Letting go of our attachments and aversions as well as accepting what is currently present in our lives, can appear to be a really difficult thing to do. I hope this article will help you learn how to let go and love what is with ease.
The techniques discussed and the understanding you will gain (if you carefully read this article) can be applied in each and every life situation, no matter what the topic is.
First let’s start with some introduction.
What are feelings and are they good or bad?
Feelings are physical sensations that we experience on and off throughout our life journey. They appear when we get ourselves involved with issues in our lives towards which we have a push or a pull.
Push means we have attachments to them and pull means we feel aversions towards them. A good example would be wanting to have money (a strong pull or attachment) and hating to pay your bills (a strong push or aversion).
It is widely accepted that feelings evolved as a protection mechanism tied to our own physical survival. It was the quickest way to alert us of something that the mind perceived either to be good or bad for our survival.
Feelings in essence are not good or a bad, they are actually simple pockets of energy. They only vary in regard to their quantity, so often we will say that we are experiencing a strong feeling or a weak feeling.
Strong feeling means there is a lot of energy (sensations) that we are aware of, and weak means we barely detect some disturbance
There is a strong correlation between our feelings and our thoughts. Feelings motivate our thoughts and our thought bring out the feelings. Some people think that the feelings lead to thoughts, others that the thoughts are those that lead to feelings. I don’t think it matters that much, so I will keep it simple. If we are having good feelings (feeling good) we have happy thoughts, but if we are experiencing negative feelings (feeling bad) we tend to think in a much more negative way. Which comes first is a bit like chicken or egg discussion. And for our practical use, completely unnecessary.
We all experienced feelings through our lives. But, we are in general not taught how to deal with them. Society and our system of standard education really don’t take them into account or even worse, we are taught us to suppress and hide them. We are taught to mostly rely on our logic (mind) and always try to justify decisions with pros and cons for each and every situation, before we reach a final decision. This process is extremely slow and prone to errors, which is something I am sure most of us already realized.
But I feel the time has now finally come, when following our Heart and Intuition becomes more dominant than blindly obeying the rule of the mind.
Ways we typically handle feelings
So far there are few ways in which we all handle our feelings. Those are really standard mechanisms, and they don’t depend that much on culture or geographic area where we live. We all have them in common.
Usually we deal with feelings in three ways:
This is the most common way and most widely taught. Especially if you are a man. You are not allowed to show or acknowledge your feelings. You are to suppress them in any way you find possible. This is the worst possible way of handling feelings. When we look at it long-term, it leads to huge amount of problems, and I am strongly convinced that it is the major source of cancer.
A bit better then suppressing, we usually teach ourselves to express our feelings. Obviously, society created rules and regulations preventing this mechanism because let’s face it, if we were all allowed to express our negative feelings there would be so much violence and destruction on our streets it would be impossible to live. Expressing is a vent of sort, usually happens when we get our fight-or-flight mechanism triggered which in turn allows for quick release of the energy, but a lot of times with dire consequences. How many times did you express yourself only to regret it a second later? How many times did you say the things you didn’t really mean only to find out you can never take them back. And let’s not even talk about criminal activities, the ones that destroy lives on both sides, the perpetrator as well as the victim.
This is by far the easiest but also the deadliest way of handling our feelings. We use a variety of tools to escape, some of more common ones are watching TV, binge eating, drinking, doing drugs, running away either physically or shutting ourselves down emotionally, sleeping most of the day, excessive travelling (not wanting to commit), overindulging in sex or other activities, etc. What is really important to realize here is that by escaping we are doing the worst thing for ourselves because we just prolong the time when we get to deal with our feelings. They are not going to leave on their own, and will just get buried deeper in the subconscious mind. And when they accumulate in large enough quantity, since energy cannot be destroyed, but only transformed, they will find and outlet where to be expressed.
My experience with handling feelings
I was also taught from my early years that, being a man, it was not expected from me to accept, talk about or publicly deal with my feelings. Feelings were considered weak and usually something that women tend to occupy themselves with. I learned pretty much like everyone else to suppress and repress them.
I did that in different ways, but the most prevalent ones were by simply disconnecting from them as well as by fully resisting them.
Finally, years later in my adult life, after I got introduced to a simple technique, I started to learn a new and much healthier way to deal with them. I learned to let them go.
This was by far the most productive way for me to deal with my feelings, and it’s the only way that today I recommend people to follow.
Groups of feelings
Lester Levenson has taught us to work our way up the feelings in order to get to a quickest and most effective way to clear our subconscious feelings.
The groups of feelings he created are:
Those groups pretty much consist of all the other feelings. For example, having a feeling of dread is something that is grouped under fear. Having a feeling of sadness is something that can be grouped under grief. Having a feeling of despair is something that can be grouped under apathy.
