What are a few steps to letting things go? Do you have a grudge? Are you perhaps fixated on someone’s behavior or something that was said to you during a conversation? Sometimes we have to get help to resolve thoughts of fixation, but there are things we can do on our own to move forward as well. Thoughts of fixation cause our minds to think in repetitive loops (over and over again), and it can foster anxiety, downward spiraling, and even headaches (Cognitive Health Group, 2023). A downward spiral is “a situation defined by a series of negative thoughts, feelings, or actions that feed into themselves repeatedly causing the situation to become progressively worse” (Safe and Sound Treatment, 2023). So, here are 3 tips for letting go of situations.
1. Redirect your energy.
To better explain, we’ll start with an example. Let’s say you shared a secret with your friend, and your friend told someone else – maybe they were completely apologetic or maybe they weren’t, and now, you have a grudge against this person. A grudge means conscious resentment, offense, and feeling of being treated wrongly. Grudges foster anger, sadness, feelings of being disadvantaged, and nervousness (Jelinek, LCSW, 2022). Likewise, grudges may increase constant anxiety and chronic stress (Bariccia, PsyD, 2019). Whenever you’re fixated on a situation or an event that has to do with someone else, you’re giving energy to that person. That seems cliche to say, but it’s very true. And meanwhile, if the event does not directly impact them, there's a chance that the person is not mentally revisiting what they did. So, distressing over a situation by yourself can be very lonely and isolating. So, at the end of the day, that’s not a person you want to give your energy to.
In order to let go of it, you have to look at your situation from an objective sense. So, dissect the situation instead of playing it over and over in your head.
2. Figure out why the interaction is causing stress.
Dissect the reason why the situation has hurt or disturbed you. Using the example of the grudge, suppose you’re upset because the person has betrayed your trust. Objectively, that’s a very valid reason to be upset, and maybe this happened to you before in the past. Maybe this is a sore spot. But, try to gain an understanding as to why this event is stuck in your head.
3. Decide on the gravity of the situation
At the end of the day, decide how much relevance to your life this person has. Is the emphasis you’re placing on the person proportional to how important they are in your life? If the person is close to you or you value your relationship with this person, acknowledge that the person has offended or hurt you, and they should too. If they cannot, boundaries and distance may need to be set to protect yourself.
4. Takeyour time.
Anything that has bothered you is going to time to distance itself from the forefront of your mind. You can’t rush it. It’s important to let go of things, but don’t reprimand yourself by thinking, “I am less than for still being stuck on this. I need to get over this. It’s not that big of a deal.” Don’t let the need to move forward invalidate what you’re feeling at the moment. Feel what you feel, but address the root, and don’t let it fester. Time will help you progress, and try to get sleep. A rested mind will help you regulate your thoughts in a better way, and it will also be easier to confront what’s happening. Ultimately, no matter what, remember to take care of yourself because you are valid, you are worthy, and you are capable.
Barracia, Barbara. PsyD. 2019.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886918304884
Jelinek, Jocelyn, LCSW. Telloian, Courtney. 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/holding-grudges