Moving on after Disappointment

When it comes to relationships, many of us have had at least one big disappointment in life, others even more. It may have been a lost love, a failed marriage, a broken friendship, or even a troubled relationship with a child.  Much as I’ve not liked the disappointments I’ve faced in life, I know each one has taught me a valuable lesson.  The trouble is, the lesson never appeared when I was at the heart of the pain. It surfaced some time later when I was able to gain a perspective on the event that simply was not possible  when I was in the middle of it. The delayed perspective has a value to it and must be explored.  That’s the place that allows us to look, learn, and move forward.  The problem is it’s easy to turn our back on that perspective, leaving us stuck in the pain part and not moving forward. 

The first recipe for happiness is: Avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.
— André Maurois

I recently met with a client whom I hadn’t seen for a few years.  When we worked together she did a super job changing to a healthy diet to support her in managing symptoms of an autoimmune disorder.  Her health improved significantly. Once she became committed and followed through on her food I advised her that she had another big hurdle to overcome. To truly make lasting progress she needed to find a way to change her thinking, her attitude and her reactions to things in her personal life that she couldn’t seem to let go of. Here’s why this is so important:

You can eat well, sleep well, exercise every day, but to heal from heartache you must change your thinking, be present, and look ahead with gratitude. 

I see many variables that affect our health and well-being. Surely eating quality food makes a huge different and is a foundation for good health. But there are many physical emotional, spiritual and cognitive experiences we have every day that can affect us deeply as well.  

In the case of my client, her food continues to be excellent.  The value of healthy eating is deeply ingrained in her lifestyle today.  But sadly, the disappointments she had in the past still hold a firm grip on her.  As she spoke about this man who wounded her, her shoulders tightened, her jaw set, and her words were filled with anger and hurt.  She took action on what was wrong in her life 4 years ago, but one could think it just happened today,  

It’s really hard to let go of hurts and injustices. In the moment it can feel satisfying to rage and recall all the bad things a person might have said and done,. Those things did happen, but is re-living them helping in any way except for a quick flash of anger? Or will that flash hold us to the past and perhaps injure our ability to be physically healthy? Would it be better to let it go, like Anna did in the Disney film Frozen?

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one wants to be hurt.  But when we don’t let go of the thing or person that hurt us, we hurt ourselves in far deeper ways. we rob ourselves of the joy we could be having.  We may even distance people we love from us because they cannot bear to watch our suffering.  

I have some thoughts about how to overcome this stuck-ness that I’ll list here, but I also hope that other in our sixty-and-me community share theirs.  If you’ve been tied to old hurts and have been unable to move forward, please consider the benefits that lie ahead when you once again have an open heart and a smiling face.

My list:

1. Pray or meditate; ask to be released from the grip of painful memories

2. Take amazing care of yourself every day; you deserve it

3. Be grateful you are no longer attached to someone who caused you so much pain

You may have some techniques that have worked for you. If you do, please share them in the comments section below. The world needs more happy, grateful people, and your words may make that a reality.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

— ~ Hermann Hesse