Holding on to painful “stuff” doesn’t fix anything, and suppresses our growth. When it comes to getting over things and moving forward, we often hear to just “let it go.” That’s not always so easy.
Sometimes, we hold on to a painful past because we aren’t sure who we’d be without those familiar feelings and reactions. Understand that “letting go” doesn’t mean we totally get rid of those painful memories; we just let them be and cease giving them attention.
The hardest part of the letting go process is simply acknowledging what we’re holding on to, the habitual thoughts and reactions that define our relationships or our day – expectations, bad memories, old grudges, etc. Once we take an honest look at those ingrained thoughts, we can start to carve out a better path forward, starting right where we are now.
Tips To Help You Let Go
Memories of bad relationships, past trauma, grudges, and anything else that might be tripping you up from progress can be released. As you read the following, imagine that feelings or situations you’d like to let go of are represented by a balloon(s) floating away. Alternately, you can imagine holding a big pair of scissors, cutting away ideas, memories, etc. that no longer serve your life now.
- Relationships we thought we’d have will often be different from the ones we will actually have. Accept others, as well as ourselves. As time goes on, things might change, and that’s OK.
- When dealing with other people, it’s essential that we aren’t invested in a specific outcome because it can lead to disappointment. We can’t control what others see, say, and do. Release expectations and allow what will be to be; there are no guarantees in life.
- Release the idea that we have the power to control others’ actions. We only have control over ourselves, how we act, and what we do. We can’t change someone who doesn’t want to do so themselves.
- It’s not your business what other people think of you. Read that again. Don’t allow what other people think about you to control your life. Prioritize what you think and feel about yourself and make changes based on that.
- Accept that we’re going to mess up. It’s OK to make mistakes; learning from them is even better.
- Accepting the things that we can’t change can be a struggle, but it’s beneficial. Why waste energy on something from the past when we need to move forward?
- Fear holds us back from doing so much because it closes our minds to the possibilities of the future. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is healthy and leads to growth!
- Find your voice. It’s good to let others know how and what we feel in rational and healthy ways. If we stay quiet about what bothers us, we become ticking time bombs, and that’s never good. We can and should express what matters.
- Feel your negative emotions, but don’t confuse “feeling” with “dwelling.” Dwelling only holds us in a negative space. If we let ourselves feel it, we can release it and move forward.
- Let go of resentment, unless you want to remain locked in the past. You don’t have to forget what’s happened (and sometimes you just can’t), but find a way to forgive — even if it’s forgiving yourself.
Yes, letting go can be challenging. However, if we want to fly, we must take a chance. Baby birds do it all the time, leaping out of the comfort of a warm nest into somewhere unfamiliar. They need to be “light” in order to soar. So, drop that old baggage and spread your wings!