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When You Start To Let Go Of the Past, These 3 Incredible Things Will Happen

When You Start To Let Go Of the Past, These 3 Incredible Things Will Happen

Now it’s clear to me that there is no complete freedom from the past. Learning to let go of the past is a reflex in a continuum of self-care. To aid you in your journey towards tomorrow whilst remaining kind enough not to forget saying good-bye to yesterday, here’s a short list to encourage your efforts and a chance to journey with me as I learn to let go of the past. If you let go of your past, these three things will happen to you.

1. You will feel more alive.

Moving on from the past may benefit your health after all. A 2004 Harvard Medical School issue found that those who forgave after a conflict experienced improvements in blood pressure and heart rate, and a decreased workload for the heart. The issue also found that those who converted anger into compassion during meditation felt less physical pain and anxiety than those who received regular care. Though this issue is a decade old, similar studies conducted over the years have suggested similar results. Findings from the Mayo Clinic argue that accepting harmful events can promote healthier relationships and reduce depression.

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Finally, the findings from the latter organization concluded that when we choose not to let the past burden our future, the spiritual part of ourselves become more alive. This is an interesting claim, especially since highlighting intangible thoughts and bringing them into the light of clarity symbolizes the basin of numerous philosophical and religious schools. Now, I don’t think of myself as particularly spiritual but I have experienced that letting go of the past made me feel not only healthier but also happier with life in general.

2. You will learn with more depth and color.

”I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.” – Jeffrey McDaniel

Having the ability to recover from negative events and to become healthy, strong, and successful again is the hallmark of a psychological term known as resilience. Although it might seem unrelated to what we’re discussing right now, those who move on from the past tend to be more resilient. Moving past the old with a positive outlook is a given in the toolkit of thriving beyond any primal fear! Just think, did Lincoln’s nervous breakdown deter him from becoming president? Einstein apparently suffered from a speech delay in his childhood, but that didn’t rip apart his ambitious visualizations! Those people and innumerable other people endured much in their life but were able to form themselves a strong-willed shell to coat their developing process of recovery. But what does resilience have to do with learning better?

According to Dr. Cal Crow, the co-founder and Program Director of the Center for Learning Connections, resilient people build solid goals and support them with a foundation of desire which embraces the future rather than sulks in its presence. Personally, I lacked a drive to pursue high grades in Grade Eight and Nine. The building where high school was set up didn’t mimic a real high school in the slightest instance. I didn’t feel like I could ever accept how radical this school’s premises were. It’s important not to forget that part of resilience is goal-management, as mentioned before, and the school required us to fill out sheets describing the educational goals we planned to achieve today. So what’s something that’s tough and unpleasant and yet deserves some much-needed gratitude in your life?

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3. You will connect with humankind in harmony.

When I first became a high school student a while ago, the new environment was abundant with unfamiliar faces. Most of them were older and more experienced in the fiesta of hormonal adolescents and soon my memories of being bullied before troubled me once more. During the graduating year of elementary school, I hid in bushes during recess and paced sordidly behind the swing set when the bushes were muddy or insects were feasting on it. The pacing triggered contempt from classmates. A few children delighted in my anguish, targeting me with callous remarks, and I graduated with an alienated persona and a thinner skin.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever forget what happened, but something instrumental to learning to let go of the past is learning to forgive or to not hold grudges. Forgiveness is essentially refusing to identify as a victim and choosing to release the suffocating power and control an offending situation or a person might have previously burdened you with. Try this practical little exercise in times of need: find a piece of paper and write a letter to someone who hurt you deeply. Don’t edit it or scan it for grammatical errors; just recall those painful, dehumanizing, humiliating memories that situation or person inflicted upon you. Write with the impression that they’ll understand what you truly went through and imagine in great detail that they’re reading it – just remember not to send it to anyone! Once you’re finished, reread it and add anything missing then shred it into tiny little pieces or throw it out into a fire and watch it disintegrate. The takeaway of this is that letting go of the past is ultimately more relevant to your life when you incorporate a cathartic release such as writing or art.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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