“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future”
– Daphne Rose Kingma
I have always been cautious of the term ‘let it go’. It sounds so easy, and as you know, it is not easy.
I know now, letting go only sounds simple. That’s all. It’s misunderstood.
Why are we talking about this?
If you are experiencing some sort of upset, distress, anxiety, stress or you’re just not feeling yourself – there is a very high chance you are holding on to something you would benefit from letting go of.
As humans many of our sufferings are maintained by clinging on to painful beliefs, thoughts, circumstances, people, and identities. We replay situations over in our head until we are completely consumed by upset, anger, shame, guilt.
We will spend much of this time blaming the world, other people or ourselves. Basically staying stuck.
At what point do you take a step back and realise it is your attachment to this thing that is creating all of this?
Why Do You Hold On?
You hold on to things because sometimes the idea of letting them go is just too much.
By holding on – you can continue to imagine life did not go this way or try and work out why it did. Wishing, praying for an alternative ending. You hold on, hoping things will change back or for some kind of ‘closure’.
It also gives you something to blame and it justifies all the decisions you make now. This way you don’t have to take any responsibility.
Why would you want to stay in this misery? Humans would rather sit in a pool of pity and tears if it means they can stay on familiar territory. You would rather that than the unknown. The unknown is scary. Even though it is a struggle, this way you don’t have to go to the effort of actually changing.
What is Letting Go?
Letting go is the process of releasing the thing that has brought you to this page. The thing you obsess over, the thing that still brings you a truck load of pain every time it crosses your mind. The thing you can’t change that is bringing negative energy into your world.
Letting go is accepting life as it has been and as it is. It is adjusting to life rather than wanting it to go back to how it used to be.
I know – life, the world and other people have hurt you, disappointed you and upset you. And that’s unfair.
But – there is a bright world out there. This thing can’t have your happiness.
Letting go is moving on. By not holding on – you can go to the next stage of your life and see what else is out there. Letting go is exciting.
Letting go is a process and it is healing.
Life becomes a whole lot easier when you accept it for what it is… complex, confusing and ambiguous.
Let’s not forget it can be absolutely amazing when you let it.
What Letting Go is NOT
I can already hear the counter arguments for why it isn’t your fault and why you shouldn’t have to let go. So let’s cover what letting go is not…
It is not forgiveness – look in order to be truly happy, forgiveness is key. However if you are not there yet, if you are not ready to forgive, no one will force you. That does not mean you have to stay stuck in this thing.
It is not forgetting – letting go doesn’t mean you will forget whatever it is you are ready to move on from. It is still there, part of your life. You learn to go through life with these experiences behind you.
It doesn’t make all emotions and memories go. It will still be there. Your mind will still go back to it. Having memories does not dictate how you have to live your life now.
It is not letting go when the thing is too raw. Take time to recover, to adjust and understand what has happened. It isn’t about avoiding or running away. Feel it, be sad about it, do what you need to do but then decide to take your life back
Here are ways you can begin the process of letting go:
For whatever reason, this thing has caused you pain. It has upset you, life has been tough. Decide that pain is not going to be in vain. Find the positive in this, even if you have to be silly with it. This can make you or break you but you have to decide which mind-set you are going with. Once you’ve made the decision, watch how things shift.
The truth is, we hold on to the things we don’t like. Depression, heart break, arguments, and the rest.
Take the time to work out what you gain from not letting go. You can do this by making a simple PROs and CONs list.
You might think I am crazy to suggest there is anything good about these things, but you will be surprised. Echart Tolle states our problems give us an identity. Give this a go, you might find the pro of holding on to a relationship is you might be able to change their mind, a pro of depression might be it gets you sympathy. – it’s not nice to hear but this is just truth.
You hold on to things because of the pain and fear that comes with letting go. Work out your gains and compare to the PROs of letting go.
Being mindful is being present. Bringing your focus to the current moment is the opposite of ruminating and worrying.
Tune in to your thoughts and how you are feeling right now, is this serving you in any way? Is it helping you move towards your goals? Move towards happiness?
Be mindful of your words and how you are talking. This will be impacting how you feel and act. Once you are more aware, you are having to make a choice to be in this misery – which means you can choose not to continue down this road. If you want to understand more about getting mindful, try listening to the podcast ‘The mindful kind’. Rachael Kable delivers quick tips and inspiration straight to your ears.
Here’s the thing about life. There are some things you can control and there are some things you can’t. You can’t control what happened in your past, yes you could have done something different then. Shoulda woulda coulda, you can’t do anything now. You can’t control another person. You can’t control the future.
If your upset is over something that is out of your control, letting go is your best option. Alternatively you can keep things how they are. It is up to you.
I cannot tell you the amount of client’s I have had, that got their break-through from simply accepting the things they cannot control or change.
This one has the potential to sound heartless, if you take it that way, you are missing the point.
Life is hard. Your negative thoughts on top of that is not helping anything. You have to lighten up. Life works in mysterious ways. Sometimes people go through total tragedies and something magical comes from it.
Life is bizarre. How can something be so incredible one moment and so cruel the next?
If you keep going against the flow, going against life as it is (whatever has happened) you will stay stuck. You will keep feeling this way.
There you have it. I hope you understand letting go is a process. You need to find a way to let it be a part of you, but not own you, not make any decisions and certainly, not define you.
You define you.
Holding on really keeps you in a victim mentality – in that mindset, changing and finding peace is extremely difficult if not impossible.
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Carly Ann xx