It’s not easy letting go of things that really bother us. In fact, I’m probably the queen of rumination concerning certain moments or circumstances that have happened during my lifetime. I’ve literally tortured myself by holding on to bad memories, negative beliefs concerning myself, and judgments that have created emotions that were hard to manage.
The euphemism time heals all wounds, in my opinion, is a load of crap. Time can certainly soften memories or opinions concerning self, but it can also mutate them into great sources of embarrassment, pain, etc. Kind of like the time I showed up at my choral concert in elementary school in a bright peach outfit, while everyone else got the memo they needed to wear black and white. Looking at pictures of this event still makes me cringe.
Sometimes our minds are our greatest alias and sometimes they’re our worst enemies. One of the ways that I’ve learned to let go of painful or unwanted emotions is to use a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Core Mindfulness Skill created by Marsha Linehan called Non-Judgmental Stance. For example, when I think about the peach outfit incident in elementary school, the facts are that I really did not know I was supposed to wear black and white, my parents didn’t know I was supposed to wear black and white, and I was 10 years old. It’s as simple as that. Every judgment produces an emotion. By refraining from judgments, like “I’m such an idiot” or “I made a fool out of myself”, I’m minimizing feelings of inadequacy, sadness, embarrassment, etc. Steering clear of judgments helps me keep my feelings in check.
Every judgment we make about ourselves or the world around us creates a ripple effect of emotions. Sometimes these emotions are positive and sometimes they’re negative. By being mindful of our judgments we can successfully deescalate emotions effectively and quickly. Give Non-Judgmental Stance a try in your own life and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised by its effectiveness in grounding your emotions and making you feel better about yourself . Remember, the world learns how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. When we treat ourselves with love and kindness, the world around us will do the same.