Breaking post-traumatic patterns and letting go is by no means a painless journey. Life coach, counsellor, founder of the All About You Centre hypnotherapy training clinic and Prestige Women of Power honouree Sonia Samtani weighs in.
One of the truths that life continues to show us is how impermanent our experiences are and how things keep changing, whether it’s the weather, our feelings, the price of commodities, or the texture of our relationships. All that exists physically either dies, deteriorates, develops, or evolves in some way. They don’t stay the same for eternity.
The only thing that can remain stuck without moving forward is our mindset. We humans have a tendency to get attached to the way we want things to be, and find it difficult to be with the way things are. Sometimes we want our romantic relationship to be the same as it was 15 years ago, or wish our child could still be that sweet innocent five-year-old, or crave that life can go back to the way it was pre-pandemic. Even though the pandemic is an old story now, many people still feel as if they’re “suffering” on a daily basis, which has been damaging for the mental health of our community. There’s no denying the losses people have faced, whether they’re tangible, such as losing relationships and money, or intangible, like losing the life you thought you’d have. Yet, if we’re still here, we have the potential to face reality and move forward.
Getting stuck on how you think things are “supposed to be” and refusing to accept the way things are can be the biggest blocks that prevent you from moving forward. The consequences of this attachment can be depression, anger, helplessness and a general feeling of disillusionment. Dealing with loss is not going to be comfortable, and we need to accept that. The question to ask yourself is, do you have the courage to face the truth, deal with your discomfort and move past the situation?
It’s also OK to ask for support. Unfortunately, many people wait until they reach the darkest places in their mind before taking action, or seeking help from a loved one or a therapist. As a community, if we could understand some simple concepts about life that aren’t formally taught to us at school, it might allow us to seek support faster or find our own inner resources to deal with life’s unexpected situations.
When we let go of our attachment, we normally go through stages. If we’re unaware, we can get stuck in our attachment for years. Or we could understand what’s required of us to cultivate the mindset to let go and move on. Here are some tips that can help you identify the stages of letting go and what’s needed to move forward. You can use this to move forward and rehabilitate from your post-pandemic circumstances, or to step forward from any loss you are dealing with.
It may sound simple, but this can be the hardest step. It’s much easier to keep thinking that things are unfair, or that life wasn’t supposed to be this way, or that the situation is so wrong, than to fully face reality. Staying angry has an element of denial. When you’re in the midst of blaming, you can’t think of a solution and can pretend you don’t have to deal with it. To face a challenging situation, set an intention to look at it objectively, even if it’s uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and imagine you’re looking at your situation from a place of overview, as if you’re an observer of your reality. Look at all angles, the way it is for you and for your loved ones, and look at what your options are.
ACCEPT THE PARTS YOU DON’T LIKE
Now you’ve faced reality, it’s time to let go of judgement. It’s easy to be with the parts of life we like and want. Yet, life is going to throw us a variety of experiences, and we need to be able to accept the parts of life we don’t want. An easy way to understand acceptance is to think of it like meditation or mindfulness. Just be with the fact that something happened, without trying to make it right or wrong. Just as you can become mindful of these words you’re reading or the clothes you’re wearing right now, become mindful to the situation you’re in. As challenging as it was, it’s already happened, and the only thing you can do now is to move forward from this point. Moving forward doesn’t mean minimising the loss, it can mean you honour the richness of your experience and move on with more wisdom and learning.
PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONS
It’s inevitable for you to feel emotional about letting go of something you cherished. Feeling emotions is a natural part of life and it’s much healthier to allow yourself to feel them fully than to avoid them. All emotions are supposed to be a transient experience of “energy-in-motion”. If you’re feeling emotions of sadness, helplessness, anger or anything else, permit yourself to process these emotions by accepting they’re there and taking deep breaths to move it out rather than ignoring or suppressing them. It’s OK to feel emotions and allow them to move through you, no matter how long it takes to do this.
TRUST YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH IT
We’re all born with inner resources of strength, courage, creativity, and faith that you can channel to let go. If you think about any challenging situation of the past and how you overcame it, you’ll find access to these resources. When people are anxious, they often have fear that they can’t deal with the worst-case scenario. The truth is you can and you will, just as you’ve dealt with many worst-case scenarios in the past. Trust that even if it means you’ll have less money, or your lifestyle will be different, or you lose someone you love, you have the tools to deal with what life has to offer. I often ask clients to remember a moment where they felt unstoppable, and relive that experience so they can re-generate those feelings in their body, and then tap into that state every night. Additionally, you can affirm that “I trust I have the tools to powerfully deal with what comes my way”.
Imagine moving forward. If you can move forward in your mind and imagine solutions or visualise your life six months later and see how you dealt with your challenge, it indicates you can move forward in reality. In order for you to move in that direction, your mind first needs to conceive the possibility of being at peace. Imagine what life can look like after you’ve accepted your loss, whether it be that you can’t travel, or your relationship with someone is done. When you can finally imagine a future where you’ve faced reality and moved forward without any emotional charges, you’ll feel an immense sense of peace.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself while going through these stages of letting go, and take it one step at a time. It’s OK to go back and forth as we move through these stages. We have layers and layers of emotions. Every time we process a thought, we’re addressing a layer, so we can’t really regress in our evolution. If you feel as if you’re being hijacked by your emotions, or find it difficult to gain an objective viewpoint, seek support from a professional. Seeking help is a great sign of being resourceful, as you’re already beginning to think of solutions. At All About You, we take clients through these stages, and support them to reach resolutions by working with both their conscious awareness and their subconscious patterns.