"You just have to let it go."
"Just get over it."
"It's not as big of a deal as you think...it'll be fine."
Have you ever been told one of those things? If the answer is yes, has it ever made you want to sock the person in the nose? If the answer is also yes, I hope you'll take something positive away from this post today.
I understand the reasoning behind such advice. Holding onto grudges or past offenses will never do any good. It actually has been shown to be detrimental to one's health, causing stress-related problems throughout the mind and body. The suggestion to "let it go" is well-meant, but easier said than done. And that's because something has truly upset you, and it's not easy to just "get over it." Our feelings are real. They're not just words being told to someone, or expressions showing on a face. They are real.
There are some things I've learned that really help me deal with emotional upsets:
1) Know your source. It's a lot easier taking things with a grain of salt when you know the person from which they come. A wishy-washy friend who has let you down numerous times in the past? Recognize that they will probably do the same in the future. Guard yourself against potential upsets in the future by not expecting them to be perfect - accept them for who they are. This is not lowering your standards or giving up on them. This is realizing that you cannot change or control them, and you have to learn your lesson after a while.
2) Do something with your hurt. It might be easy to let things go when Miss Wishy Washy is involved, but what about a close family member? Or someone in whom you've put a lot of trust and hope? That sinks in much worse. Here's what I try to do when that happens.
Talk about it. If you have someone who will listen, talk. Having someone understand you and just listen means more than anyone trying to fix the problem. Do realize, however, that if you go to the same person, and they notice a pattern, they just might tell you so honestly. This isn't what you're going to want to hear. But just as they listen to you, listen to them.
Find another way to express your feelings. It's going to sound girly, but writing things in a notebook, a journal, or even typing it out where you can see it in front of you helps. I've noticed that if something is bothering me, and I "make a big deal out of it", suddenly it seems okay. If I can say whatever I want without being judged, I usually see a different viewpoint fold out in front of me.
Write a public blog about the problem. This is especially helpful and vindictive if you know the person involved will read it. Be sure not to mention specific names, but instead be passive aggressive and vague. (Also know you will have to take this down after a few minutes when guilt and a better conscience steps in.)
Create a sign. If you feel especially creative, create a few banners and display them all around town. "You can't stay in my head, forever!" with a silly cartoon would be amusing. Or "I'll breastfeed in public if I want to" would be especially fulfilling.
If you could do the last step, what would your banner say? :)