“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
People do have the ability to affect our feelings, but as much as I sometimes don’t want to admit it, only we are in charge of our reactions.
One of the hardest things for me as a person, for a long time, has been not getting stuck on how I felt in an uncomfortable moment of interaction with another. I have a great memory and a sensitive heart, and I occasionally have to actively move forward from not repeating words that hurt me or pissed me off. I have to actively move forward from these emotions, reverberated through my body.
Interactions with others are a requirement of being a human being. We cannot live on Earth and be surrounded only by people that we easily get along with. This said, there is merit in having to spend time with difficult people—within reason, of course—it’s true we can learn more about ourselves, and sometimes we might find compassion where we originally couldn’t hope for it.
Still, there are a few things I do to move past such stale emotions; helpful rituals I find myself coming back to in order to process something difficult, and then go on.
I practiced yoga the other day after feeling hung up on a conversation. This combination of deep, steady, rhythmic breathing, with moving and stretching and yawning my body open—while also strengthening—reminds me that I’m supple and pliable. It’s reinvigorating to be reminded of how capable I am of bending, and how strong I am when I was initially feeling weak.
While I might not leave my yoga mat a perfectly different human being than I was when I hopped on, I am absolutely better equipped to deal with life, and to move forward one breath at a time.
2. I workout.
Yoga practice is great, but I’m not only a yoga practitioner. Nope, I’m a weight lifter, a HIIT cardio lover, and, actually, I’m certified as a Spinning instructor, too. I digress. My point is that, for me, working the shit out of my body—sweating profusely, exercising my muscles, and getting so immersed inside of my body that my brain has no time to churn unnecessarily—is one of my favorite go-to’s for getting past old crap.
3. I talk about it.
There’s a difference between talking a wound into the ground and dwelling on it—and treating our spouse like an unpaid therapist—and talking about a feeling in order to get in touch with it and then leave it in the past. (And, by all means, do see a licensed therapist if need be.)
This is actually not related to blogging or publishing at all. Often a difficult relationship is the last thing we should write about and then publish on—or, at least, we need to get some space so that we’re making sure it’s helpful and not just emotional vomit purged out into the world without purpose. Regardless, journaling and writing about an event we’re having trouble letting go of has definitely helped me figure out why exactly I’m so hurt and crippled—and then I’m more able to care for my emotions without that aforementioned wallowing.
5. Spending time with those I love.
And, at the end of the day, we deal with people in our lives outside of the people that we are able to choose, and who we enjoy spending time with. Taking one sincere look at my children, and smiling into their eyes, and holding them, and cuddling my husband, and laughing with him over a silly movie after the kids have gone to bed—these types of simple, positive experiences are always reminders of who and what matter in my life.