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Learn to Let Go of Painful Memories That Hold You Back!

Learn to Let Go of Painful Memories That Hold You Back!
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One of the most popular movies of the last few years is the Disney film Frozen. It tells the story of a young witch princess called Elsa who is told to control her powers and lock herself away, so no-one knows who or what she is. She spends years locked away from the world. Because of her frustrations, her powers, instead of diminishing, only grow stronger as they are tied to her emotions.0*

Locked in her room, the years pass her by. One day (on her coronation no less!!) she finally snaps. She has to let it out, let it go. No matter what others think, she cannot be anyone, but herself. The song “Let it Go” is Frozen’s centrepiece and the central theme of the movie.

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Let it Go!

It is no wonder that this movie has resonated with so many people, children and adults alike, because don’t most of us keep big or small parts from ourselves locked away from others and even ourselves? And don’t we all wish we could just “let it go?”

What we lock away from ourselves are usually things we are afraid of. Fears, unwanted desires, traumatic parts of our history we claim to have forgotten. We lock all of this in a box which we hide in the depths of our being and go through our days pretending that what we don’t know and feel does not exist. We succeed for some time, but later all this unfinished business comes back to haunt us.

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An Identity Crisis

This is why beginning a journey to find ourselves and our true personality is hard for a lot of people, and too difficult for most. The start of the journey asks you to look inward, to open your box of fear and work through old negativity and pain. It asks us face your fears and deal with all the layers of conditioning you accumulated over the years. You have to reach your inner core, and the road to it can be long and painful To truly “Let it Go” we have to not only confront what we hide within, but also ask if our behaviours are truly ours. Is this who we learned to be over the years or is this who we really are?

Often our true identity gets “locked away” without us even noticing, because we want to be how we think other people that we love or respect want us to be. This is why many people face an identity crises later in life. They get to a point where they see half their life gone and have no idea where it went. They realise they have never (or rarely) done any of the things they truly wanted to do. They build so many versions of themselves to please others, they don’t know which one is their own. Often it’s the one they ignored the most. Which leads us back to that box of fear.

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Lamed Aleph Vav

In Kabbalah they speak of speak of the road you must travel to reach Lamed Aleph Vav, the 11th name of God and The Great Escape that banishes the ego – meaning our fears, learned behaviours and hidden emotions. We become a new person changed for the better. Well, you don’t have to join the Kabbalah to go on this journey. There is an easier way to reach this stage. But be aware, it takes time, so the most important thing is that you have to want it. To begin your journey, try the following steps

  1. Take a few minutes every day, that are just for you. Put on some music to help you concentrate, sit or lie down and slowly withdraw inwards. Look at the timeline of your life. Where and when did you begin storing things in your hidden box of fear and emotion? Why did this happen? Do you still agree with this?
  2. If not, look further inward to find the box itself. Take the box in your hands and open it. Pick out one item at a time. Focus on it, realise what it means and what you have to do with it. Now ground yourself, like a tree and LET IT GO. Feel it sink into the earth.
  3. You don’t need to go through every emotion at once. If you have a lot of pent up emotions and memories, stop after two or three emotions have been dealt with. You can come back to the box whenever you want to. Even if you have only a few issues to deal with, you may still need to do this a few times. But every time you do this, you will notice that there are less emotions to deal with. One day, the box will be empty.

“To exist is to change…To change is to mature… To mature is to go on creating oneself…Endlessly…” – Samuel Avital

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More by this author

Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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