Problems letting go

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    Hi everyone, I’ve been reading this site for probably over a year now. Just noticed that forums are up!

    I’ve found the last week or so for me has been really difficult to cope with, and I guess I just need somewhere I can put my thoughts down and share what is going on. I seem to have very poor coping mechanisms, and high anxiety. Anything stressful feels like the end of the world to me. I work part-time right now because I opted to do some online schooling to help update my portfolio. But my contract ends in a couple months, so I’ve been sending out job applications for the last 2 months. I was certain I would get an interview with this one company, but a few days ago was told otherwise. It boggles my mind because I know I’m fully qualified. But from talking to others who have spoken with this studio, a lot of talented people have been turned away. So I shouldn’t take it personally. But for the last few days it has really discouraged and angered me.

    So my thoughts on my skills. I think my confidence in my work has gotten better over the last few years. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. And while I know I’m not the best, I know I’m capable. But the lack of bites on my applications has been getting me down, making me question if I’ll survive this struggling field, where animation students are being pumped out left, right and center, and the jobs keep becoming fewer and fewer. The only option I see is to keep going, and I will find something one of these days… It’s just hard to stay motivated to do the work to improve my portfolio.

    My other large issue lately has also been letting go of the past. Most of this focuses on relationships. My first relationship was 8 years long and ended because I fell out of love and he realized it more than I did. I lost my job shortly after due to downsizing. Within the year, I then moved to Denmark. My first year there was a struggle due to depression from being alone/single.

    I then started to see a co-worker shortly after he ended his relationship. From what he told me, he had thought about ending it for a year, so I thought he was somewhat at peace with it. He wanted to be truthful with me and told me he had cheated on his ex a couple years earlier with another girl from work. I believed his sincerity of remorse and want to change himself. But I found out shortly after he cheated on me with his ex. It was almost impossible for me to forgive him, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to give up on the relationship. Sometimes he did not think what he did was wrong because we weren’t “official” though, so that would often anger me. We were on and off for over a year. During that time, he wanted another proper go at the relationship. But I then found out he lied about fooling around with that same girl from our office when I had asked him if he had hooked up with anyone else during one of our breaks.

    My third relationship was long distance and short-lived because his insecurities got the best of him and he broke up with me after I had just flown back from the eastern US from visiting him. He tried to get me back a few weeks later, but it was too late and I felt nothing for him. This was the last straw for me, I was exhausted emotionally. I decided to leave Denmark and head back home.

    I seem to still have feelings of annoyance and resentment with all of my exes. My first ex because of his lack of motivation to accomplish anything in life (even though I tell myself, that’s fine, that is his life and not mine), but I guess maybe it’s because I am quite driven and that during those 8 years I put off doing the things I always wanted to do. My second ex, because I chased him continually despite knowing he was no good for me. His words seemed sincere, but his actions never followed through. When I was about to leave Denmark, we hadn’t spoken for 6 months. And then he reached out, and he told me he loved me a couple days before I left. That pulled me back in and it was another 6 months of being attached to him despite being across the world. My third ex, I have less resentment or anything about. He tried to get me back for months, willing to relocate to the west coast to be closer to me. Telling me he didn’t want to get over me. He was depressed, and so was I, so I couldn’t really handle dealing with him anymore. I stopped communication eventually. Then found out 2 months later he had found another long-distance girlfriend. I actually felt kinda happy for him. But also envious that he found someone so soon. I’ve been single for almost 10 months now without a single prospect.

    So trying to let go of these emotions tied to the past has been difficult. I don’t want to be with any of these guys. I know what I don’t like in a partner. But being alone sometimes feels so intolerable. I tell myself it’s not life-threatening (since that is what anxiety is about). I try to tell myself that it’s just different for everyone. I have some great friends who are single too. So just because I am, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me. But the negative thoughts roll in. What if the person who complements me just doesn’t exist? In a city where the guys are known to be shy, and everyone’s cliquey… I have been more social ever since my relocation. I go out of my way to meet new people. And yet I feel it doesn’t up my chances of anything because there is no control over who you click with.

    I see a therapist too, although I haven’t seen her in a month now due to scheduling. I can’t tell if it’s helping though. I know the root of a lot of my problems, obviously stemming from upbringing/family stuff. But knowing where this comes from, knowing that life is actually pretty good despite things not working out the way I want, it doesn’t stop the depression. It doesn’t stop the anxiety or the emotions. My therapist has said I’m trying too hard to stop the feelings instead of just letting them be. I’m too hard on myself. I get annoyed that I let my thoughts of the past affect me so much. So how do you really embrace these things, and then just let them go?

    Anyway, I know it was a bit of a ramble, but it’s nice to have an outlet.

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 7 months ago by Melissa.


    I respect you for the courage to look directly at your thoughts and emotions! Its glad to hear you’re exploring therapy, it can be really effective. Sometimes it can be difficult for someone with a powerful mind to “do nothing” and let go. It reminds me of a pair of rocket boots with an “on” switch but no “off” switch. We turn them on and woooosh.

    The trick is to step away from the on switch, and learn to calm down when the boots are whooshing us. Said differently, when we think about certain things, they trigger emotions. Once the emotions are on, they have to run their course… they are chemicals in the body which we cannot suppress, and our attempt to suppress only adds pressure. What is even more tricky is that the emotions will inspire thoughts associated with the emotion from our past.

    For instance, if when we were young we were deeply afraid of clowns, as adults sometimes when we become fearful of not paying the rent on time, our brain will pop with a vision of a clown.

    Counting breath meditation is a great way to develop some concentration within the mind. YouTube has a series by Ajahn Jayasaro which describes the process. As the mind gains skill in being able to direct our awareness consciously, thoughts don’t drive us, they blossom in a spaciousness. From there, we can do anything with them we want.

    One of my teachers described it as such: Imagine the painful thoughts and emotions like a startled mare in a barn. If we walk up to the mare and try to settle her down, she kicks us, bites us and we join her in the panic. Instead, we remove the walls of the barn, and the mare settles quite naturally. Said differently, we don’t step into the thoughts or emotions and attempt to direct them, we open up the space around them with our awareness. Then the thoughts and emotions settle on their own.

    Meditation is something I find to be very nurturing. If that’s not your thing, perhaps a bath or a walk in nature (especially barefoot). While you walk, bathe or whatnot, ask yourself “what is around me? What colors do I see? What sounds do I hear? How does THIS moment actually feel?” Your body will catch up to your surroundings, and the mare will settle, the body calms, and the mind opens.

    With warmth,


    Thanks for the thoughts Matt. I’ll also look into the Youtube series you mentioned.

    I guess it’s been difficult to get into mindfulness/meditation. The little things in life catch up and distract me, then I completely forgetting about how to just let those thoughts/emotions be and instead try to push them away. I’ll keep at it though and try to find my grounding.

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