“Sometimes letting go is an act of greater power than defending or hanging on.” - Eckhave Tolle
“Let it go.”
We have all heard this statement ad nauseam. And we have been frustrated, hurt, and angered by it. Simply, it's not simple to let go. Whether it is financial loss, a career set back, a breakup, the loss of a loved one, how and why do people expect us to move on so fast?
I say take your time. Take your time to let go of it in a healthy way. In a way that it does not become a haunting memory that you have repressed but it becomes a past situation that you actively dealt with and overcame.
But it’s difficult, isn’t it? How does one let go of something that is already killing them but it feels like it would kill them to let it go? Sometimes I feel like the things we don’t want to let go of at all are things which we don’t actually have. I think we all subconsciously know that if we stop going all over it, again and again, it will really be over. When all that exists is an “idea”, The best way to keep it alive is to hold on to it. Letting go really doesn’t have anything to do with that person actually leaving your life or the failure actually happening, it has more to with accepting that it has already happened.
But it’s not impossible. You can let go of it all, even things that have persistently laid you awake at nights. Below I have written some ways which will be helpful in getting that burden off your shoulders.
Accept things as they are. (Source: Hopegrows.net)
What is the hardest thing about letting something go? Its the acceptance of the fact that things aren't how you wished them to be. Most of us struggle with accepting that reality is different from how it was in our heads. When it dawns upon you that your daydreams about your relationship or your career are never going to metamorphose into reality, it is just very very hard to accept. Fairly enough because it compromises “certainty” which is one of the six important human needs. However, it is very essential to accept “the things you cannot control” as they are. Accept that she/he doesn't love you. Accept that your loved one is in a better place now. Accept that they left. Just accept.
Unfortunately, sometimes you might not even get the closure that you deserve. But you can't control that, it’s up to the other side. Accept that people may not be good to you, that they may not return your favors, or stand on your expectations, that’s just how the world works. Another crucial step is to take stock. Let yourself feel, and accept that feeling. It’s not wrong to feel betrayed, broken, sad or depressed. Accept that it hurt you, putting up a strong face is not always the healthiest thing for yourself. Furthermore, stop yourself from blaming yourself or others and victimization. I’m not asking you to deny the wrong that was done to you but to deflate its negativity. Acceptance of the situation as it is, in the most rational form is the first step towards moving on. It is the key to be truly free.
Forgive for yourself. (Source: Humanunlimited.com)
They say “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” However, this divinity is hardly a human thing to do. Take a look back at the past. How many people have you genuinely forgiven? Don’t think too much even if it’s no one. We rarely forgive. Given that, it shouldn’t be so. We should forgive, not for the other person but solely for ourselves. Usually, people think that by forgiving they lose their rights to feel a certain way about the situation, or that they now have to pretend everything is fine or that they should forget it ever happened. But these are all misconceptions. “Forgiveness is a conscious deliberate decision to release the feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or a group that has harmed you regardless of whether they deserve it or not.” It is just about removing the negativity. Once you accept the situation and your feelings, it becomes easier to digest the fact that all humans are flawed. That makes it easier to forgive. Moreover, try to think of how you have grown from that situation. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, and that should be a further impetus to forgive someone.
Be Kind to yourself and others! (Source: washingtonpost.com)
Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.” In the context of letting go, kindness works in multiple ways. Firstly, be kind to yourself. Things that you need to let go, usually bring with themselves a lot of self-doubt, self-loathing, victimization, pessimism, and negativity, etc. You yourself may have countless examples of blaming everything on yourself or cursing yourself for something that happened by chance. Kindness involves giving yourself credits for surviving and going through. The self-limitations that we all put on ourselves whenever we go through difficult times is an act of cruelty. Let that go. Allow yourself to feel wholly and be whole. The person who needs you the most is ‘you’. Realizing this is being kind to yourself. Secondly, I know it's asking a little more, but try being kind to the world. For instance, try not to project your anger or hurt onto other people. Don’t indulge in activities that sabotage the peace of others. Revenge does not feel good when it ends. And all that does not end well is not well. Lastly, I know it's asking too much but try being kind to the person or group that hurt you. Forgive them. It may change them and their lives but I guarantee it will change yours for good.
Get Away. (Source: Bustle.com)
Many of us hold on to tangible things besides ideas. The next thing that might help is to create real distance. If you live in the same house, move out for a while or try to avoid that person/group. If it’s a job/institute leave it if it's possible. Throw the gifts and letters away. Delete the pictures, chats, and posts. It may sound like a very immature thing to do, but trust me it has its benefits. Distance makes sure that you have fewer opportunities for daydreaming and overthinking about things, basically, it cuts down the chances of you holding on. These things are too precious to us sometimes and I understand that. If you can’t throw them away or escape them make sure you keep them for what they are and not for what’s associated with them. Moreover, let's say you can’t get away from that person/object for some practical reasons like you work in the same place. What you can do in such situations is to mentally distance yourself and the things which we discussed above and which we will discuss below will help you do that! Moreover, you could take a time out, go on a vacation. Not only will that help you move away from the situation but also give you new experiences to relish on.
