Letting go to let in: Learning to release your unwanted feelings

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Cameron Opartkiettikul/Staff

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I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but there have been many moments when I have noticed myself harboring old and toxic feelings. Whether these feelings were from a past heartbreak, a fight or some old mistake, these feelings act as unwanted residue in my pool of emotions. While I am speaking from my perspective, I’m confident that many others deal with this phenomenon too. These feelings, which often manifest themselves as resentment, anger, guilt and jealousy, are uncomfortable, draining and tolling. Nevertheless, they exist. So, what is to be done about them? 

While it sounds cliché, recognizing these sorts of feelings, understanding why you have them and then letting them go can be a beautiful way to reinvigorate yourself. By letting go of these feelings, you will unleash a light inside yourself that is open to feelings of joy, love, compassion and empathy. 

It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work. It is not healthy to hold on to feelings that inhibit your personal growth. Old and toxic feelings can act as a weight, preventing you from nourishing your emotional health. If you are looking to fully thrive, you will need to open up an empty space for yourself. 

In order to let any toxic feelings go, it is really important to be compassionate and understanding toward them. For example, the feeling of resentment, something that many of us may be familiar with, needs to be questioned and heard. A series of questions you may want to ask:

  • Where is my resentment stemming from?
  • Why am I letting this feeling wade in my pool of emotions?
  • What do I need to do to release this feeling?
  • Does this feeling exist because I am unable to forgive or because I do not want to move on? 

Letting go of feelings, like most things that have such agency over our lives, is a process. It is not something that can be done overnight. As we all continue to grow, we must address the ways we are feeling, as that tends to translate to our behaviors or actions. The more toxic feelings you release, the more room you have to cultivate bright feelings within yourself that hopefully ripple out into the environments you enter. None of this is to say that old or toxic feelings must be rid of immediately. Gaining awareness of the feelings that pull you down is a great place to start, however.

Life can be difficult enough as is and dealing with toxic feelings definitely adds more complexity. In the short term, this “letting go to let in” work may seem slightly burdensome, especially with the preexisting chaos of life. Having a stronger grip on your feelings and understanding that some emotions drain you while others energize you can be a great way to help you navigate yourself, however. In the long term, letting go to let in may add positively to your personal place in this beautiful vortex called life. 

Contact Gina Wright [email protected].