Thursday, February 3, 2011

Letting Go

I’ve said this before so many times and yet the Universe in its infinite wisdom has seen fit to teach me a lesson.  The words, “Let go of your story,” are the words I’m talking about.  The guidance behind those words is not intended to make the wounded feel bad for their inability to let go of something traumatic.  It is guidance to help you make sure that you do not over-identify with your story, thus becoming a perpetual victim or poor me persona.  Those are dangerous addictions emotionally-speaking, that people unwittingly fall into.  We all have a painful story somewhere within us and it is perfectly okay to tell that story but the warning comes in when you have unwittingly become obsessed with that story.  That obsession is like the oil light on your car – a warning that there is something yet to be healed so you can let go of your story and live life free.

I don’t mean to scare you but let me tell you a little bit about the life of a poor me or perpetual victim.  It is filled with fear and is bleak and dreary.  They walk around powerless as they have given it [their power] away to the people or person who hurt them and they are stuck in a very painful place.  They do not need condescending words telling them to “just get over it.”  What these souls need is compassion, validation, someone to really hear them tell their story in every detail without judgment and then you can help them to let go.  You can help them to create a safe and loving place that enables them to take back their power and let go of the poor me or perpetual victim mentality.  If they cannot let go, they are forever seeking their power through other people via sympathy.  They can become the energy vampires you hear so much about in casual conversation.  They can become so over-identified with their pain that they become a strong magnet for more pain that will serve only to reinforce their powerlessness.  This is a very sad state.  Over time, this negative place creates a very thick and heavy wall that eventually separates these individuals from loved ones, family and friends.  When people have become so wounded, everything they see and perceive becomes a personal slight or insult where none is intended and depending on the depth of their wounds, they may seek revenge where they think they continue to be victimized.  They can become the very thing they feel victimized by.  It can create psychoses and all sorts of other health problems.  It is not a good state.  We all have choices to make in this world and we are making a choice when we hold on to pain.  It’s okay to feel pain and feel bad or even to have a pity party for ourselves.  That is how we integrate the emotion and begin the healing process.  Just don’t stay there if you desire to heal and feel better. 

The way out of this dreary state is seeking professional assistance.  If that is unavailable, there are other ways that one can pull themselves out.  On example is trying to understand the higher lesson in painful human interactions  - I mean, the positive take-aways and not the negative ones.  So, when the words, “Let go of your Story” come up, it is not intended to be an insensitive and invalidating stream of words.  It is merely a warning not to become overly imbalanced for any length of time by your pain.  Acknowledge the pain, accept it as if it were something very important, take great and gentle care of and then when you are ready, bless it and let it go.  When you can learn to validate yourself instead of always looking to validate your story in the outside world, the pain becomes easier to integrate into your life experience and then let go of.

 I’m writing to try to shed a little light on both sides of this…for the person in pain and the people around them.  When you haven’t walked a mile or so in someone’s shoes, it is hard to understand the depths and level of their pain.  The pain is very real to them.  So, before giving advice to just get over it, heal it and let go, withhold those words and opt for something a little more positive like, “In time, this pain will heal and I know you will be fine.”  This approach will let someone know that you care and will not invalidate their feelings.  Nothing is more insensitive and hurtful than to tell someone in a victim state that it is their fault, that they need to just heal and let go or to just get over it.  That is wholly unkind because you do not understand, necessarily, the environmental psychology of these souls – what lead them to this state.  Although the words are well meaning and you may be right, it does nothing to help someone in a victim state.  It actually just forces them deeper into their pain.  So, have some compassion, be careful of your words and see things through the eyes of love with empathy, compassion and hope.  I advise against sympathy because that also reinforces their pain and negative state. 

I think with a little compassion, understanding, knowing when we are making choices and trying to understand those choices, we open ourselves up to healing and helping others in a positive way as they journey through pain and recovery from trauma.  Blessings.

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