Let every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.
When I’m angry, when I’m upset, when I’m sad, the feelings are all consuming. My brain has a “go hard, or go home” motto and it’s not as fun when it’s not me trying to convince everyone that tequila is a good idea.
I stew, I make plans on how I am going to react in the worst case scenarios, I draft replies to messages/emails I’ve not yet received (and may never), and I drown in whatever is going on.
It affects my eating, my sleep, the way I parent, friend and partner. And I hate it.
Until enough time has passed for the feeling to ease on it’s own, or until the situation is resolved, I can think of nothing else.
The problem here is that things don’t always end in perfect closure or tidy resolution. And life is too short to be miserable until time works it’s magic.
I don’t want to get to 75 and have to tell my grandchildren that so much of my life was wasted on worrying. On rehearsing for worst case scenarios that never eventuated, or tormented by situations because I couldn’t understand someone else’s reasonings.
always fun self reflection, I’ve realised my problems boil down to two things.
Control issues, and an inability to let go.
When someone behaves in a way that I don’t understand, I struggle because I can’t control how they reason. I can’t control how they react to life stuff. I can’t control the choices they make, the way they behave, or the things they prioritise.
There is even less control when it comes to a situation that hasn’t worked out the way I was expecting it to and it’s that lack of control that means I end up stuck on a downward spiral to Wallow-ville.
I’m not sure where it’s come from, but what a delight.
Sometimes, the worst case scenarios, the bumps in the road, the last minute change of course, those changes can work out to be just as amazing as the initial options. If we are able to let that be – if we can let go of the idea, the plan, the expectations of what the situation should have been, and embrace what it is now.
And the people part?
People just are the way they are. Some are amazing, sweet, kind, caring, awesome, inspiring, talented, and some people just suck. There is no understanding that, no fixing it, no way to change it. And wasting days dwelling? Not effective in the slightest. I can speak from YEARS of experience, so trust me on this one.
I need to learn to just let go, let things be right? Enter part two of my issues. The how has always been where I’ve hit a wall.
I can figure out what the problem is, I can admit the way I deal is unhealthy, I cannot however, figure out how not to get, and stay hung up and then drown in my own pity party pool for one.
Cognitive Therapy offers a 3 C’s approach that I think might be a step in the right direction. (An approach I stumbled upon accidentally while on a 2am Pinterest scroll-fest 🙌)
CATCH – Identify the thought that came before the emotion.
CHECK – Reflect on how accurate or useful the thought is.
CHANGE – Change the thought to a more accurate or helpful one as needed.
So simple, but so effective. I need this printed on the biggest piece of paper there is, and stuck to my fridge. (And in my bathroom, and above my bedside table, and as I leave the house……)
There is no ‘how’ to letting go, that’s been the secret this whole time. You really just, do.
You take note of your thoughts, and amend them accordingly. (Yea Mum, I can hear you from here saying I told you so. Shh!)
With a bit of practice, this approach is something that our brains get better at putting into action when emotional disaster strikes. I am all in. The pity parties are exhausting and the clean up is more work than you’d think.
So. This is me, catching, checking and changing.
This is me giving up the idea that people are always going to do what’s fair, that life is always going to hand me perfectly packaged situations that begin and end neatly in satisfying closure.
This is me letting go of my desperate need to have everything go exactly my way or expect to control how other people behave or react to life.
This is me understanding that there is a difference between wallowing a healthy amount, (because sometimes life is poos and wallowing is allowed) and obsessing.
This is me, finding the silver linings, the bright sides, the positive outcomes and dwelling on those instead.
Wish me luck.