11 Comments to
5 Clues You Should Be Letting Go of Something

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  1. I’m surprised to find this article on a psychology blog because it is really rooted in AA philosophy, which is a spiritual program — not a psychological program.

    I’ve spent plenty of time in the rooms of AA myself, and although AA offers many benefits to alcoholics — most notably a strong, caring community and a chance to be heard — unfortunately it fails to correct brain chemistry. I gave AA my all, but wasn’t cured of alcoholism until I corrected my brain chemistry.

    But this article isn’t about alcoholism, it’s about how to recognize that you need let go of the stresses of daily life. And while it is useful to notice when we are holding on to negativity, it’s more useful to know how to let go of the negativity. My personal belief is that spiritual practice has limited effectiveness for letting go of negativity.

    Flanagan hints at the solution when she suggests that people notice when they are talking to multiple people about something that is bothering them. People intuitively talk about what’s bothering them because that is what helps them. As Flanagan suggests, though, it’s a good idea to give thought to who you are talking to — you probably don’t want to “poison” the emotional health of your family’s child care center.

    The key is to find someone to talk to about it who isn’t going to get emotionally caught up in the issue.

    You also want someone who isn’t going to offer you advice or try to solve your problem. Or change the focus of the attention to themselves, telling you about when a similar thing happened to them and then, by the way, here’s what they did about it and you should try it too.

    Try choosing a friend who is a good listener, and set up a time with them when they will agree to listen to you about how stressful life has been — say 20-30 minutes — and then agree to switch the focus to them. Listen to your friend for 20-30 minutes about how stressful life has been for them. No doubt life has been stressful for your friend, too. This way you won’t feel like you’re asking for too much.

    Set aside a weekly time to exchange listening time with your friend — you’ll have a weekly stress relief that will keep things from building up.

    Set a timer so you won’t over-shoot your time and then cut your friend’s time short.

    And if you attend AA meetings, make sure you take a turn telling the group about what’s going on with you. As you know, you will feel better afterward.

    To learn more about how you can let go of life’s injustices, visit http://www.rc.org.

    To learn more about how you can change your brain chemistry to recover from addiction, visit the Recovery Systems Clinic home page at http://www.recoverysystemsclinic.com/ or research nutritional therapy for addiction.

    Hope this helps! Be well!

  2. I enjoyed this article and saved it for a client. I felt that she would appreciate it’s insights.

    The key to psychology is offering support to help others increase their sense of well-being. This article does that.

    Thanks for posting it whether it’s insights are borne of AA, Ellis, DSMI or Dykstra.

  3. I somewhat wish I had left off the beginning of my post about whether this “belongs” on a psychology blog, and I had thought about leaving it off, but my concern was that the post doesn’t offer solutions for letting go — only recognizing when you need to let go. Knowing that the philosophy is rooted in AA, I believe that the implication is that you can let go of stressful events by calling on a higher power. I believe that people will be more successful by reaching out to caring friends who will listen with the confidence that listening and caring is enough.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Jennifer and Scott. Just to clarify, The Wisdom to Know the Difference is not a recovery book and my background is not in AA, although I do include recovery movement wisdom in the book. The book looks at a variety of perspectives on making change and letting go, including insights from psychology and from a variety of spiritual traditions. The importance of having supportive people in your life is certainly one of the points made in the book, especially in the final chapter on community. The reason that is not addressed in this particular post is that Therese Borchard asked me to list some clues that we need to change or let go of something, not about strategies for helping us to do either one, though that would certainly be a worthy blog post as well.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Thanks for responding and clarifying Eileen. Given the nature of the request, the post is right on target. Hope I didn’t offend.

  6. No offense taken, Jennifer. Glad to have people sharing their thoughts!

  7. Through article. But still many people don’t accept the problem even when they are told these signs.

  8. That’s true, “Ask a Doctor.” Denial is a common obstacle to both acceptance and change.

  9. I really enjoyed this article. There is a lot of wisdom here for me espec now. I think you need to make a change to let something go and the reverse- you need to let something go to make a change. I had a friend and employer really betray and treat me badly almost two months ago. I had tried to call her but she hung up on me. After reading this I wrote her a letter saying exactly what she did- it was bad- and why she hurt me so much. It allowed me to get closure. I think the way to get closure is even if the person is being a butt and won’t talk to you for me it helped so much to pinpoint what exactly was so painful and to express it. I slept very well last night and I feel better- so much better.

  10. There are two people in my friends family that have ostrosized themselves from the entire family. An innocent “jesting” remark was made and it got blown way out of proportion coupled with untruths and blaming. After the explosion it got way out of control. Now those that blew it out of proportion have invented the worst, thinking the worst of an innocent event & of the person. Since then these two people have demonstrated rage on several occasions alienating the person (and the rest) who made the innocent “jestful” comment, not giving this person an opportunity to explain to apologize. Instead these people are wearing this on their sleeves and have cut off all relationships with the friends and the family. Even those who mediated (a request by the two people) have been cut off & raged at on two occasions. The objective mediators would not take sides. It has become obvious that they felt defeated so off with all of the heads! Those left in the wake of their rage have moved on calling it water under the bridge as they were left to make that choice.

  11. You don’t need my support, but you do deserve my thanks.

    I quoted and paraphrased your hard work today.

    Thank you helping us help others to “Embrace Your Frustration.”





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