One of my favorite self-help books is The Sedona Method, by Hale Dwoskin. The book changed a lot of my thinking about places in my life where I felt stuck, and I’d like to share some about what I learned.
The basic idea behind The Sedona Method is that many of our struggles in life are caused by holding on to negative emotions, which make it difficult for us to engage the world fully and be our best self. Often we experience negative emotions as if they are us. Our language reflects this. When we feel anger, we say “I am angry.” It’s as if I am my anger, and my anger is me.
Hale views it differently. He thinks our true self is separate from our emotions. In other words, our emotions are something that we feel, but they are distinct from who we are. And this is key: If our emotions are distinct from who we are, we can choose to let them go. Hale believes if we are able to let go, or release these negative emotions, we will free up energy to create the life we want.
The next time something comes to mind in your life that you are unhappy about or want to change, try this exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, away from all distractions. Focus inward on the issue you want to feel better about. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling in the moment. It might be sadness, anger, or fear. Whatever it is, just allow yourself to feel this feeling as best as you can. Once you are fully immersed in the feeling, ask yourself the following questions: Could I let this feeling go? Would I let this feeling go? When?
It almost feels too simple, but for me, it has been a game-changer to realize I am able to let go and release emotions that might be holding me back. I’ll give you an example from my own life. I remember one time I was getting to know a woman I was interested in dating, but she told me she had decided to start dating someone else. I felt sad and angry. It was ok to feel those feelings, but staying in that sad, angry place was making me unhappy. I kept ruminating about what went wrong, and I stayed stuck. I had a bad attitude about dating and was scared to try again.
I began to release the emotions I felt about the situation, and I realized I could choose to let those feelings go. I didn’t have to stay stuck. It didn’t happen all at once, but little by little I felt a sense of peace and freedom about my situation.
If there is something in your life you want to be different, I encourage you to explore letting go and releasing the emotions you have around the situation. You might find, like I did, that this simple method not only dissolves the intense emotions that may be holding you back, but also frees up energy to pursue the important things you want in life.
Discussion: What is one issue that you are struggling with or would like to change? Try to let go or release the emotions associated with the issue and see what happens.