I realized long ago that I wasn’t as big a person as Elsa in Frozen. Even as an animated character, she could do something I’d never been able to figure out – Let it go. I understood the concept, and I knew that letting go of things was the only way to move past them and get on with my own life. I also knew that by not letting go, I was allowing other people and events to control me. And I certainly didn’t want that.
But the thing is, as much as everyone talked about how important it is to let things go – no one ever explained *how* to do it. It was always just this vague notion that was supposed to erase all of my past issues and set me free. In theory, it made total sense…In practice, I got nothing.
With time, I’ve come to think that it’s more about how you feel when you think of something or someone in your past than some light switch you can flip on or off. You’re probably never going to forget these experiences. But how do you feel when you think back on them?
When I used to think about negative people or events from my past, the feelings would return as if I was still in that moment. I’d be upset, hurt, even straight-up angry. Now when I look back on those same things, they don’t hold the same power over me. I’m not still upset, hurt or angry at all.
How did I transform my mindset? I’ll give you the secret recipe to happiness that I’d been searching for all these years. I think back on these times with empathy and understand that everyone involved was just doing the best they knew how, and the other person’s intention was not actually to ruin my life.
Think about it, all of us (myself included) are doing our best with what we have at any given moment. Sometimes that just isn’t enough, there’s no easy way around that. And in those cases, we can get hurt. Deep down, though, people aren’t typically as vindictive or malicious as we may want to make them out in our heads. They more than likely weren’t really trying to destroy your day – they just truly didn’t know to handle the situation any better.
As we all learn and grow as people, the hope is that we’ll do and be better for ourselves and others. But when someone either doesn’t know how or chooses not to learn or grow, we can’t mentally punish ourselves forever for their behavior. Viewing these situations through a lens of compassion can change everything. Because if Elsa taught us anything other than to let it go, it was that love really can conquer all.