Letting Go of the (Bad) Past

I have this tenaciousness built into me that is extremely useful, both in my career as well as my personal life. It also has a downside — I have a hard time letting go of bad situations. I want to keep going back and fixing it, or making it turn out the way I wanted it to turn out. Letting it go feels like failure. My husband says, “Lisa, you hate to fail.” He’s so right.

But sometimes it’s really not failure. If the situation is truly out of my control, then my inability to move on creates stress and negativity in me and affects those around me.

I can be blind to these situations until after I’ve hit my head against the wall a few times, which knocks some sense into me. Let me try to help you by identifying some tell-tale signs, using a situation I recently had happen to me. Without going into boring detail, we were denied a mortgage on a rental property we own outright. I felt that we were denied it unfairly, and I spent weeks trying to fight this before I finally decided to hang it up. Looking back, I now recognize some fairly obvious signs:

1 The economy… hello? This was a no-brainer. All I needed to do was listen to the news. Lisa! The banks aren’t lending! Ok, got it. [Side note – this was not some little local town bank. This is a huge, national bank. Did I mention that I’ve had accounts with this bank (pre-mergers) since 1978???]

2. The mortage processor took days to call me back every time I left her a message. Clearly she was not going to fight for me or sympathize with me. She’s on the inside and she was giving me some not-so-subtle hints that this is not a battle worth fighting. Lisa, you can’t win this. Move on.

3. The reason the underwriter gave for denying the mortgage was unbelievably vague and not at all on point. This is a bank, not some teenager trying to get out of babysitting his little sister. This professional, trained analyst, with an arsenal of tools and high-powered financial calculators at her fingertips, was dissing us without feeling any need at all to give us a clear reason. [I’m still holding out for written documentation, though.]

4. The mortgage processor’s manager, while he answered the phone at least (unlike his subordinate), had no solutions to offer. Twice he said “I’ll look into it and get back to you”. Guess what? Right. No call.

5. My blood was boiling. Anger is a terrible thing. It gives you high blood pressure, insomnia, and stress. Not to mention it’s a huge time-suck. This is a sure sign I need to replace this negativity with something else, even something neutral.

So, while it still irks me when I think of it, I’m over it. Do I stress over the cash flow issues that this money would have alleviated? Sure, but I no longer feel like I need to fight. I just need to turn my sights to some alternative plan. Which I haven’t developed yet… but I will.

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