Tags

, , , ,

At this point, you don’t have to be a parent to say another Elsa sighting is one too many, or that you might lose it the next time you see a “Frozen” lip sync on YouTube.

I can definitely understand the sentiment, but now that Frozen fever is dying down just a tad, I can finally appreciate the message. So instead of swearing off that song, I made it my mantra.

letitgoSure, there are a lot of lyrics in the song that I like–something about testing limits, and that whole part about how distance makes it all seem small. But it’s really the title that gets it done, with three simple words: Let. It. Go.

I encourage everyone to try this for just a couple of days. You know that old adage about how life is 20 percent what happens to you and 80 percent how you react to it? I’ve learned it’s absolutely true.

You see, I am a “stewer.” When challenges pop up in my life, I like to go home and sit on it all day, chew it up in my head, play it and replay it, decide what I should have said, and just generally waste hours of my life making myself miserable. A combination of a mild dose of anxiety and an analytical personality don’t do me any favors. (One I get from my mom and the other from my dad–thanks, guys.)

So a few months ago, I decided to try something. Every time I found myself frustrated, discouraged, or upset, I would pause, and think to myself, “Let it go.” Sometimes I’d even picture the anxiety dissolving off the top of my head like a puff of steam. I’d unclench my jaw and my fists and release. I started to see that once you face a problem or a confrontation, or even someone unfairly taking out their own frustrations on you, there is no sense carrying it around with you all day. Stewing serves no one and solves nothing.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, by the Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” If you have a problem with someone, take it up with them. If you can’t or are unwilling to, let it go.

Another way to think of it is with what I like to call “The One-Year Test.”

A few years ago, at my first job out of grad school, I wrote a heated journal entry about one of my supervisors. I was so angry, and I wrote all about how I couldn’t believe that he did that. About a year or so later, I went back and read that journal. The emotion was tangible, but I only felt amused; for the life of me, I could not remember what it was that had made me so incensed.

It sounds so cliche, but it was an obvious reminder not to sweat the small stuff. After that, sometimes when I’d get frustrated or angry, I’d try to ask myself, “Will I remember why I’m mad in a year?” How about a month? Next week? If the answer is no, then let it go.

If you are morally opposed to modeling your mantra after a Walt Disney earworm, there is another song that I sometimes use as inspiration. But I’m not sure that you’ll like this one any better…

shakeitoff