“Bag lady, you gone hurt yo’ back. Dragging all them bags like that…” – Erykah Badu
Women carry pain like purple hearts – representations of the lies, distrust, infidelity and lowered confidence that the battle of bad relationships brings. Like decorated war veterans, we proudly discuss each battle and war strategies with each other, and like war veterans, we also show evidence of post-traumatic stress in each new relationship. Anything that remotely looks like something from the past triggers a barrage of defense mechanisms, as we try to avoid more pain. So how do we turn ourselves from victims into victors? There is a saying in the military, that the moment that you imagine yourself dead or dying – you’re dead…
There is a difference between letting go and forgetting. When you let go of something or someone, the memory still remains, but the individual or the object no longer has emotional power over you. To not let go is to hold your heart and the opportunity for true love hostage. It’s easier said than done right. So how do you let go?
-Connect to a higher power. I’m pretty open in terms of religion, but I connect to Buddhism, where the number one tenet is something called impermanence. Basically, it says that nothing is permanent and the sooner that we accept this, the sooner that we reach nirvana (transcendence). I also enjoy saying the Serenity Prayer (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference).
-Pursue a new hobby or interest.
-Talk to/hang out with friends or family. Who will reinforce your greatness/uniqueness and take your mind off of the problem.
-Spoil yourself. By indulging in good food, time at the spa or a great solo trip.
-Journal. Nothing frees my mind like journaling. It’s almost like the physical act of writing about the situation, flushes it out of my heart and my mind.
-Try a little retail therapy. As long as you’re not addicted to shopping, go out and buy a new handbag or a new dress. Download some new music or a new video. Go buy something for yourself or someone else that you’ve been putting off.
-Clean & organize your digital & physical space. Grab a bucket, a mop and get busy. Cleaning can truly be therapeutic. Put on some music and work it out. Clean out your e-mail inbox.
The most important thing to remember about letting go is that you can’t devote your time and energy obsessing over what could’ve, would’ve or should’ve been. Especially when your new partner has obviously moved on. The best way to get revenge on someone that hurt you is to be happy and you can’t do that if you’re allowing the memories (good and bad) to hold you prisoner. Take off that purple heart of pain and bury it along with the other toxins you’ve had to get rid of in your life.