the past is something that may not be as important or as complex as you thought.

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