At this point, you have a lot of self-awareness practices under your belt. In the previous section we talked about self-acceptance. Self-awareness and mindfulness are keys to acceptance. They allows you to focus on the moment, living with it, and not against it. They also have been working to teach you ways to feel without attachment. To feel your emotions and then let them go. This is different than trying to push your emotions away or to try to stuff them down. This practice of mindfulness and self-awareness can allow you to feel and move through a feeling versus stopping it, attaching to it, or hiding from it.
Why it Matters
When we hold tightly on to a belief, we are increasing our suffering and pain, as well as opening ourselves up to anger. This could be a belief about yourself, such as “I should be more organized,” about someone else, such as “my child should behave in public,” or about the world, such as “it shouldn’t rain today.” A lot of rigid beliefs are related to those “should” and “should not” thoughts. Being able to let go of a belief or a struggle gives you control over the situation and how you can respond to it.
How to Let Go
Sometimes things aren’t easily accepted or released. That’s okay. When you have a tough time letting go of something here are some tips to help loosen your grip.
- Focus on your breathing and bringing your attention to the present.
- Slow down. Take steps one at a time and take each day one at a time. This does not mean you have to stop planning for the future or ignore your daily routines but rather to just try not to think too heavily on tomorrow.
- Write down your concerns or frustrations. Make a list of everything bothering you. A huge project at work? Unresolved conflict with your husband? Unpaid bill? Write down everything that is causing you stress currently.
- Reorder the list you created from the most important to least. Now your worries have turned into goals, ordered and prioritized. If there’s something you can do immediately to resolve some of your concerns, do it, and if not, keep the list and return to it later.
- Resolve what issues, worries, concerns, and frustrations you can. Change what you can, knowing that you cannot change someone else. For those things you cannot change or resolve, see if you how you can shift your perspective or to make peace with the situation.
- Think about the amount of time it took you to create your list of worries, now spend double that time to create a list of things you are grateful for.
- Don’t concentrate on what you don’t have or what your life doesn’t look like. The “should” or “shouldn’ts” of how your life should be.
- Ask yourself if you will remember why you are upset in a year’s time. Figure out the magnitude of the thing that is bogging you down.
Practice the tips listed above. Which ones worked the best for you? Practice them in times of small stress and practice them in times of great stress. Continue focusing on what is working for you right now.
Bring your self-awareness practice around to your progress and how far you have grown since beginning this course. Has your patience increased? Are you more appreciative of the small things? Has your tolerance for annoyances or irritations increased?
Check back in with the goals you have set. Where are you with those goals? What have you been doing right? Where could you use improvement? Perhaps you aren’t putting in as much effort at home as you are at work. Maybe you aren’t practicing breathing or assertive communication as much as you could be. Give yourself room to progress even further.
Track your anger and rate it. Write down how you could have expressed yourself differently. Write down how you would have used to express yourself before beginning this course.