Get Me Out of Here! I’m Done with This Emotion; How Do I Let It Go?
Neglecting to offer the emotions we feel a pathway for them to move on has an effect similar to a hoarder who buys more and more, cluttering the home with all the purchased goods, many of which never even get opened! Soon, the hoarder has trouble moving through his/her home. In a similar way, emotions can “litter the emotional home of our body,” slowing our emotional and physical movement and limiting our ability to grow and evolve. So many emotions still inside us also tie up our precious energy. Years ago, Dr. Fritz Perls developed Gestalt Therapy, which demonstrated that completing and letting go of emotions allowed people to have more energy for their life.
I listened to Dr. Kaushik, an East Indian yogi, who came to San Francisco to help people develop enlightenment. He talked about “Freedom,” which was something he called facing fact. Facing Fact sets us free. This is great news when talking about releasing emotions because facing fact is a simple, straightforward thing anyone can accomplish with the intention to do so. To Face Fact, what we do is look squarely at something, for what it actually is, rather than what we’ve been told, what we hope, or what we decide. What happens if you look directly at feelings of anger you experience? Don’t you recognize and declare “I’m really angry!”? The minute we face emotions squarely, we are set free of them; and they move on.
A simple exercise for this is to do what I call the “I’m Angry Exercise.”
Just sit comfortably and repeat the words “I’m angry, I’m angry, I’m angry” in a cadence. Plan to spend at least 10 minutes repeating this phrase. When something comes to mind that you realize you feel angry about, say that out loud, before returning to repeating the phrase. Just this simple exercise will allow a lot of anger to release and move on away from you!
This exercise can be used with every emotion. Even if you think you are not angry, or sad, or fearful, doing this exercise will release any of those emotions that may be lurking in you. Since emotions are energy, whenever you release them, they move on.
Another wonderful way to release an emotion that has been taking up too much of your time or energy is to summon a Big Blue Ball, using your imagination. With a semi-permeable membrane, this Big Blue Ball can accept emotions, hurts, insults or whatever else you’re carrying, so you can mentally stuff them into the ball. With your mind, go to every cell of your body, find the emotion you wish to release, and stuff every bit of it you find into the Big Blue Ball.
When you’ve found all of it, take a deep breath and enjoy your accomplishment.
Then, envision that ball bouncing up into the sky, rising continuously away from you until it totally disappears. Be aware that it is taking the anger (fear/hurt/jealousy/rage—whatever) away from you, but in a way that it will not hurt others. Watch the Big Blue Ball disappear and let it—and the emotions you’ve stuffed inside—leave you, forever.
If you’ve read other blogs I’ve written here, you’ll know how much I believe in the principle Pay Attention, not to what you want to overcome, but to what you want to Become. This is another thing you can do to release emotions that have risen up in you. Identify how you really want to feel, and focus your mind on what you think you’ll feel like when the emotions you’re releasing are no longer such a part of your life. As you do so, those old emotions just atrophy and drop away. You don’t have to do anything to release them.
Of course, a very powerful way to release emotions (such as hurt, anger, rage, jealousy, etc.) is to forgive. “To Forgive” means to let go. Keep in mind that when you decide to forgive, you are not letting the other person off the hook. Instead, you are letting your own self off the hook! When you don’t “let go,” that stale emotion continues to reside in you, poisoning the vessel in which it is held and occupying precious space that leaves less room for other, more desirable, emotions. Forgive to release emotions, as well as to let yourself off the hook!
When you intend to release emotions, to stop holding grudges, and to love instead of blame, those are also ways to let it go.
Focusing on what we intend offers us the release and relief we seek. Notice emotions, find them in your body, feel them, determine their message, follow their message, and let them go. You’re on your way to emotional health, and to becoming an Emotional Master!
Stay tuned for the final part of this blog series this time next week!
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Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.