There is an article written by Judith Sills Ph.D. in the magazine, Psychology Today, entitled: Let It Go – Strategies to Restart Your Life.
I chose to highlight this article in this month’s newsletter because much of my work with couples and individuals in relationships is around teaching them how to let go of resentments, pain, and distrust from the past. As opposed to therapy, I teach men and women tools and skills to rebuild the story they carry in their head about the relationship. Below are some of Dr. Judith Sills findings in her work, as well as strategies she suggests. I hope you find them helpful:
Is there something between you and your mate you can’t get past? Dr. Sills thinks that if there is, the answer to that question is yes and no. “You don’t get over it, but you might find a different place to put it.” says Dr. Sills.
We all build stories in our heads. The question is … does the story serve your relationship or not? Letting go of the old story and rewriting a new one takes focus and the ability to let go.
“Each old thought pattern is a cunning argument against letting go,” says Sills. “Each needs to be directly challenged and re-scripted before your heart and mind really open to a new state.”
Here are some strategies to help you get to that new state for the sake of your relationship:
1. ENVISION – good luck letting go of the past if you don’t have a positive vision for tomorrow. A mental investment in something good coming up ahead will help you push beyond the past.
2. REPAIR – if you, in your heart, know that you’ve made a mistake – even if it’s from years ago, make an amend to your mate. Apologizing is one of the best ways to let go of the past.
3. TRANSFORM YOUR NARRATIVE – rewrite the story in your head, not to ignore your feelings, but to see the story through more mature, less injured, victimized eyes,
4. FORGIVE – forgiveness is a conscious decision, not admission of defeat. It speaks of being wronged, not deserving it, but realizing you’ve been angry long enough and that it’s time to put down your anger.
5. LEARN to BE PRESENT – no better way of letting go of the stories of the past than being awake to the present.
As Dr. Judith Sills so aptly states, “There’s a point where appreciation and analysis of the past become gum on your psychological shoe.”