Are you addicted to your pain?
When it comes to letting stuff go, us humans are pretty attached to our “stuff.” We hoard material possessions, family heirlooms, paperwork, past hurts, and emotional reactions. We hold on to them like our life depends on it. As though without these things, these beliefs about who we think we are because of certain life events, we would not survive if we let go of them.
But, what if I told you that you would survive letting go of what no longer serves you? You can survive without the pain and old hurts from your past. Not only survive but thrive. In fact, releasing what no longer serves you can have a similar effect to an orgasm… letting go of your shit could just bring you pleasure, joy and a sense of relief and peace.
What?!? I hear you say! Yes, letting go is healthy for you. It’s not always easy to do, but once you do, well, the benefits are mind-blowing!!
What is the Ego? In order to let go, you first need to understand what is happening to keep you living in a place of fear. The Ego is the part of you that resides between the conscious and unconscious, but it is what keeps you from conscious awareness. It is the part that acts from a place of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success. The Ego wants to keep you safe, but in doing so can actually cause more harm than good.
The Ego is the part that sabotages your dreams and desires. It causes doubt, uncertainty, and therefore blocks you from living the life of your dreams. It is that voice that tells you that you are not good enough, that your life will be better if your wardrobe is full of clothing, you have the fanciest car, or you marry the “right” [read: someone who society thinks is successful, e.g. rich, handsome, in a stable job/corporate career, etc] person, even if these things are not what truly light you up in this life.
The Ego wants to keep you safe or limited by the stories you tell yourself. Some common excuses, that come from the Ego and the fear it uses to keep you playing small include…
What’s the point in bringing up this past memory, it is just going to upset [insert name of family member/friend here].
I can’t quit my job. Who else is going to do it?
Nobody else is going to clean up the house, so I have to do it.
Anything using the words: “should”, “have to” or “need to”.
So, how does this show up in our lives?
What are you holding on to?
Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to throw out, give away, or sell your material possessions?
Material possessions somehow became a sign of power, influence, and success. The Ego has learnt to attach your sense of self-worth to the material possessions you own. Getting rid of them, therefore, feels like you are getting rid of a part of yourself. But, these physical items, they only hold value and power if you allow them too. They are only worth something if you choose them to be.
In attaching our sense of self to material possessions, we often also attach other emotions to them. For example, think of the purchases you’ve made after a break-up. These purchases are often a way to try and mend a broken heart, re-create yourself as someone new, or replace the void left by the person leaving.
Another common way we place our emotions into our material possessions is by holding on to furniture, belongings, and keepsakes from parents and grandparents after their passing. You hold onto the physical possessions as a way to keep them in your life or avoid dealing with your feelings of grief, loss, isolation or hurt that occur when you lose a loved one.
But, the memories, emotions, and feelings caused by traumatic, stressful, and hurtful events in your life go deeper than the material items. And if you avoid the feelings and emotions for long enough, they manifest as dis-ease in the body and limiting beliefs in the mind.
So how do you go about letting go? How can you tell the Ego to go away?
Letting go of “stuff” is scary. But, as with anything in this life, the more you practice the easier it becomes. Letting go allows you to create space for new possibilities, new energy, new goals and dreams and passions to enter your lives. Learning how to let go of past resentments, pain, misunderstandings and hurt take place in several ways.
Here are a couple of ways to begin to let go:
- Forgive yourself and others. You don’t have to go up to the person who harmed you in a past situation, but you can write a letter forgiving them for their actions and behaviour and then burning the letter to release yourself from the pain and attachment.
- Talk it out. The more you talk about how you are feeling or the events in your life as they happen, the less power they end up having over you. By talking with others you are able to process the situation as it occurs instead of bottling it up. Plus, you’ll most likely find that others have been in a similar situation at some point in their life and can share tips or strategies or support to help you process your feelings.
- Start small. Start with going through one box/drawer/shelf in your house and decluttering. Ask yourself if the items you are going through bring you joy and love or if they cause you pain and sadness. If they bring you joy keep it. If they cause you pain and sadness… let it go.
- Self-talk. Changing your self-talk from harmful to loving requires you to 1) learn to love yourself, and 2) retrain your brain. Affirmations, gratitude, journaling, mindfulness are a few practices you can incorporate into your daily routine that encourage you to connect with your true self and a place of love.
With each release you have, after the initial wave of emotions that come up as you let go, you’ll begin to feel lighter, calmer, at peace with yourself.
Choosing Pleasure over Pain
Just like exercising the body to train the muscles, the same thing needs to take place for the mind and your thoughts. After each experience of letting go, the Ego will kick things up a notch. Your fears and old patterns of thought rising up to bring you back to that familiar place of pain and lacking. So it is important to dedicate time and energy to regularly practising acts of letting go.
Learning to let go is a practice in self-love. And through peeling back the layers of hurt and pain that you’ve attached to for so long, you begin to discover that you are not that person you used to be. The old story or beliefs you had about “who you are” begin to crumble as you realise that you deserve happiness and peace in your life. Your body begins to heal itself as layers of past emotions are released. You begin to feel more energised, less need to control every situation, and clear about who you are becoming.
What it boils down to is choice. You get to choose to stay stuck in the pain cycle, holding on to the past. Or you get to choose to let go of the pain and create space for love, joy and happiness in your life. And while it requires a bit of hard work on your part in order to let go, living your life on the other side of pain and fear, well, the view of life is pretty spectacular when you choose love as your guiding force to live life.