How to Let it Go

Are you trying to let it go? That grudge? That bad breakup? That co-worker who stole your idea? I've struggled with all those things, too. Here's how I got through 'em >> yesandyes.org

A story: When I first got out of college I somehow managed to get a rather impressive job as an event planner. And I was convinced this was my true calling – list and plans and parties, oh my!But there was a catch. Of course there was. My boss gave that Prada-wearing devil a run for her money. She once actually uttered the words “You’re not wearing that, are you?”

I was the personal errand runner, the entertainer of her children and person who removed the bun from her burger when she was on Atkins. All of this in addition to spending my evenings and weekends planning parties for the trophy wives of Minneapolis/St. Paul.And after a year of nigh-on emotional abuse, she laid me off the day after I closed the deal on a $250,000 event.

To say that I was livid would be something of an understatement. I carried a deep and abiding hatred for this woman for the entirety of the summer, nursing it like a hobby, allowing it to ripen and consume a bit more of me every day.

But one beautiful summer day while I sulked, unemployed, in my living room, rehashing all the snarky things my boss had ever said to me, it occurred to be how deeply silly this was. This woman had already tarnished a year of my life. Why was I allowing her to ruin my summer? I wasn’t even on her payroll anymore and she was still controlling me.

Ridiculous. So I started the long and slow process of letting it go.

How to let it go (yes, just about anything)

Do something so fabulous you lose track of the anger. Click To Tweet
* Write a letter. Stuff it in an unmarked envelope and drop into the big blue mailbox on the corner.
* Realize that, cliche as it is, that friend/lover/boss probably didn’t mean to hurt you. Few people act with malicious intent. Many people are selfish or emotionally immature, but very, very few are malicious.
* If someone really was, in fact, malicious towards you, realize that they are probably a rather unhappy person with little in their life that brings them happiness. Happy, healthy, fulfilled people rarely try to ruin others lives, right?
* Remember that you can’t control how other people act, only how you respond to them.
* Create your own voodoo ritual for getting past this. Fill a metal garbage can with your boss’s business cards, those awful emails she sent you and a copy of that book that she threw at your head. Set it all on fire to end this era of your life. Douse the fire with a cup of coffee, because you’ll never be picking up her Skinny Half-Decaf Latte again.
* Scream into your pillow.
* Imagine you are lying in a clear, cool mountain stream. Imagine the water flowing through you and washing away all the frustration and dark, twisted feelings and leaving only calm and clarity.
* Know that, possibly, it really isn’t you. It really is them.
* Write it on a postcard and send it to Post Secret.
* Behold the wisdom of your grandma’s cross stitch throw pillow: “This too shall pass.”
* Hug it out.
* Know that your mom wasn’t lying when she said “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy dies.”
How do you let things go?
photo by: rosen harmens // cc

9 Comments

miku

I am sorry but that woman was horrible. Good for you for letting it go, but still I can't believe such a person exists!

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Georgia

That's some really excellent advice. The one that works best for me is "If someone really was, in fact, malicious towards you, realize that they are probably a rather unhappy person…Happy, healthy, fulfilled people rarely try to ruin others lives, right?"
So, so true. Our job is to try to not become one of those people ourselves.

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Freya

I have never heard that drinking poison quote, but I think it's going on my fridge or above my computer.

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Sal

Sage advice, lady. All of it. I hadn't heard the poison quote either and love it … but love even more the reminder that malice is rare, selfishness common.

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Rachael

Wow, I so needed to read this this morning Sarah. Thank you! Without going into the (boring) detials… my husband and I have a life changing decision to make very soon and instead of being supportive of us we feel like our sister-in-law (his brother's wife) is insanely jealous… Though we've always had issues with her, this describes her to a T: "Many people are selfish or emotionally immature." But that is the last thing I need in my life right now! As we make this decision I only need loving, supportive people to surround me. Thanks for your words of wisdom!

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R.

This might not be the most constructive way, but I like take the offender's email address and subscribe them to as many spammy newsletters as possible. And then I feel vindicated enough to move on.

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Erin QS

Logical approaches don’t fully work for me with emotional issues. I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) , journaling and a 12 Step resentment inventory for matters I need to let go. Often, I’m playing the victim & although it’s sometimes valid (like you usually can’t tell your boss to sod off,) I have seen over time that I often acted like I didn’t have choices when in fact, I had options I was ignoring. My former boss didn’t wear Prada or even close but she was unpredictable & a micro-manager and became a source of insanity in what I thought was a dream vocation. She managed to eventually run me off after I was her work peer and no longer her subordinate. I spent two years trying to get out from under my issues with her, (It was complicated, ok??) The logical observations are taking hold now that I have released most of the emotions & accepted the past. This woman drove off several people but my true healing didn’t start until I stopped looking for a different ending to a story that had already played out. I actually do feel kind of sorry for her now. She has a lonnnng history of this behavior & some part of her has to recognize the common denominator in this destruction is herself. Sitting with that is hard. And I have a new mantra, “Maybe this has come to bless me.” An alternative perspective…”with this much sh*t, there’s a pony here somewhere.”

Sometimes I almost do choose to cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m trying to be aware of that now though.

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