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21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

It is often advised to bereaved people that “time will heal all of their wounds.” With this belief or common assumption, many people expect time will help them overcome the anguish, anger, sadness, guilt, and fear that they may be feeling at certain difficult situations in life. However, time in itself—unlucky for us—does not heal all wounds and quite a lot of people still find it torturing many years after experiencing some sad things. With the passage of time the pain may ease a bit, but it is still difficult for many people to let go and move on at certain painful or hard situations in life.

Although time is not a healer, time can be used well for the purpose of healing. In the words of Dr. Phil, “Time doesn’t change us. It’s what we do with that time that changes us.” This means that we can actually do something to help ourselves heal more quickly. This means that when life knocks us down, instead of remaining there, we have to make efforts to bounce back. It is our attitude that determines whether we let that situation make us or break us! Steve Maraboli in Life, the Truth, and Being Free states that “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” When it is difficult for you to let go and you feel lost, here are 21 things you can do to move towards a happier and fulfilling life.

1. Council yourself to let go and move on

To let go, it is essential that you counsel yourself that it is time to move on. It requires from you to make yourself understand that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny. It also requires deciding that if you want to move forward then you have to let go.

2. Go out with friends or family

Your friends and family can be a great source of comfort and solace in situations where you find it difficult to let go and move on. You can go out, talk, and share your feelings with people who love you and truly listen to you, and they can give you a totally fresh and different perspective on things.

3. Learn a new skill

Another thing that you can do is to expand your skill base. While being involved in the process of learning, you will have less time to dwell on your troubling experience and will be able to forget it. Also, you will understand that there are always new things to learn, new ways to grow, different viewpoints to explore and new opportunities just around the corner. This will help in keeping you motivated towards life.

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4. Engage in a physical activity

Exercise or physical activity in any form has been found out to help in relieving stress. From aerobics to yoga, any form of exercise can be engaged in when you find it hard to let go. This is because it helps in boosting brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, increase your self-confidence, improves your mood, and lower the symptoms associated with anxiety and mild depression.

5. Plan a Trip

When you find it hard to let go, a change of atmosphere or environment can do wonders. Confining yourself will not help in making things right. Instead, for a week or a month, escape from your surrounding and treat yourself with a scenic difference.

6. Explore new avenues and see new people

One of the best things to do to move on and let go is to meet new people and go out. The world has to offer a lot of new things and there are always new people to be invited into your life. Join a networking group or get involved in community activities or join a special interest group and make an effort to meet new people. Addition of new and positive people in your life will help in healing from the toxicity of the past experience.

7. Cry it out

A study by Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, suggested that crying can be helpful in flushing out negative chemicals out of the body that gather in your body as a result of stress. Hence, crying out helps immensely in times when it is difficult for you to let go. But once you have cried, wipe your tears, stand up and dust off and remind yourself that life does not end here. Steve Maraboli says for such a situation: “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”

8. Forgive

Forgiveness is one of the most essential things to do when you have to let go and move on. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself, and forgiving the Universe is significant for allowing yourself the space and freedom of moving on. According to Steve Maraboli, “unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

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9. Accept the situation

Accepting things as they are can be the key for unlocking the door to happiness. If you are trapped in a damaging past, instead of fighting to change things, accept what had happened and what you can’t change, and trust me, you will find more peace. The sooner you accept it, the sooner it will stop hurting you and the faster you are able take control of your life and bring improvement to it.

10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet

Express or release your feelings by means of a creative outlet, such as blogging or painting or any form of art. Use your creativity to combat the negative emotions that are dwelling inside you. The book Your Creative Brain by Shelley Carson can present a number of ways you can transform negative emotion through creative work.

11. Do some volunteer work

Volunteering has been found out to be helpful in warding off depression and boosting happiness and self-confidence. Hence, when it is difficult for you to take your mind off past experiences, volunteer work can help in bringing a positive change to your mental state. Volunteer work can get you moving and make you more socially connected. Also, by spending time in service of others, you will enjoy a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.

12. Look for company of those who have been through similar experiences

Seeking company of those who may be able to understand what you are going through is also advantageous in such situations. This could be in the form of talking to friends or people around you who may have undergone something similar or it could be reading other people’s stories and cherishing their wisdom. This could help in bringing yourself to the understanding that you are not alone. Also, you can adopt the ways those people used for coping in a similar situation, thereby making it easier to move on in life.

13. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and flick it when you begin thinking about the unhappy experience

This may sound a bit odd, but doing this really helps to remind you that persistent negativity may be hurtful for your mind and body, and therefore, you are required to let go and move forward.

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14. Metaphorically throw it away or release it

Write down on a paper about the stresses that you are feeling and throw it away in the dustbin or toss the paper into the fireplace. This will help you let go of the stress associated with the event or unhappy experience that you have gone through.

15. Make time each day to nurture yourself

Help yourself heal by including in your daily schedule the activities that you find soothing and calming. For example, you can listen to music, read a favorite book, go out for a walk in nature, photograph life around you, get a massage, or take a yoga class. Avoid using drugs or alcohol or food for coping or relieving your feeling of pain. Instead, find healthier and positive ways of healing from the situation.

16. Journal your troubling experiences

Journal-keeping is a great way for gaining insights into your feelings and thoughts that prevent you from moving on. According to psychologists, it allows becoming aware of and understanding the reasons that made things happen the way they did. Keeping journal or writing about your experiences, is, therefore, regarded as a good way towards moving on as it helps in seeing your feelings in black and white so that they can be analyzed, changed, or even destroyed.

17. Pray or Meditate

Both meditation and prayer are considered as wonderful for reduction of stress and also in times when you find it hard to let go and move on in life. Prayer helps in accepting the things you cannot change and the hardships you are facing as God’s will. It helps in the achievement of peace of mind and has powerful effects on your mental and physical health.

18. Make a list of your accomplishments

In times when it is hard to let go and your self-esteem level is low, making a list of your accomplishments can help in elevating your self-esteem level. When you take out time to see yourself in a positive light, and make a list of your accomplishments, and add to it regularly even the small things that you do, you make some space for self-satisfaction.

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19. Visualize an empowered you

Visualization is another powerful psych tool at your disposal for improving self-confidence and self-healing. Visualizing yourself as an empowered person is helpful in situations where it is difficult for you to let go, and will help in bringing improvement in your sense of self-worth and in relieving stress.

20. See the bigger world

In a situation when it is difficult for you to let go of your past experiences, seeing the world around you and paying attention to the details in your surrounding can help you see that the world has a lot more to offer than that unhappy experience. For this, you can add to your daily routine some things that can help you see a bigger world, such as exploring the streets you have never been to before, closing your eyes and listening to your surroundings, taking different paths to or from work, etc.

21. Focus on the present

It is a famous quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” So instead of mourning for the past or worrying about the future, live in the present moment and enjoy them. Kalidasa says “Yesterday is but a dream, Tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” Choosing to live in the past robs you of the enjoyment today. Therefore, consider each day to be full of endless possibilities and appreciate fully the moments that come your way.

Featured photo credit: Loren Kerns via flickr.com

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Mehwish A. Wahid

Writer and Researcher

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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