Unless you have had all your childhood associations stick with you till date, you obviously have some ex-associates. The ending of an association you invested time and emotions in is seldom pleasant.
Negative feelings often linger long after the relationship has ended. All sorts of feelings such as anger, resentment, cynicism, vindictiveness arise in you and try as you might, these emotions just may refuse to reduce in intensity.
You might have tried prayer, putting the offending person out of your mind and other mental gymnastics best known to you.
If these have not worked for you, there is yet another method you can try before you throw in the towel and decide you will never be able to move past the end of an association gone awry.
You have probably never heard of it. It is a method known as mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a technique known in the ancient times for helping one move on. It was hijacked by mainstream science and is now used in clinical psychology.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, a form of therapy that teaches you to use and process your emotions in a healthy manner finds Mindfulness especially helpful.
The core of Mindfulness is acceptance.
Acceptance is not avoiding, denying, fighting, repressing or overcompensating for your emotions.
It is about embracing them so that you attain to a new level of inner peace. You don’t have to like or make yourself like the negative emotion you are trying to accept. That’s not the aim.
Mindfulness desensitizes you to unpleasant emotions. It’s easy to practice it when you realize emotions come & go and you MUST not always have pleasant emotions.
Mindfulness is a technique that is successfully pulled off when you have awareness of your environment. This is preceded by the self-awareness that comes via self-differentiation.
These are the necessary stages anyone who is trying to practice mindfulness need master.
This is because self-differentiation is the ability to separate your thinking from your emotions. The emotional acceptance is key to Mindfulness.
Anyway, I’ll share with you just how I used a technique I taught myself to practice mindfulness.
I had an ex towards whom I felt a lot of resentment. I tried every mental gymnastics I knew of to put him out of my mind but none worked. Till I read up on this wonderful technique I’m sharing with you.
I spoke out loud to myself nonjudgmentally,
I’m thinking of Albert right now. I can feel my chest tightening as I think of him. I can observe thoughts and feelings of anger and resentment about his emotional rejection welling up within me. It is safe to think these angry and resentful thoughts about him.
My resentful emotions are valid as I do not wake up and decide to feel angry with a random person with whom I had no interaction. I will not avoid, deny, repress or fight them.
I accept these thoughts and feelings because so long as I do not express them towards myself or anyone else in a threatening, excessive or inappropriate manner, it is OK.
Even if I do, I will still accept myself!
Previously I’d repress my feelings and thoughts about Albert. Repression means forcibly trying to keep under control or not allow yourself do or express something.
I had the mistaken belief that good girls don’t feel or harbor resentment towards anyone. Unfortunately, it has been shown that repressing our thoughts and emotions only makes them more intense and overwhelming.
With this new method of mindfulness I’ve discovered, I can say confidently that I hardly feel negative emotions intensely and for long.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I never feel negative emotions. I’m a human being, so I will definitely feel negative emotions. But now I practice mindfulness and things are a lot better for me. I’m definitely a much happier person now.
So what’s a healthy way of expressing negative emotions? You could try writing a letter to the person who offended you. In it, state all your grievances, burn it up and imagine the resentment leaving you.
You could also try journaling or talk with a professional (clergyman, counselor or mental health practitioner) in a safe and structured environment. Sure helps. Better than being spiteful, don’t you think?
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