In response to, “I’d like to read about Moving On.”
Over the past two years I’ve explored this topic in two similar contexts. As it relates to our struggles with others and how to best counter those difficult relationships so that we can essentially, “live life”, in Relationships: Take 2 https://issalivestyle.com/2021/11/06/relationships-take-2/ And the way our relationships have shaped us and who we have become as a result, in Series TWO- Healing in Your Own Skin, Relationship Schmalionships https://issalivestyle.com/2021/11/06/relationships-take-2/ I encourage you to read them both.
But this one? This one hits differently. See? It’s all about the proverbial “Bye Felicia!” moment. The ability to build up the confidence to walk away from those relationships that hold us hostage. The relationships that hurt us to the core and from which we pray to heal. This. This is MOVING ON. The reader who inquired about this topic shared the following: “I feel like sometimes we get stuck in situations that are horrible. We get treated badly by people, and we’ll stay there. We still keep the faith that things will get better. How do you learn to move on once and for all?”
Moving on in relationships or moving on in general was the scope of this conversation. I can sense the desperation in her words. Having been there myself I know that pain all too well. It’s the kind of heartache one experiences that feels like a nagging pain in your chest. Like a literal dagger to the heart. This can be rough. The emotional pain can also be crippling. We self reflect in this moment as we would often picture ourselves much stronger, and have a hard time coming to grips with the stronghold. We’ve never wanted to move on so badly, but these past hurts have a way of impeding our conscious decisions.
Let’s talk about that pain. It’s mostly emotional, though in some cases can be physical. Pain is sensory OR psychological. “Researchers in the 1970’s found that neurotransmitters in the brain involved in processing physical pain, play a role in reactions to social separation as well. And when you’re feelings are hurt, the area in the brain responsible for the component of pain is activated“- Mark Leary, Ph. D. We then learn to develop a social separation mechanism and find that the pain we’re experiencing far exceeds our ability to emotionally handle the circumstances.
Wondrium Daily describes various events that can cause psychological pain in our lives. Most of which involve rejection of some kind. In this April 18, 2020 article by Mark Leary, Ph.D., Duke University, they state the following: “Various events in life can hurt our feelings, rejection being one of many. Since the mid-1990’s, emotion researchers have focused on psychological pain. One particular study asked more than 160 people to describe a situation where their feelings were hurt and what happened afterward. Most of the participants shared the same experiences of not being chosen as a member of a desired group or team, being dumped by a romantic partner, and being fired from their job. The researchers, then, grouped these situations into six main categories:
- Explicit rejection- when you’re directly told you aren’t accepted.
- Implicit rejection- when you feel you’re being rejected or ignored.
- Being mocked
- Being taken for granted
And let’s also consider how much harder this becomes when you’ve been rejected in some way in your childhood. Childhood trauma tends to rear its ugly head making it all the more difficult to overcome these situations.
These things hurts so deep because social acceptance runs in our blood. The word says it best as described in John 15: 12-13 NLT, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And so this was bred in us. Why else would we feel so defeated? It’s the core of who we are, to be loved and cared for. It’s in understanding that we must find our way to healing from difficult relationships that brings about the ability to grow. This is when you seek community and begin to value the importance of surrounding yourself with people who uplift you. People who recharge you and speak life into you. Those are your people.
Developing a growth mindset allows us to move forward, while holding on to past hurts can keep us stuck and hinder our growth. Part of this growth is learning to focus on ourselves. I can’t harp enough about the importance of self-care. Developing habits that will not only build you up physically, but emotionally as well. Refer to Self-Care, Best Care: Series Four https://issalivestyle.com/2021/03/29/be-your-own-bestie-or-your-own-enemy-living-with-anxiety/ for some inspiration.
We tend to be our own worst enemies by recycling old memories of times past about people who are no longer “themselves”. They’re just not who they used to be, and sometimes we just don’t want to accept it. In life, when those people in our lives change for the worse, it’s time to let them and those memories go. Continuing to revisit the “good times” long gone only brings on undue stress, frustration, and anger. It doesn’t serve you. Release it. As expressed by clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, “creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” thus allowing us to MOVE ON.
Throughout this process, be kind to yourself. Have grace with yourself. Forgive YOURSELF from the things you’ve done that may have led you to this place. Relieve yourself of any guilt that is hindering your ability to take strides forward. These things weigh us down. And yes, so does the lack of an apology from those who hurt us. But waiting to receive one can only continue to slow you down. At snail’s pace you’ll never reach your healing destination. Do like Elsa and, “Let it go!” Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for you. It releases you from bondage. Gives you the freedom to escape the negative bubble you were in and allows you to heal.
And as always, it’s important to note, if you have tried all these things, given it you’re all and still feel like you’re struggling, it’s okay to seek an unbiased professional opinion. Realize that painful relationships and/or situations can often cause chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to depression and anxiety. These come with their share of symptoms that include but aren’t limited to lack of focus, declining hygiene, lack of sleep, isolation, physical ailments such as rapid heart rate, loss or shortness of breath, dizziness, body aches and pains, and more. Pay attention to your body.
Recite the words of Carl Gustav Jung, “I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.” Psych Central sums it up beautifully in writing that, “healing, joy, and peace of mind are on the other side of letting go.” And that “making life decisions that make you feel safe, at peace, or happy, even if others don’t agree,” is okay. In fact, it’s very much encouraged. After all, it’s all about your healing, your peace, and your joy. As always, I hope this message has encouraged you. To live your life to the best of your ability. To shine brighter each day and be your best self. Yours truly. – Lin Green
Should you feel so inclined to read on about the “8 Ways to Move On” by Psych Central, feel free to click the link below.