letting go

What is it that you know you need to let go of but seem to be unable to? What can you do to change that? For me one thing is being critical of others. Maybe practicing patience a bit more will help with this.

I think getting to know them would help. Also focusing on their good points.

You cannot at first change the way you think. First change the way you act to others. The rest given a sincere wish will slowly and surely follow …

Hi puzzledtoo,

I agree wholeheartedly with Rosebud77, and to further amplify what she said, I would very heartily like to recommend that you read The Gospel of Relaxation, an essay by William James. It’s practical in the very best sense of the word, and I suspect it would resonate with you.


Here’s an excerpt:

**The reader may possibly have heard of a peculiar theory of the emotions, commonly referred to in psychological literature as the Lange-James theory. According to this theory, our emotions are mainly due to those organic stirrings that are aroused in us in a reflex way by the stimulus of the exciting object or situation. An emotion of fear, for example, or surprise, is not a direct effect of the object’s presence on the mind, but an effect of that still earlier effect, the bodily commotion which the object suddenly excites; so that, were this bodily commotion suppressed, we should not so much feel fear as call the situation fearful; we should not feel surprise, but coldly recognize that the object was indeed astonishing. One enthusiast has even gone so far as to say that when we feel sorry it is because we weep, when we feel afraid it is because we run away, and not conversely. Some of you may perhaps be acquainted with the paradoxical formula. Now, whatever exaggeration may possibly lurk in this account of our emotions (and I doubt myself whether the exaggeration be very great), it is certain that the main core of it is true, and that the mere giving way to tears, for example, or to the outward expression of an anger-fit, will result for the moment in making the inner grief or anger more acutely felt. There is, accordingly, no better known or more generally useful precept in the moral training of youth, or in one’s personal self-discipline, than that which bids us pay primary attention to what we do and express, and not to care too much for what we feel. If we only check a cowardly impulse in time, for example, or if we only don’t strike the blow or rip out with the complaining or insulting word that we shall regret as long as we live, our feelings themselves will presently be the calmer and better, with no particular guidance from us on their own account. Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.

Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, to look round cheerfully, and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. If such conduct does not make you soon feel cheerful, nothing else on that occasion can. So to feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and a courage-fit will very likely replace the fit of fear. Again, in order to feel kindly toward a person to whom we have been inimical, the only way is more or less deliberately to smile, to make sympathetic inquiries, and to force ourselves to say genial things. One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling. To wrestle with a bad feeling only pins our attention on it, and keeps it still fastened in the mind: whereas, if we act as if from some better feeling, the old bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab, and silently steals away.

The best manuals of religious devotion accordingly reiterate the maxim that we must let our feelings go, and pay no regard to them whatever. In an admirable and widely successful little book called ‘The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life,’ by Mrs. Hannah Whitall Smith, I find this lesson on almost every page. Act faithfully, and you really have faith, no matter how cold and even how dubious you may feel. “It is your purpose God looks at,” writes Mrs. Smith, “not your feelings about that purpose; and your purpose, or will, is therefore the only thing you need attend to. . . . Let your emotions come or let them go, just as God pleases, and make no account of them either way. . . . They really have nothing to do with the matter. They are not the indicators of your spiritual state, but are merely the indicators of your temperament or of your present physical condition.”**

As far as what I personally have a hard time letting go of, it’s past hurt inflicted by others, particularly people I love.

I think there is some issues of self esteem and vanity involved in being critical of others. A little self examination as to why you are critical might be helpful other than deep moral defects in the others. To criticize is in effect to be passing judgement. I know we do it all the time without thought, but we really do not have the right to do so. Isn’t that God’s job and not ours? Do you think that you may be also be judge by others? I think working on self esteem and curbing vanity will help you “let go.” After all you are not a perfect person, are you? “Judge not lest you be judged.” If you-and I do mean we-are overly critical-we are in effect tripping over our own big feet. Peace and prayers. P.S. I have some pretty clumsy feet at times so don’t feel alone.

a fitting prayer would be the serenity prayer. I love it

Think of others like children. You can be critical of your child without being mean, and all while loving them. Human adults are mostly just children…

When you are a parent you spend most of your time saying “If you took 5 minutes to do it right you’d be done, now it is taking 30 minutes because you tried to rush”

When you get a job and work with humans, you realize that no child ever grew up to actually learn that lesson…

Thank you all for the advice. LeathalMouse your whole post reminded me of practicing patience. Pelagia… Thank you for the reminder of the serenity prayer. I do use it sometimes but maybe should incorporate it more. Mary Estelle Your post was spot on for me-maybe patience would help with passing judgement and vanity. Exiled Child thank you for your post. It did resonate with me. The first paragraph reminds me that anger, being critical, as well as love and compassion are seeds within us that can be watered or not watered. The second paragraph reminds me of a saying I heard years ago “fake it until you make it” I suppose I need to become a better actor :slight_smile: Also thank you for reading the first part of the op and taking the time to answer that. I appreciate your sharing. Rosebud77 thank you this also sounds like “fake it until you make it” or maybe prioritizing how to change and patience. Fred conty thank you for your post. The first part sounds like being patient and the second part is something I don’t do often enough but will tell others to do. Thank you for that reminder. Blessings to all of you and your loved ones.

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