One benefit from a life crisis is greater self-awareness. The situation is overwhelming, and we are forced to stop all of our diversionary games, take a good look at our life situation, and re-evaluate our beliefs, goals, values, and life direction. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate and let go of guilt. It is also an opportunity for a total shift in attitude. Life crises, as we pass through them, confront us with polar opposites. Shall we hate or forgive that person? Shall we learn from this experience and grow, or resent it and become bitter? Do we choose to overlook the other person’s shortcomings and our own, or instead do we resent and mentally attack them? Shall we withdraw from a similar situation in the future with greater fear, or shall we transcend this crisis and master it once and for all? Do we choose hope or discouragement? Can we use the experience as an opportunity to learn how to share, or shall we withdraw into a shell of fear and bitterness? Every emotional experience is an opportunity to go up or down. Which do we choose? That is the confrontation.
We have the opportunity to choose whether we want to hang on or let go of emotional upsets. We can look at the cost of hanging on to them. Do we want to pay the price? Are we willing to accept the feelings? We can look at the benefits of letting go of them. The choice we make will determine our future. What kind of a future do we want? Will we choose to be healed, or will we become one of the walking wounded?
In making this choice, it is well to look at the payoff we get from hanging on to the residuals of a painful experience. What are the satisfactions we are getting? How little are we willing to settle for? Anger. Hatred. Self-pity. Resentments. They all have their cheap little payoff, that little inner satisfaction. Let’s not pretend that it’s not there. There is a weird, quirky pleasure when we hang on to pain. It certainly satisfies our unconscious need for the alleviation of guilt through punishment. We get to feel miserable and rotten. The question then arises, “But for how long?”
…The part of us that wants to cling to negative emotions is our smallness. It is the part of us that is mean, petty, selfish, competitive, cheap, conniving, mistrusting, vindictive, judgmental, diminished, weak, guilty, ashamed, and vain. It has little energy; it is depleting, demeaning, and leads to the lowering of self-respect. It is the small part of us that accounts for our own self-hatred, unending guilt, and seeking for punishment, sickness, and disease. Is that the part with which we want to identify? Is that the part we want to energize? Is that the way we want to see ourselves? Because if that’s the way we see ourselves, that’s the way others will see us.
The world can only see us as we see ourselves. Are we willing to pay those consequences? If we see ourselves as cheap and petty, it’s unlikely that we’ll be at the top of the company list for a raise.
The price of holding on to smallness can be demonstrated with muscle testing. The procedure is fairly simple (Hawkins, , 2012). Hold in mind a mean, petty thought and have someone press down on your arm while you resist; notice the effect. Now choose the exact opposite view. Picture yourself as being generous, forgiving, loving, and experiencing your inner greatness. Instantly, there will be an enormous increase in muscle strength indicating a surge of positive bio-energy.
Smallness brings weakness, sickness, disease, and death. Do you really want that? Letting go of negative feelings can be accompanied by another very healthy maneuver which will greatly assist your inner transformation, and that is to stop resisting the positive emotions.
Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender, Ch. 3, pg. 44-47