Letting Go–Building Peace

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I promised in my last post I would write about how to surrender to hard situations in your life. How to accept what is, and move from hurt and heartache to peace. Jodi Hildebrandt taught me how in her Connexions Academy 101 class. I have posted about Jodi Hildebrandt before,  that she is a licensed therapist working in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  She calls this 5 step skill “the R.A.I.S.E. process.”

  1. Recognize your feelings/emotions
  2. Ask for validation
  3. Invite feedback
  4. Spot distorted thoughts and false beliefs
  5. Embrace the Truth

This last week I sat with a beloved friend and listened to her distortions,  fears and anxiety.  I told her we needed to do the R.A.I.S.E. process to help her feel peace again. Cheesy as that sounds, I really said it and we really did it.  As we went through this first step together,  I listened as she named her emotions. As she said them out loud a wonderful thing took place. When you can name and bring out of the recesses of your mind all the darkness and hurt, you get perspective. That led into a deep discussion of “faulty core beliefs” –another thing that Jodi has taught me.  Faulty core beliefs could be, “I am not enough” or “I must have this job to have purpose in my life.” As we talked about some of her faulty core beliefs an amazing thing happened. As we brought each one into the light she could see how ridiculous they were. Even as she said them she knew they weren’t true. She and I could feel the shift and as I looked at her her eyes widened like–“I am getting it!”

I was then able to validate her, and her emotions, the 2nd step of the process.  So powerful! Sometimes you think you are taking crazy pills when you are in distortion. Steps 1 and 2 are a way for you to vent and say, “Am I crazy?” In the example in the previous post, the author, Robin Room, could have gone to somebody who she trusts and said, “I get so angry when my dad lets his hunting dogs crawl all over my mother’s beautiful sofas. I want to remember my mother by feeling peace in the home she cared about so much.” She could name her emotions–disbelief, anger, shock, disgust. Then she could ask her friend,” Am I right? Wouldn’t you feel that way?”

Her trusted friend could say, “Absolutely! It must be so hard that every time you visit your parent’s home, it looks and smells disgusting.  When you see the condition it’s in, it must make you feel all of those emotions: anger, disbelief, shock, and disgust. I would feel the same way!” Instead of finishing the thought with, ” And how can you bear it?” which isn’t really helpful and would keep her in the distortion and feeling justified about her feelings, you say step 3 of the R.A.I.S.E. process,  ” And, can I give you some feedback?”

When the person answers yes, and assents to having feedback,  that’s when you  lovingly say, ” You can’t control your father. It’s his house. You would have to live there FULL TIME like your mother did to put away his plates of food and keep the animals from ruining the rugs.’

“How much more optional pain do you want to have in your life?’

 

“If he lived in your house you could insist on these things. It’s your living space. But he doesn’t live in your house. He is an old man, and at this point, in his own grief and loneliness, cleanliness and order are not important to him.  He loves to hunt, and  he loves his animals which he has no boundaries for. You can’t control how a person lives in his own house.”

At this point in this fictional discussion with Robin Rome, she would be absorbing what you just said. There is still churning inside. There is still all of those emotions, but they usually, by this time have receded a little.  Self -awareness is on high alert. This is where step 4 really comes in to shore up the feedback you just gave.

Step 4 is spotting distorted  thoughts and false beliefs (which we also did in Step 1). They become more clear as you go through this process. They could be many in this case. One could be, “My father owes me a clean house when I visit, ” which he doesn’t. Or “If he loved my mother, he would treasure the things that were important to her”. Whose to say how one handles grief? Or how can you tell someone what to treasure in their lives? We can’t make those demands on someone, especially when  they have lost someone to death.

Step 5 is when the wind comes in and blows out all of those distorted thoughts and false beliefs.  You get to embrace the Truth. Jodi makes a distinction here. Not your truth–she calls it “your true”– which  in this case could be that keeping a beautiful home shining and functioning would pay homage to your mother. The truth Robin Room finally came to after years and years was, “He was living as he wished. Policing the mess brought me no pleasure and it wasn’t my job.” When you really search for the Truth and just not what is true for you, powerful things happen. You have insight. You can look at the situation differently and say, “Aaaaaaahhhhhh. I see.” This is where you can let go of controling things and feel peace enter your life.

When you get really good at the R.A.I.S.E. process, it becomes a super power. My beloved friend that I talked about at the beginning of this post told me that Saturday night she was triggered by something. She came home and wrote it all out on her computer and she was able to feel peace again. She was able to do the R.A.I.S.E. process by herself.

Eric Greitens wrote these powerful words in the book, Resilience: Hard-won Wisdom For Living A Better Life.

“Joy is a practice we build in a world where we feel pain.”

I actually look at this phrase everyday as I put it on a post it note on my desk. What is insightful about this phrase is the “activeness” of it. We are building a practice. Part of this building is letting go, letting people live their lives, practicing forgiveness, and not being in control. Using the R.A.I.S.E. process with yourself and your family will teach them a skill so deep and wide that they can use for the rest of their lives. It will minimize drama and help you and  your children become more self-aware.

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