“Get over it”: Moving Beyond the Pain and Anger

Whether it be a failed relationship or rejection of a partner; the loss of a job or a promotion; a hurtful comment your mother or father made to you as a child; or even a totally untrue and unflattering rumor posted on Facebook by your best friend’s, little sister’s, ex-boyfriend, we occasionally have a difficult time letting things go. Chronologically they may be history but emotionally and psychologically these incidents can truly become obstacles to our inner-peace and happiness.

The implications of not resolving or letting go of past painful events vary, however, can include anger, resentment, bitterness, and/or depression. Holding on to past pain essentially hits where it hurts the most-ourselves. As Mark Sichel (2011) points out, “living with resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy will get sick”. So, what is it that makes letting go so difficult? This is not an easy question to answer and certainly not the same for everyone. For some people it may be about not feeling ready to work through the past, for others it may be a fear of how things will change when they let go of the anger/resentment, and for others it may simply be about not knowing how to let go or work through past pain.

Assuming readiness, a good place to begin is to consider how holding on to past hurt impacts us and to then acknowledge that we cannot control the scripts of the past nor undo the wrongdoings of others. It is also vitally important to acknowledge and honour our feelings and allow ourselves the opportunity to express and release these feelings in a healthy manner (i.e., letter writing). Through accepting the past and honouring our feelings we become more able and empowered to control the narratives of today. Through letting go, we validate our strength, power, and right to self-determination.

Let us not mislead you though, as this is not always an easy task. Counselling can be especially beneficial for those who experience a blockage in moving forward or for those who prefer the cathartic nature of reliving emotional pain. Counsellors can assist individuals to get “unstuck” and find alternate, healthier, more empowering strategies to cope and manage difficult emotions.

We hope this blog has provided hope that, when ready, people can choose to break free from the chains of the past and reclaim their future. As always, we welcome your feedback, opinions, and personal example(s) of how you were able to “let go” and move forward.

Philippa & Kerry

Sichel, M. (2011). The therapist is in: What I know about therapy. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in

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