Let Go (or, Hold Space)

JENNIFER BILBREY, LPC AUSTIN, TEXASInspiration for Your New Year
#4. Let Go (or, Hold Space)

So, you’ve successfully shown up, worked at being present, and you then spoke your truth. Now what? Well now you work on letting go of expecting others to feel and/or respond in a certain way.

So while I want to talk about what letting go IS, I also want to talk about what it is NOT. Often in spiritual circles, you’ll hear the phrase “Let Go.” If we’re “too angry” or “too sad” or holding on to resentments, we’re told to simply let it go! Just let it go!

Ugh.

Letting go – to me – isn’t about not feeling your feelings. If you’re trying not to feel something you think is unpleasant, you’re not letting go of anything. You’re avoiding. If you’re angry and you’re being told to let go of that anger a few things will happen. One, you’re likely to get angry/frustrated about being told that! Two, to the degree you believe it, you’re likely to minimize yourself by minimizing what you’re feeling. You’re more likely to tell yourself that your feelings aren’t justified. Well, feelings are just feelings. Justify or rationalize them – or not – but as a human being you’re going to have them. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, good or bad. What we do with them is a separate issue of course. But the feeling itself isn’t good or bad.

What you CAN work on letting go of is the idea that others can’t have their emotional reaction because you spoke your truth. Your truth may anger or hurt others. Most of the time, this shouldn’t mean we silence ourselves. But when we express ourselves, others are entitled to their feelings. And we can work on allowing that to happen. Some people call that “holding space.”  When we hold space for others, and for ourselves, we help build safety internally and externally. We make it safe for ourselves to have feelings – and for others around to us as well.

This is so much harder than it sounds! I encourage you to get help on this journey if you don’t already have it.

Many of us have the idea that if we do everything right, then everyone will be happy and there won’t be any problems! If only. I hear this a lot as a couple’s counselor. “But I…

Often in relationships neither of us are wrong. But we’re so used to someone being wrong that when we have competing needs or desires, someone MUST be wrong! What if our needs just happened to conflict at that exact moment in time? And that’s all it was?

If you’d like to get more help, call me.

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