I’m big on talking about your feelings, big on asking for help when you need it and big on being open and honest when things aren’t ok.
What I’m discovering though, is that while there is a time and place for this, there are also times where there needs to be a limit. On talking about it too much. On giving the problem, or the person, or the situation, too much time, focus and energy.
I had coffee with an old friend over the weekend. I haven’t seen her in years. She is beautiful and successful. Understandably stressed at planning a wedding, studying part time and working full time, but happy and it was such a pleasure to see her.
While we were chatting, she told me about a someone in her life that had made things difficult for her for the longest time. She wasn’t a fan of this person, but he was there to stay and I asked her how she figured out how to stop letting him get to her so much.
She told me that she took a deep breath whenever she began thinking about it and she did whatever she needed to do to stop the start of that spiral into the negative space. She said that she decided to focus on the good things about him instead of the bad and over time, it got easier and easier to not let him drive her crazy. (Turns out on top of all the other stuff, she’s nailing the wise grown up thing too.)
Sometimes, letting go of something that is making you miserable or angry or anxious doesn’t require a list, or a plan or a wallow session, sometimes you’ve just gotta give yourself a stern word and tell yourself “enough”.
“Don’t give it so much air time” is something my partner says to me often when I need the reminder, and I probably need to print it out and put it above my bed while my brain is in training.
We all know how powerful words can be. We know the effect our words can have on others – we see it when we give each other compliments, when we lash out in anger or speak harshly in frustration. What we sometimes forget is that the words we are choosing and using, have as much an effect on us as they do on other people.
When something has happened, or there is someone annoying the living heck out of you, or there is a situation that you’re agonising over, we tend to obsess over it. To talk about it over and over again, or think about it over and over again. Every time we rehash, we start back at ‘Go’ on the moving on board and unlike in Monopoly, there’s no $200 reward for being back at the starting line.
My sister bought me a book once called “The life changing magic of not giving a f*ck” and in it, the author, Sarah Knight discusses the need for a ‘f*ck budget’. Basically, a list of things that really matter to you – a list of people, of things, of situations that you care about, that are worth your time and your energy and your headspace. You then discard the rest from your mind.
It really can be that simple. If they’re not in the budget, they don’t get to make you feel bad, they don’t get to be a source of anxiety, they don’t get to feature in your thoughts or in your conversations.
So, decide what matters to you. And everything else? Let’s not talk about it.