And how can I get rid of….
We all want to get rid of experiences that are difficult. I am talking about thoughts, emotions and experiences such as depression and sadness, fear and anxiety, pain and suffering, phobia, stress and trauma.
“I am getting rid of…”
You must have heard this a thousand times. Whether we are sorting out wardrobe or cupboards, our lofts or garages, we are going in, judging what is still needed or indeed wanted and then – we get rid of it. It’s goodbye forever. Whilst this works beautifully for the tacky trousers you bought at an Asian market, the hairy towel snatched up cheaply on the beach or the ‘superb’ wine which now disgusts your pallet, this concept does not work for our experiences that are part of our life. It does not work for thoughts that are difficult. Nor for emotions that make us fear for our lives, seem to dump us into despair, take away our breath or petrify us in a frenzied world. And the more we want, desperately, to get rid of these experiences, the less we seem able to do so. We seek a reason for why this does not work and try again and again to get rid of them. Yet they always come back, often with increasing force.
Why getting rid of thoughts and emotions is a problem
It is a problem because it cannot be done. No jumble sale or garbage disposal, no recycling box or fire burner can take them away from us – because they are a part of our minds, hardwired into our brains. No! I am not asking you to succumb to suffering. I work with my clients to help them disengage from fighting a losing battle. Walk with me.
Trying to get rid of the unwanted strengthens its existence
The more we want to get rid of something, the more we do not want to think about the thing we fear, the situation that stresses us, the morning full of sadness, the piercing and shooting pain, the more this seems to take over our existence. Why? Because we need to feel it before we notice that we don’t want it, and only then can we order ourselves not to think it. In other words, everything that hurts us which we want to extinguish must be elicited by us in the first place. What’s more, neuropsychological research tells us that every time we elicit a connection in our brains and minds, we strengthen it. Not what we want, right?
Reconsider the belief that “getting rid of” is going to help
I know that we only want to keep what we want. Having something that makes our life not only hard but at times seemingly unbearable is the last thing we want to keep in our head. This is a fact. Another fact is that we cannot get rid of our experience, be it our memory – and possibly trauma – our emotions, our thoughts and even bodily sensations. So how can I help you? I can help you to relate to the unwanted differently. To work with it rather than to fight it – making it less impactful. To understand what can be changed and what cannot. Without giving up on living a life that holds joy as well as pain.