But Lester decided to go even further then these groups. He discovered that all feelings culminate in the 3 main wants.
The 3 main wants are:
- wanting approval
Wanting approval is the most common wanting. You can notice it pretty quickly and we all do it. We all behave like approval seeking junkies. We will do anything to be in that spotlight, have that position, get that raise or praise. That is until we learn to the only place to find love, which is inside ourselves. You can read more about this want in the article I wrote about seeking approval.
- wanting control
Exercising control is the means to an end. Usually if we can’t get people to love us, we try to control them. Controlling can include everything from pushing (insisting), blaming, or trying to threaten them, in order to ensure compliance.
- wanting safety or security
Wanting safety is the deepest want and something from which both wanting control and wanting approval stem from. We want approval because we want to feel safe, and we use control to ensure that we stay safe.
Difference between wanting and having
As this word consists only of duality, there are only two states that you can experience in any given moment. That is a state of lack (wanting) and a state of having.
Wanting something is experiencing a pure sensation of lack. It is the negative physical and emotional state characterized by deep dissatisfaction and yearning for a specific thing, place or event. We wrongly believe that if we give ourselves completely to this feeling somehow we will get what we want. But the truth is, wanting has nothing to do with having. Wanting is lack. The only way to experience having something in this world is to first have the feeling of having
Having doesn’t necessarily mean receiving at first. That’s where most of the people interested in self-development work get confused. In order to receive something in this material world of ours, we first need to have the experience of having it fully and completely. Then we allow for the thing or situation to present itself. Or we just enjoy in the actual feeling itself, as the whole reason to get a certain place or thing was to experience the feelings itself in the first place!
Talk about doing it hard way. We can always have a feeling even without the thing that we expect to give us our feeling. But that is a skill that we need to learn and develop, in order to achieve happiness and personal.
The way is really simple. Since we can only experience two states in any given moment, we get to choose which one we cherish. Is it the feeling of want (lack) or the feeling of having?
And the good news is, if we let go the feeling of lack, we immediately drop into the feeling of having. That is the meaning of the Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”
Let’s describe some ways to let our negative feelings go.
2 easy ways to let the feelings go
- Fully allowing the experience of a feeling
Think of something that bothers you (or someone that bugs you).
Bring your awareness to your stomach or chest and you will notice an unwanted feeling or a contraction there.
Now, open an imaginary door right over that feeling, that contraction, wide open, and allow the energy to pass through, and just allow it to leave.
Check and see if you already feel less bothered than you did a moment ago? Notice the difference? Even if it is a small about at first, it is still in a positive direction and you are acknowledging you’re moving in the right direction.
Continue letting go of unwanted energy.
If you don’t notice a difference or if you feel stuck, say Yes to the feeling.
Do you see you have been feeling frustrated or fearful? On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most frustrated/fearful and 1 being the least, where are you right now with regard to the feeling?
Can you see you have been saying No to the frustration/fear? You don’t like the feeling, you have been saying No to it, right? So, when you say No to it, you’re actually collecting it.
Now can you say Yes to the frustration/fear—so you can allow it to leave? Say yes to it even more. And even more. And even more.
Now check again. On a scale of 1-10 where are you now with the frustration/fear?
Instead of pushing down on it, can you just invite the feeling up? Say yes to the remaining frustration/fear and just let it come up and out.
Sometimes with fear you just have to pull your shoulders back and let the fear come shooting right out.
Now check and notice if you moved – even if it is a small amount at first – it is still in a positive direction, and you’re acknowledging you’re in the right direction. Continue letting go of unwanted energy.
- Working directly on the wants
Think about something from the past that currently accepts you. And past can be even a second ago. Does that bring up a wanting approval, wanting control or a wanting to be safe or secure?
Could you let that feeling go?
Would you let that feeling go?
Focus on the situation again and notice how you feel. Is there more of that feeling left, or is there a different feeling?
Could you let that feeling go?
Would you let that feeling go?
Continue the process could you — would you — when until you are completely calm.
I hope what I wrote can help you with understanding and releasing your negative feelings. We know that feelings are not consciously present 100% of the time so when they do come we can use that opportunity to let them go. If we let them, they will just pass through, like clouds in the sky. They don’t need to have the importance we assign to them.
We get to move up really fast by letting go of our negative feelings.
I hope you will start learning how to let them go so that you can begin to love what is. Only then will you be able to find true and lasting happiness.
I suggest you check out my reviews and recommendations page to learn about a course that will teach you letting go in a structured and experiential way. You can also read an article I wrote about the American master that discovered this way in the article about Lester Levenson and the Release Technique.
I also recommend you check out collection of beautiful Lester Levenson quotes on unconditional love.
The most important (and also the most difficult thing) is to make a decision.
I decide to be happy and I am letting go of everything inside me that is in the way of my own happiness.
I hope you too will join me in this decision.
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net