Write down what you’re feeling. (Source: Morethanschleroderma.com)
Bottling up emotions is the worst. These emotions never die or fade out. Instead, they come out in uglier ways when you least expect it. Not expressing how and what you feel is detrimental both to your physical and mental health. Thus it's important to let it all out. Honestly, cry as much as you want. Yell, shout, scream, it's all alright, just don’t keep it in. Feel the anger, accept and express it. However, one point to be noted here is that I'm not asking you to break things or beat the hell out of someone. That’s a no-no. What you learn to do is to channel your emotions properly. For instance, If you're angry, do some physical exercise. You will feel ten times better after it. Most importantly, talk about it. I’m sure most of us have someone to talk to. If you don't talk to yourself, tell yourself how you feel. You could write it down. Or you could even hit me up on my mail, I’ll glad to hear you out. The main point is to express yourself.
Connect, You need it. (Source: Mindful.org)
In times of distress, we crave support. Whether we ask for it or not is a different question, but scientifically speaking we should. Social support is an extremely important resource to have. Especially if you are struggling with letting something go, being with people who fill you, may make things a little easier. When we know we have someone to rely on, we are more likely to let go of things. The reason being, the needs can be met with different sources. Moreover, supporting people around you in a way compel you, or give you reasons to move on. Basically they tell you that there is more to life. Furthermore, when you talk to people, it helps you express yourself. And as already mentioned it helps to let out the bottled up emotions which further helps in preventing damages physical and psychological health. Finally, one last important thing to add here would be the connection to oneself. It's not always about others, sometimes it’s also about connecting to your soul. I’m sure not many of us know our own selves, and times like these are great opportunities to answer, “ Who am I?”
Balance your heart and brain. (Source: Mindfulschools.org)
What does holding on involve the most? The past and the Future. Either you are caught up in the memory of what happened or could’ve happened or in the daydreams of what should happen in the future. Rarely do we think about what is happening now. And maybe this the reason why we get so caught up that we can’t let go. Mindfulness involves being in the present moment, It involves shedding the burden from the past and refusing the burden from the future. And the best part about it is, that we all can achieve mindfulness quite easily. Firstly, you can meditate. Meditation focused on breathing or body scan brings and holds you in the present moment. It elevates the calm in your mind and declutters your emotions. You could also try physical exercise. Knowing and increasing the physical limits of your body through exercise not only makes you mindful but also makes you healthier! You could also try just doing something you love and being immersed in it completely. Music, Painting, writing, reading everything works.
Self-Love is the first step in the journey of Love. (Source: Saatchiart.com)
In the process of struggle, we often forget ourselves. Self-love is a journey of memorizing who you are. I am a big advocate of self-love because I believe if you don’t love yourself, you really can’t love others. Moreover, if you think about it self love is also the greatest middle finger of all times! By loving yourself you declare to the world that even if no one stands by you, you will still stand for yourself and that gives you immense power. When you are trying to let go of something self-love is so important. Firstly, because it helps you prioritize yourself. Once you do that, it's easier for you to understand what’s right for you and whats not. And letting go, in that sense becomes easy, because self-love would not allow you to hold on to something toxic. Moreover, it helps you move on from things. Once you start loving yourself you have all the more reason to try out new things, go places, and live a fulfilling life. Focus on your needs and then work on meeting them. Ask yourself what you are really looking for, and thus let go of things that do not meet this criterion. You could always try journaling and routines.
Relax yourself, with some happy books and a cup of tea! (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
If you’re struggling with letting something go, naturally you are going to be stressed. And stress does not really help with the process so it’s better that we somehow eliminate it. From a holistic viewpoint, the stress will be removed only when you have completely dealt with the situation but there are ways in which you could momentarily reduce it for some clear-headed thinking. Go for a ten-minute walk. Make it mindfully, observe the sounds, breathe deeply, see like you want to find something. You could also use a stress ball or a fidget spinner, they do reduce stress momentarily.if you ask me what I do when I'm stressed is I draw. Then there comes deep breathing, I just can't stress how magically effective this is. Physical exercise is another way you could ‘cool off’. You could also try things like Naam Yoga. In this put some pressure on the space between you first and the second knuckle, that is your pointer and middle finger. It is supposed to ease out the nerves to your heart, cool isn't it? There is also another easy way to deal with stress, the rubber band technique. You just have to wear a rubber band around your hand and flick it whenever you feel stressed.
Well Let’s just say that I’m funny. (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
This looks like something very important. Well, because it is. After the whole process of acceptance and forgiveness and expression its time to move forward from it all. I would rather say the things we discussed above are a part of this process too. Distance yourself from the situation mentally and carry out new things that take up your time and effort. Learn a new skill. You could try learning a new language or skill like sewing, knitting, and even changing a tire. Next, meet new people, not only will they bring in new experiences and memories they will also help you forget the past. Now I understand not everyone likes to meet new people and that’s no problem. They could try out new experiences! Try out a new sushi restaurant or visit the new park that opened up, there is so much you could do! Moving on involves integrating your past with your present in a healthy way so that it does not trouble you in the future.
Letting go is realizing that the only person we can control is ourselves. Everything falls into place after that. This process takes up a lot of strength, courage and will power, but once you are through with it, you emerge as a stronger person.