Do you have troubling, negative or challenging feelings about your parents that interfere with the kind of daughter or son you want to be? Or that interfere with your ability to be present with your mom or dad?
Let’s take the example of feeling frustrated or angry with them, for whatever reason. Have you ever been told to ‘just let it go’ when you are feeling this way? Do you want to throttle them when they say this? Do you want to throttle them because they seem to be suggesting that you are holding on to your (negative) feelings?
What if they are right? Or what if, instead, you don’t want to hold on to the feeling but just aren’t sure how to let it go or even if you can. This might sound rather strange , but techniques to Let go/Release/Surrender can be helpful to you even if you want to hold on to your negative feelings and not let them go.
Here are two (2) effective techniques:
Could I? would I? when? technique
First of all, identify or name the feeling you want to let go of. If it is an emotion you can’t figure out, just say ‘This feeling’. Another option is to go to your senses. For example, you might say ‘This feeling in my body’ (kinesthetic); ‘This picture I have in my head’ (sight); ‘This tightness in my shoulders’ (kinesthetic); ‘This harsh voice I am hearing’ (auditory).
Ask yourself the following 3 basic questions and it is important to be honest. When you ask yourself the question, don’t give what may seem to be the right answer. Also, answer yes or no. Don’t get into a debate, a rationalization or explanation for your answer.
- Could I let this feeling go? (yes or no)
- Would I let it go? (yes or no)
If your answer to question #2 is “no” or if you are not sure, ask yourself: “would I rather have this feeling or would I rather be free?”
Even if you answer is “No, I won’t let this go,” you can get a release just by being honest. Again, do NOT get into an internal debate about this or second guess yourself. That is, don’t think about the process, just do it. Yes, like Nike.
This method helps us establish some distance from the feeling and realize that we are not at the mercy of the feeling but instead, we do have a choice. Many of us hold onto our feelings and forget that we are holding onto them.
The premise of this method is that releasing is natural and most feelings come and go easily if we do not repress them or attach to them. The questions revolve around acknowledging the feeling and allowing the feeling to flow.
Welcome the (unwanted) feeling technique
Welcome it? Yes, welcome it. This is based on the idea that what we resist, persists.
The truth is that we experience literally thousands and thousands of thoughts and feelings every day. Similar to the first technique outlined above, thoughts and feelings will effortlessly flow if we do not attach to them or resist them. If you just can’t get your head around welcoming a feeling that you honestly do not want, then change the language and just allow the feeling to exist.
This method, like the first one, is incredibly simple:
- Notice the feeling. Just let the feeling come up and be there. Allow it to be there.
- Ignore all thoughts that come up because they are there to prop up and hold onto the feeling. Thoughts, it has been said, are “bait to a fish; if we bite at them, we get caught.” When we give up resisting the feeling or trying to change it, the feeling will literally dissipate and we will move on to another feeling.
- The feeling may return. You simply notice it again. If it returns, that does not mean you are doing it incorrectly, it simply means that there is more of the feeling inside you that needs to come up and be acknowledged.
Surely, it’s not that simple?!
Simple, right? Too simple? Are you having any thoughts like, “It can’t be that simple,” “It is way more complicated than that or “I have good reasons for feeling this way”.
This is not uncommon.
Our minds get in there and make a simple process complicated and will sabotage our decision to let go of troubling or difficult feelings.
If you feel unable to ignore such thoughts, apply the letting go technique to your thoughts instead of your feelings. You can let go of a thought (or any limiting belief) just as easily as you can let go of a feeling.
You can also apply the technique to the resistance itself: “Could I let go of this resistance?” or “Could I welcome/allow this resistance?”
Letting go is a skill. You may want to start with the small irritations and annoyances you experience in life and then when you become more skilled at letting go, you can move on to more challenging and emotionally intense issues (hello mom and dad!).
Which one of these techniques appeals to you the most?