There are many times in life when something happens about which we feel mightily aggrieved. At those times, we might well look around us for the support of others, seeking one of those glances that says: “Yes, I know how you feel!” or: “My goodness! What a stupid thing that person just did!”
Often, it is over a relatively minor thing like somebody ‘cutting us up’ when driving, or maybe using the wrong lane and forcing us to stop or swerve; at those times, a commiserating grin from somebody else helps us to feel justified in our irritation. It’s the same with many minor perceived injustices; somebody slights you or calls you a name, you get wrongly accused of some small thing by somebody who just won’t listen, you lose something, or somebody cheats you in some way… in all those circumstances, we tend to turn to others for reassurance that **they** are still on our side.
And all of this is absolutely fine. It’s still not too bad when we ‘make a meal’ out of something; perhaps even ‘milking’ a situation a little for a bit of extra attention and reassurance of self-worth. Again, a perfectly human pattern of behaviour and, in the great scheme of things, totally harmless.
There are other times, though, when this behaviour pattern can cause serious difficulties. When something happens that cannot be addressed, no matter how much energy and time is expended upon it, then that’s when we can get into difficulties. We can spend an awful lot of time showing the world how hard done by we are, what a raw deal we’ve had – but that won’t change anything, except our mood and the way we function. It can drag us into a morose and negative way of being which is attractive to nobody and makes us even worse.
The answer is to simply Let It Go. Yes, it goes against the grain when somebody gets away with something at our expense. No, it isn’t fair. True, it shouldn’t happen if there was any justice in the world. But every bit of obsessing and showing the world how damaged you are won’t improve it.
I had a client who had suffered rape. A dreadful crime, but the case was dismissed – the reasons are not important here. She came to me some 5 years later, depressed, bitter, hating males and still seething with anger at the verdict of the court. There was no redress and nothing else to be done. She asked me to help her feel better in any way I knew how.
The details of the work are not important – what is important is that she eventually came to the recognition that she **enjoyed** the sympathetic reaction she got from people (and admitted that she was both intrigued and irritated that she didn’t get it from me). I suggested that it would be more fun when she could get on with her life, find a new relationship and let her resilience impress the hell out of everybody who knew her. At the time, this didn’t seem to make much of an impression but the next time I saw her, the change was startling. Bright clothes instead of dowdy, attractive hairstyle instead of functional, and so on.
“It was what you said about impressing people,” she explained. “I was angry at first but then it dawned on me that I was spending an awful lot of time trying to impress people already, by showing them how damaged and hurt I’d been. I realised that I’d had enough of it, so I took a deep breath and made the decision to change!”
It hadn’t been quick and it hadn’t been easy – but that client discovered the great truth; Let It Go and life can become more fun. And if a rape victim can do it, I should think almost anybody can.