Have you ever been stuck on the same story or hurt or resentment for a period of time? Sometimes a long period?

I have. And it is not a joyful way to live.

You keep seeing proof of the situation, or that person keeps popping up, or maybe you made a mistake and even though there is no evidence it would happen again- you replay it over and over and over again.

I have to admit, I had one that hung with me for years. Someone said something and did something that took me completely by surprise and hurt me to the core. I was blindsided.I finally got to the point where I was tired of thinking about it. It was all on me at that point- the person had apologized about a year later, but I was well entrenched in my mind by then. How was I going to set myself free?

I started thinking about what I had learned from that situation and how I could apply it to how I live my life and communicate with others. I am currently teaching two leadership classes and one of the main points is to really consider how the other person will feel when you deliver your message. Blindsiding is not a part of the recipe!

First, to remember- you never know what is going on with someone at the time, unless you ask. Knowing the person and caring deeply is important. You have to assess whether or not the person is in a good place to hear your message. Sometimes the message has to be given, then and there- but most of the time there is space to consider this.

Ask yourself- how might what I am about to say to this person impact them? I like the idea of being a positive impact rather than being a negative one. I think most people have a goal to be good people. Emotions get in the way. So before delivering messages now, my experience has taught me to get in control of my own emotions. And be willing to explain in detail, if necessary. When delivering hard news, the recipient deserves to know the details. Leaving people hanging without explanation really just makes things worse.

So taking stock of what I can learn, how I might do it differently and what the gifts in the situation were helped me tremendously.

The thing I did that I think helped me the most, though, was constant writing. I wrote about the situation over and over and over again, until I didn’t need to write it anymore. And you will know when that time comes. I use writing for a lot of situations- it helps me to process and create new ideas. You don’t have to be a “good” writer. Just write how you feel- use all of the words- this is just for you- handwrite- and shred afterwards if you want to.

I also talked to good friends who know me well and care about me, and a therapist. The residual effects of my situation definitely caused me to seek outside help.

And if the situation is truly upsetting and you are having a hard time letting go of it- you may need to take a break. If it is a person, you might choose to limit or end your interactions with them. If it is a place that brings up challenging feelings, don’t go there for a while.

The last really important one for me is having an outlet for the hurt energy that is supportive and healthy- moving your body- walks outside, being in nature, a fast paced cycling class, tap dancing (well you can’t even think about anything else when you are tap dancing!), and any kind of somatic movement to release energy- I love theclass.com for this. Yoga, breathwork.

It all starts with realizing you no longer want to carry that person or situation with you- you want the freedom and space to use for things that you love and want to create. You no longer want to give away your precious life to this. Then you get to work on some of the things I have mentioned above, as well as experimenting and finding your own way. All while you recognize the gifts have received and think more mindfully about how you communicate and care for others.