The Sedona Method

March 29, 2015

Categories: Emotion

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.

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  1. John March 30, 2015 at 7:54 am - Reply

    I love the point that you make that you have to first slow down long enough to feel the emotion! Then great thought that we have the choice to let it go and choose a different way. I wonder how many “victims” there are that feel that they HAVE TO KEEP a particular emotion?
    Right now I’m happy and want to KEEP this emotion! 🙂

  2. Dave March 30, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Just tried this on a situation at work that has really been frustrating me and making me feel inadequate. It helped and I’m already feeling better and more hopeful that I can figure it out and move forward. Thanks!

  3. Ashley March 30, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Love this post, Josh. I have been realizing my pattern is: feel hurt, eat pie or candy, wallow, and then finally – turn to God’s word. And then, I finally let it go. Why I wait so long to get there, I don’t know. But definitely something I’m trying to work on and be more aware of. I actually just posted on my blog about this too!

  4. Joshua Hook April 1, 2015 at 11:31 am - Reply

    John, yeah, I think there are probably reasons why we hold on to certain emotions. But I do think there is freedom in realizing we don’t HAVE to hold on to them. Dave, awesome! Ashley, sometimes it takes me a long time also to finally realize that I’m hurting myself by holding on to something I don’t necessarily need to hold on to. Not sure why we stay in that place so long.

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