Lets get serious and talk about the things that bug us, bug us enough to hold on to them when we need to let them go. Lets talk about the “24 hour let it go” rule.
How many of you can get your feelings hurt or have someone “steal your moment” and make it their own or criticize you unfairly and you ruminate on it for hours, days, weeks or years? If you are saying, yes that’s me, what eventually happens will be far worse for you than the person you keep thinking about.
It is very similar to a disease process that invades your body. Without treatment you will become symptomatic. Count on it. Its like death and taxes, it will happen. This is one time that you really do have the power to avoid this deadly outcome.
Stephanie is a good example of carrying toxic thoughts and feelings for years. When I first met Stephanie she was in a day treatment program. She had initially admitted herself to the hospital for homicidal thoughts. She shared with the group that when she got married her husband would pick out her clothes for the day and lay them on the bed.
At first she thought this was very sweet of him, thinking he was taking a special interest in how she looked. As time went on she tired of his sweetness and found it annoying. But said nothing. So the progression of her feelings went from annoyed, to irritated, to angry, to I can’t stand this anymore.
At that point she found herself in the pawn shop looking at guns. She was planning to kill her husband!! Someone in the group said, “Why didn’t you tell him that you could pick out your own clothes?” Seems like a realistic question. Stephanie replied, “ I don’t like confrontation and did not want to hurt his feelings.” But killing him was an option!!
Here is how the “24 hour let it go rule” works: When someone hurts your feelings, or does anything to create significant discomfort you have 24 hours to confront them or let it go. If you become aware that you are replaying the situation in your mind all day and maybe all night, confront it.
Maybe the confrontation can be through journaling, some feelings can go away if we process them on paper or with a friend or therapist. Confronting the person face to face may not be the best or in some cases the safest. But you have 24 hours to make a decision.
Give it a try. Notice what time it is when you realize you are ruminating about someone who is stealing your energy. You have 24 hours to do something positive for you.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
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