People, Memories and Letting Go

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

–Lao Tzu

We all have had some friendships that didn’t last, relationships that didn’t go as we thought it would, haven’t we? Some friends stopped talking to us and we stopped talking to some of them. We’ve faced betrayals, cold stares, rejection, haven’t we? A dream job we hoped for, never materialized or a promotion we looked for, we never got. People unfriended or blocked us on social media. We’ve had moments when we felt lonely, guilty and disheartened. Childhood sufferings, abuse and broken hopes leave us shattered.

I call all these as ‘emotional garbage’. But, where do we throw this emotional garbage? Have you ever wondered what happens to this garbage?

Each event, memory, situation and person is discarded in the dumping ground called our mind. We replay scenes from the past in bright colourful images with depth as if, it’s happening now. Some scenes become a slide show or a larger than life movie, where conversations are played on a loop in surround sound. These memories slowly suck the joy from our present moment as we amplify the feelings associated with these images and movies created in our mind.

Slowly to get rid of these feelings, we indulge in shopping, over eating or skipping meals, partying with friends or staying away from everyone. We take refuge in alcohol or drugs. Some go ahead and find relief by hurting themselves, maybe a suicide attempt. If you die, maybe that’s the end, but what if you survive, a new story unfolds. Gradually we become weak…mentally. And where did all this start, from the time we began to dump the daily rejections, minor disappointments and hurts in our mind.

The other day my daughter fell off while riding her bicycle and hurt her knee. The moment she returned home, she cleaned the wound with cold water and Dettol and finally put a Band-Aid. For the next two days she was careful while sleeping, walking and sitting. She told everyone in the house to stay away from her hurt knee. So much care, I wondered for a hurt knee….but what about a broken heart? What about the moment when you were declined a job offer or when your best friend died?

Do we allow ourselves to heal from the emotional wounds just as the physical ones? No. We are expected to get over it and behave as if nothing ever happened and in doing so, we forget that we’re unconsciously abandoning all these wounds. We’re so busy moving on, that we seldom notice how we’re playing the incidents in our mind so many times that at the end we start feeling miserable.

If you have a broken leg, would you dare to walk on that broken leg? No you wouldn’t? Then why do we keep pricking our emotional wounds?

Capture

Observing our Interpretations

Events keep happening in our life, we have very little control over what happens on the outside, but the moment we realize that we are capable of choosing the response to that event, something shifts within us.

In 2008, I joined Lehman Brothers, it was my dream to be a part of an investment bank. The profile was amazing and I didn’t think twice before accepting the offer. A month later they were bankrupt and I remember few of my relatives say, “Look at your luck, you joined the company and they went bankrupt.” They laughed at this event, but I couldn’t.

For days and months, I kept thinking that it was my bad luck that led to the bankruptcy. ‘I’ll never get another job, I was useless and good for nothing’, I thought to myself. These internal talks led to decreased confidence and slowly affected the way I performed. And one Monday morning, I receive the pink slip. Shattered….ashamed and completely hopeless my belief that ‘I’m unlucky’ slowly was becoming my reality.

One external event, but just look at the way my mind processed it in multiple ways and look at the way it affected my overall life.

A friend who is differently abled said the other day, “I’m single because no girl would want to marry a handicap man.”

Did you notice the ‘because’ there in the sentence above. That’s how we interpret situations in our life.

I asked him, “Are all handicap men single?”

“No”

“Then do you really think that because you’re differently abled girls refuse to marry you?” I asked

“Hmmm….maybe no” he replied and this time there was a smile on his face.

 

Maybe a boy or girl rejected you, maybe you’ve not yet found your companion or not yet got a job offer, these are the external situations in which you’re living, but what are the interpretations you’re making? Observe them, now and maybe write those interpretations in a piece of paper. Question the interpretations that you’ve made.

 

We spend years holding on to painful memories not realizing that we’re hurting ourselves. At the end, letting go means giving your emotional wounds the time to heal. Let go of that memory…by stopping that movie inside your brain, maybe you can make the images small, colourless or maybe you can switch off the conversations and slowly as you do it….now you begin to realize that the feeling of emptiness melts away, gradually and you begin to feel light and empowered to live, fully!

“The best thing about the past is that it’s over. The best thing about the future is that it’s yet to come. The best thing about the present is that it’s here, now.” Richard Bandler

What do you think of letting go? What about the emotional garbage, how do you deal with it? What are some of your thoughts on holding on and letting go? I’m here, waiting to listen to you, feel free to drop in your comments.

Love and gratitude,

Gayu

7 thoughts on “People, Memories and Letting Go

  1. Gayu!! I loove this post and reminds me of our conversation, especially the movie part. How bout re-writing and filming it in a new way. It’s the kinda stuff that I feel blessed reading. We need to shed the extra load and see things in a refreshing way.

    1. I just read your fb post about your life. This is yet another wonderful article Gayatri. I relate very well with what you have shared as I had an experience in life that I could relate to. I carried the emotional garbage of betrayal and lies by a friend for a long time. I tried various ways to come to terms with it. My spiritual understanding taught me forgiveness as the best medicine. Similarly I sought forgiveness from the friend for unknown mistake that I had committed. The picture as you say has become small though has not gone out of my mind for good. One day I am sure I can switch off that disturbance completely out of my life. Let go has been my mantra throughout the ordeal. With those selected few with whom I have shared this easily said that it is not worth entertaining those memories or even the person. In spite of knowing the solution the time it took to settle, accept and let go was really long. Healing requires time. I care and love whomever I encounter in my life. I still love her and wish everything best for her. I understood recently that this is not allowing me to forget or switch off such incident happened in my life though it does not affect my peace. Is there any solution that you can think of?..

      1. Thank you Poornima 🙂 At times you may find it challenging to switch off the incidents and at that time, maybe you can reduce the clarity of images playing in your mind. Maybe drain out the colour completely…push that incident far away. Distance yourself from it completely and observe the way your interpretation of that event changes completely. This shift from of becoming an observer and distancing yourself from the events helps a lot in reducing the intensity in which we remember the events.

        We are not changing what happened to us, because we have little control on that, however we can change the way that event stays within us. That is completely in our control.

        Hope this helps.
        Love and hugs,
        gayu

    2. Yes I remember that conversation Vishal. At times letting go is easy…all we need to do is shift the way we remember the past event/events. And it is refreshing to let go….:)

  2. It took me several years to learn to let go, and I am still learning. ‘Let go of that memory’; easier said than done. But even if I have achieved 10% success in letting go, I can proudly say that it allows you to breathe, for a change. So yes, even if it takes forever to let go, I think it is worth the effort.

    1. The challenge is that, most people feel it takes forever to let go, while in reality it just takes few moments. It ‘s about the willingness to let go. When we allow ourselves that freedom to let go….it becomes much easier 🙂

      Love and hugs,
      Gayu

  3. It took me several years to learn to let go, and I am still learning. ‘Let go off that memory’ is easier said than done. But even if I have achieved 10% success in letting go, I can proudly say that it allows you to breathe, for a change. So yes, even if it takes forever to let go, I think it is worth the effort.

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