Personal Development

How to Stop Obsessing and Start Living

While it’s understandable that certain events can play a huge role in your day to day living, when they’re the only thing on your mind, you tend to get stuck where you are and you’re not able to progress.

Sometimes it’s hard to get past a break-up or the death of a loved one. Or someone does you wrong and you just can’t seem to forget about it and move on. The problem is that the more you think about these types of things, the bigger they become. Ultimately, they end up so huge that you can’t see any way around them.

You stop doing things that bring you joy because you simply don’t have the energy. Or, maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have the time to experience some fun (because you should spend your time obsessing). However, merely going through the motions of life isn’t living; it’s only surviving. Sometimes it’s barely that.

Well, if you’re ready to start breaking down the mountain of obsession that stands in front of you so that you can see the rest of the world in all its beauty again, here are some steps to help you do just that:

Step #1: Figure out why you won’t let it go

In order to move on from an event or major happening, you first have to figure out what you can’t let go. What is it about that particular event that feels unresolved to you?

Maybe you had a fight with a parent that you now regret because they have passed on without getting to say that you’re sorry. Or, perhaps your long-term relationship has ended and you’re having a hard time letting him go because you have so many unanswered questions. You need to identify what it is specifically about that particular event that gets you so worked up that it has now grown larger than life itself.

This might be a difficult step because it involves some major self-introspection. You have to be completely and totally honest about what it is that bothers you most, which sometimes means admitting things that don’t put you in the best light.

Don’t worry about that because this is for your use only. No one else needs to know if you’re upset for vanity reasons or reasons that make you seem selfish. This is for your knowledge only and it is 100% necessary if you want to start to be able to move on with your life.

Step #2: Assess whether you can change the situation

female sitting pose

Once you know what it is that is at the heart of your obsession (why you just won’t let go), the next step is to assess whether or not you can change your current situation. Is there something you can do that will make you feel better and “fix” things at all?

For instance, if your boyfriend broke things off with you and you haven’t come to terms with it, can the two of you sit like two adults and discuss the issue so that you can reach some point of resolution? Or, if there’s some medical concern looming in your mind, is it possible to go get some testing to find some answers once and for all so you can stop worrying about it?

Step #3: Change what you can

If there is something you can do that will bring you some peace of mind, then get ready to do it. You’ve spent enough time and energy thinking and worrying and obsessing over it – now it’s all about the action.

In the case of a broken relationship, for example, if you and your ex can have a peaceful, honest discussion, then arrange it. Sometimes it is easier to be frank and say what’s on your mind when the relationship is over and you’re not so protective of hurt feelings. (Of course, tact is encouraged if you really want to move on as throwing stones and just trying to hurt the other person gets you both nowhere.)

Or, if there is some other situation that has taken over your world, you need to ask what you can do to make things better. If the answer is “nothing” due to whatever reason, then proceed to step number four.

Step #4: Accept what cannot be changed

beautiful blonde outdoor on the street

Some things can’t be undone. If someone has died, for instance, there’s no way to make amends. And, even if you want to talk things out with someone who has hurt you, it requires their willingness too, which is often not freely given.

So, if your issue or situation does not have a plausible solution, you have no choice but to let it go if you want any chance at living in peace and contentment. If you continue to hang on to what happened and go over it and over it in your mind, you’re just going to make it bigger and bigger until eventually it destroys you and nothing is worth that.

Granted, it isn’t easy to accept something that feels wrong or hurts. And, that doesn’t mean that you have to agree with it, support it or otherwise condone it. It only means that you acknowledge it for what it is; nothing more and nothing less.

Step #5: Move on

Once you take the previous four steps, you’ll find yourself in a better position to move on and start to leave what has happened in the past. It’s time to regain control of your life.

Letting go is hard because it means admitting a certain part of your life is over. That can be a scary realization. It’s also difficult because it sometimes involves things that you don’t understand or can’t fully comprehend in a way that makes everything okay.

But, even though it will take some time and energy, it is well worth it in the end. You’ll start to see life as colorful instead of black and white; as loving and caring instead of hurting and painful.

So, how do you move on? You start to do the things that you enjoy again. You engage yourself in activities that distract you from your obsessing behaviors and surround yourself with people that only want the best for you and make you smile.

You make a conscious decision to learn from your mistakes and focus more on what lies ahead than on what exists behind. You tell yourself that you can, and will, make tomorrow better than today.

Obsessions can drive you to your knees if you let them. It’s time to not let them.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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