A couple of weeks ago, we finally said goodbye to our Shogun. 198,000 miles on the clock and 186,000 of them with me or my husband in the driving seat. We've been through a lot together, me and that car.
The planet will undoubtedly breathe a sigh of relief, as will my bank balance, but I loved that car…and I’m not even a ‘car’ sort of person. So I’ve been a bit sad…but that’s ok.
“It’s OK to be sad for a while...
and then it's time to let it go”
This is the strategy I learnt for dealing with sadness about 23 years ago and unfortunately, with what feels like more than a normal share of death amongst family and friends for someone of my age, it’s helped me ride the emotional wave of grief quite a few times.
I learnt this when I had my first experience of Time Line Therapy, in what I now call an ‘Emotional Spring-Clean’. A session that focuses on releasing all the anger, sadness, fear and guilt stuck in the past.
And as I mentioned in a blog about my story, it was a life-changing experience for me.
Not only did it clear up the past, but I also came away with new ways to handle each of these major emotions.
Now when I think of things that happened in my past, I don’t fall back into the emotion any more. I can recognise I felt that way at the time, but I don’t feel it again now.
It was and still is, an enormous relief. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders that day.
The process is pretty simple if not a little weird (or ‘woo-woo’ as one client described it).
It involves reviewing significantly emotional events in your past through a different lens. “Reframing” as we call it in the trade.
Looking to see what you can learn or what you maybe didn’t notice at the time that allows you to release the emotion from the memory.
And you do that from the first event where you felt that emotion up to now. Adding to your learning as you go.
Sounds like a lot right, but surprisingly it only takes about 20 minutes for each major emotion and feels OK, which is why I’m such a fan of the process!
So here’s what happened for me and sadness
The key learning for me came from looking at the time when my mum died.
By reviewing what was going on for me, I realised that in some way I thought that me being sad proved how important she was to me and how much I loved her. And that if I let go of the sadness and was happy, it would mean the opposite.
So I actually had a very good reason for not letting go of the sadness.
But when I thought about it, all my mum ever wanted was for her kids to have a happy life. She would have been mortified and probably really quite cross with me if she knew that I’d been sad for 10 years as a result of her death!
If I wanted to prove how much I loved her and how much I had learnt from her, I would do a far better job by being happy.
So I had to let the sadness go...for her, as well as for me.
But I also realised it was OK to be sad. Things happen that are sad. It would have been totally weird if my mum died and I wasn’t sad. It would be totally weird for me if I watched a sad film and didn’t cry.
But it's only OK for a while…and then it's time to let it go. Otherwise, my mum would be cross with me, and who wants that?!
So this week I’ve let the Shogun and my sadness go, and I embrace all that is good about my second-hand brown Nissan X-trail (I've never had a brown car before?!)
Maybe what I learnt is helpful for you, or maybe there is something different you need to learn.
If you want to discover your own ways for dealing with anger, sadness, fear and guilt and clear them out of your past, why not give yourself a treat and book in for an Emotional Spring Clean?