Is your heart heavy and your spirit burdened because there is something that you are holding on and you need to let go? Perhaps it is a person, a relationship, a dream, a mistake, a habit, a vice.
Often times we choose to cling and suffer because we believe that by holding on, we will eventually get what we want - our deepest, most ardent desire. Or, by holding on, we believe that we can avoid what we don’t want - loss, heartache, loneliness, fear. We resist letting go because we have tried and not succeeded in the past, and the cloak of shame, regret, and failure deceive us into believing that we are not strong enough or capable now. Sometimes we stubbornly refuse to let go because we are convinced that the time is not right. We mistakenly believe that when our circumstances change or it feels right, the process of letting go will be easier and without pain.
Has the time come? Are you ready to let go? If so, be gentle with yourself. Recognize that letting go is a painful process, and take comfort in knowing that with patience and compassion for yourself, you will heal.
Try experimenting with the following ideas.
1. Open your mind. Letting go begins with a deliberate decision to be open, to accept discomfort, and to welcome change. Once you have made the decision to let go, hold fast. Lean in to the discomfort and recognize that the pain is temporary. It is during times of pain that we transform, heal, and spiritually grow. When painful thoughts arrive and tempt you give up, soothe yourself by reminding yourself that you are taking care of yourself and in a healing process. During the waves of ache, anchor your thoughts to the positive aspects of your act of letting go. Contemplate how your life is better both now and in the future by letting go.
2. Unfurl your fist. Sometimes we need something ceremonial in order to gain closure. Try the following visualization: Find a quiet place, get comfortable, and close your eyes. Imagine yourself if an inspiring place, perhaps the beach, the forest, or anywhere that evokes positive emotions for you. Take several deep breaths and bring to life in your mind’s eye the scenery around you. What does your safe place look like, what does it sound like, how do you feel there? Stay there for a few moments and allow the feelings of peace, joy, and serenity fill you up. Next, envision your best, bravest, and most authentic-self unfurling your fist and letting go. As you open your fist, imagine what you have been holding on to so tightly float out of the palm of your hand and dissolve on its way toward heaven. Savor the feeling the freedom and lightness from setting it free.
3. Expose your heart. Allow your heart to be open to the vast array of feeling sensations that emerge. Sometimes when we let go, we feel raw, exposed, and vulnerable. Recognize that feelings are temporary and that they ebb and flow. Rather than trying to avoid or escape unwanted feelings, try to peacefully accept them as they are without reacting to them or judging them. Just gently notice what you are feeling. See your feelings for the gift that they are—without experiencing negative emotions, we could never fully appreciate the positive ones. How do we know joy without having experienced suffering?
4. Feed your soul. When we let go of something, we create space in our soul. Replace the void with something that nourishes your soul. Make time each day to be creative, and do what you love. Some ideas include journaling, prayer, meditation, cooking, exercise, being in nature, or connecting with friends.
5. Forgive yourself. One thing we share as humans is that none of us is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Shower yourself with loving kindness for having the courage to let go, and then forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is an active and on-going process that requires us to consciously monitor and manage our thoughts. When past mistakes and regrets surface, choose self-forgiveness over self-loathing. Cast the self-critical thoughts aside and speak loving, affirming words aloud to yourself. Remind yourself that you have let go, that you have forgiven yourself, and refuse to allow the negative thoughts to steal your joy and freedom.
By letting go, you are creating space in your life for deep healing and lasting joy. Remember that letting go is a difficult process where initially, you may feel much worse before feeling better. It is normal to feel sad, anxious, or angry when letting go of something, however, if these feelings persist, you may want to reach out for support.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share with us your experiences with letting go.