Learning to radically accept and to let go of painful emotions seems so hard and nearly impossible early on in recovery. However, Brookhaven Retreat asks all women, what do you lose by refusing to let go?
Often times we set up internal walls throughout our lives in an attempt to keep our painful emotions locked away. Avoiding our emotions is an unhealthy behavior that is often formed unconsciously out of fear. Maybe we are afraid that we can’t tolerate the pain of the emotions or that we will have urges to act on the emotions negatively.
Despite the reasoning, the walls we build do not erase the emotion. The walls allow the emotion to remain trapped deep inside of us cultivating depression, anxiety, anger and irritability. The only way to really let go is to take down our walls and shed light on the painful emotions. We must bring the emotions to our attention so we can observe and describe them. When we are able to observe and describe an emotion as it occurs without taking action, we find that the fear associated with the emotion is much worse than the actual emotion. It is important to remember that almost always we have emotions, both negative and positive, for genuine reasons. Trapped emotions are just that, trapped. They do not disappear. The negative emotions slowly build on one another ultimately dragging us down.
We start to see that when we let past hurts go, we release the power that the situation or person had over us. Accepting that past events happened and working towards letting go, is radical acceptance in action. We must learn to trust that we have the tools, resources, and abilities needed to handle anything that may come our way in the future.
Observing and describing our emotions takes practice and is not easy in the beginning. However, over time we find that confronting and experiencing our negative emotions allows us to, not only let go of our emotional suffering, but also to learn and grow from our own experiences.