Unfortunately unpleasant or unfair situations are a part of life. Events occur that you don’t like. People are rude, mean, inconsiderate, or attempt to take advantage of you. A self-destructive reaction to adverse circumstances is harboring animosity, resentment, anger, or bitterness.
These negative emotions have a deleterious impact on your physical and mental well-being. Additionally, this reaction exacerbates your situation. Your judgment, along with your ability to decide on an appropriate course of action, is substantially compromised as a result.
You become trapped in and cling to the past by lamenting things you could have, should have, or would have done differently. You may be holding on to many years of built up resentment which substantially adds to the burden you carry.
You may feel desperate to do something to alter circumstances. You want to be able to change people’s minds, attitudes, or behaviors. More than anything, you have a need to make things better. You hate the way you feel and you want people or conditions to improve.
Picture yourself on a small wooden raft floating on a lake. If someone gave you a piece of straw to hold, there would be no problem. You could actually hold one piece after another without sinking. But at some point, the weight of the accumulated straw would sink the raft with you on it. The only way to stay afloat is to release the straw into the water, allowing it to drift away without pulling you under.
You internalize and hold onto one issue after another. Worry becomes a way of life. You adjust to each new burden by raising your baseline for what you consider normal. Rather than seeking true joy, you endeavor just to reduce the stress and strain you are constantly experiencing.
However, the harder you try to make circumstances better, the worse you feel. This is because frustration compounds your stress level. You can’t control your environment, circumstances, or the thoughts or actions of other people. But you do have control over your response.
The way you stay afloat is by letting go of all of the burdens you have packed away inside which are constantly carried around wherever you go. Doing this requires you to change your approach for dealing with problems.
It’s taken you a lifetime to get where you are. You can start changing yourself today but the results will not be realized overnight. You need vigilance, patience, and consistency in order to produce a lasting change in your strategy. This new approach is for your benefit and well-being.
Don’t deny your emotions, past or present. It’s OK to acknowledge how you feel in response to negative circumstances or behavior. Now take any sentiments of hurt, bitterness, anger, or resentment and let them go. Cast them into the water like pieces of straw. Then watch them float away from you into the distance.
Repeat this approach each time you find yourself clinging to a negative emotion. Identify each emotion, acknowledge your feeling, and then let it go. This process enables you to release all of the weight you have been dragging around.
Each time you go through this process, you build a new response pattern for yourself. Every time you let something negative go, you drain the poison instead of storing it. You are retraining yourself to automatically let things go.
As a result of this new approach, the amount of time you spend worrying will also diminish. As you focus on your own response, less energy will be spent on the futile attempt to change other people and circumstances. Let go of your negative emotions and free yourself to experience more joy and happiness.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2014 Bryan Golden