“It’s fine. Really. It doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s not a big deal. Seriously, I’ve let it go.”
How many times have we heard someone say this? And how many times have you doubted the veracity of this statement? In fact, the only person, who is likely to believe it, is the person saying it… and if they have any self-awareness, even they know it’s a load of crap.
I know, because I speak from personal experience. The lesson I have learned over and over again is that there is an important distinction between actually “letting it go” and burying it somewhere, so that it can unexpectedly resurface again later—most likely in an inappropriate situation.
Signs I have NOT “let it go”:
• I’m still talking about it. It comes up in everyday conversations. I reference it regularly.
• When it comes to mind, my first emotion is anger.
• It influences my decisions. I avoid certain situations or people and change my behaviour based on my fear of “it”.
Signs I have ACTUALLY “let it go.”
• My heart rate doesn’t increase when, it comes to mind.
• I see it as a past event that happened, but doesn’t define me.
• I laugh about it—not in lieu of tears.
Letting it go takes any number of approaches. I’m
a huge fan of therapy. It has helped me notice patterns release a lot of things that I was holding on to. Sometimes it means being brave and facing whatever “it” is head on. Sometimes, it just takes time.
There is a scene the film French Kiss, when Kevin Kline’s character is consoling Meg Ryan’s character, whose fiancé had just ditched her. She has just told Kline that she is afraid she’ll shrivel up and never love anyone ever again.
And Kline says, “You say that now, but... after a time, you would forget. First, you would forget his chin, and then his nose, and after a while, you would struggle to remember the exact color of his eyes, and one day you wake up and, pfft, he's gone: his voice, his smell, his face. He will have left you.”
So if you find yourself saying, “I’ve let it go,” be willing to check in with yourself and ask, “But did I really?”