The Art of Letting Go
“Forgive and forget”, we’ve all heard of that phrase before. We’ve always known to live by it and to let go of what makes us bitter. And yet, we find ourselves holding grudges more often than we need to. As a matter of fact, we don’t just hold these grudges. We foster them, we let them dwell inside our mind almost like a guilty pleasure, putting us in a bad mood and consequently, forcing us to mistreat the people around us that have nothing to do with the grudge in the first place.
Ever felt that way before? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Letting go of something or someone that angered us is difficult. But here’s a few things to think about the next time you feel that way.
Understand that absolutely nothing good can come to you for staying angry. Being angry won’t solve any problems. To really solve a problem, talk it out. Communication might be the most effective solution to any and every misunderstanding in life.
Put yourself in this situation: you find out that a friend has been talking behind your back about how they don’t like your attitude (when you don’t even know what made them feel that way). You get angry. “That’s absurd, I’ve never done anything to piss them off!” you tell yourself. You keep that anger without telling anyone. Then what happens? Every time you see that friend of yours, you find yourself being hostile.
Imagine if you’d just stay calm and cared less about what was said. You wouldn’t have to go through the roller coaster of being outraged. But maybe sometimes you just can’t help it. Maybe it was something you can’t forget. Well, wouldn’t it be better to put your pride aside and talk? Not confront. Just talk. Ask your friend what made them feel that way, and maybe you’d realise that their point of view is not that irrational after all. And even if it was, at least now you get the chance to explain how you feel about what was said. You’d likely come out of that situation with a resolved misunderstanding and
a stronger friendship.
Ironically, to let go, sometimes you first must face the problem.
Other times, we get angry because things don’t go our way. Was it the weather that screwed up that all important event? Maybe it was a traffic jam that made you late for an appointment. Or maybe it was someone else’s mistake that forced you in a tight spot. Whatever it is, again, you gain nothing for being angry. Especially if that something is out of your control. Doesn’t it seem silly to let something that you can’t dictate, dictate you?
Instead of dwelling on what made you mad, try to focus on what you CAN do in the situation that you’re in. Worry about what’s to come, not what has passed. Before you know it, you’ll have forgiven and forgotten whatever it was that made you flip.
That being said, letting go is by no means easy. Our pride, wants and needs will always get in the way. But think of it this way: the only thing stopping you from letting go is yourself. So, try letting go sometimes. Let go of the past, of the things that made you angry, of the people that denied or insulted you. You just might like it.
About the Author
Matthew is a student and freelance writer born and raised in the urban jungle of Kuala Lumpur. Besides an unapologetic love for food and pop-punk music, he's also big on environmentalism and nature.