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Let it Go

When we have been hurt in some way, pain is the result. After we’ve faced the fact that we are in pain, and then taken the time to work through the pain and to process and learn from it, then it’s time to let go of the pain. But, how often do we *really* then do this??? We often use the phrase "let it go" because it’s pretty good advice, and most of us try to let go of past pain and injury and wrongs done to us, but what does this phrase really mean and how do we really do it?

Not Attaching to the Pain

“Let it go” is about not attaching to the memory of pain once we’ve faced it and worked it all the way through. Letting it go means not letting our pain define us, or our continuing to identify with it. W

e’ve all heard the phrase “forgive and forget,” but I often hear people say “I can forgive but I’ll never forget.” This is an example of not being able to let it go, this is a form of attachment: attachment to the pain, attachment to the experience, and continuing to identify with it. It happens when something within us about the pain or the experience is still unresolved. “Forgetting,” or “letting it go” doesn’t mean what happened is erased, or that we can’t recall information about what happened, or that we approve of what happened, it just means the experience isn’t actively primed in our awareness so that we don’t need to constantly be on-guard for any sign of future danger or pain. Not being able to let it go is evidence that we are still in pain, and now we are being haunted by the fear of future pain.

Learning to Trust

So how do we learn to let go? We learn to let go by learning to trust; trust in our own abilities that we can handle what comes our way, even if it’s painful. We trust that we will make the best decisions we can in our particular time, place, and circumstances. We trust that if those decisions then leads to more pain, we will know how to deal with it. If we haven’t gotten to that point, then it means we haven’t fully dealt with the pain and grown from it. Sometimes we try to rush the process of healing by trying to prematurely jump to the “let it go” phase. That just doesn’t work, either. Trying to bypass our pain is just our way of fooling ourselves into thinking we can quickly heal our pain by avoiding facing and working through it. Pain hurts, but there is no shortcut to resolving it and no “quick fix” regardless of how badly we’d like there to be. Letting go can only happen once we’ve faced and fully processed through the pain itself. Sometimes we can do this on our own, but sometimes a little help is necessary.

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