I could start this post off with any of the thousands quotes about letting go. But I am not. Instead I am going to ask that you center yourself for just a minute. Sit and breathe deeply. Unclench your jaw. And just be. As the thoughts of what went wrong comes to you, let it pass by. As you drift into thinking about a past situation or grudge, notice where your attention is going and then come back to the breath of this present moment. Breathe deeply for a full round of 3. You just did it. You let go for those breaths. Now think about this for just a minute. What if nothing is wrong? What if you are exactly where you are meant to be?
We are now going to explore the word acceptance for a moment. Acceptance is the mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true. Do you believe the following statement: The past is over? It has a question mark because I asked you if you believe it, but if you are not sure, write it out in your journal like this: The Past IS Over.
I think it is safe to say that at some point in life, everyone has been hurt, everyone has made some mistakes, and everyone carries around thoughts of “if only I had…”. Those thoughts do not change the past, so what we are going to do right now, is start with where we are. This is the same concept I teach in the Head|Heart|Health Club and I am very grateful for the opportunity to help so many people start where they are.
What letting go can teach us:
- When we hold on to things, we do not feel any better. In fact, we feel worse and start pointing fingers. Letting go of the need to place blame and assuming the responsibility for your own actions teaches us that we do have control over how we react…not what another person says or does, but how we react. Let go of the need to hold on.
- You are not the victim any longer. As we begin to let go of past resentments, grudges, and lingering issues, we realize that acceptance of the situation makes us feel lighter. Okay, this is how it is. It is currently this way right now, but guess what? It doesn’t have to stay that way. You are in control of your options and what you decide to do next so that moves you out of victim mentality, which does not ever help you. Be honest here with yourself. No amount of thinking about it over and over again or lamenting has ever helped fix a past situation.
- Forgiveness is for you. Sometimes, we stay stuck in pain because we feel like we deserve it. We wallow in it. We lay around in it and then we think we are about over it and sometimes makes it fresh again. Forgiveness can help you wipe the emotional slate clean. It doesn’t mean you ever are excusing a person’s actions, but the truth is, we all make mistakes. Are some worse than others? Hell yes, but replaying it in your mind causes more pain, stress and occasionally, it warps the details of what really happened to include feelings that were not there. Stop replaying and move on.
- Focus only on what you can do at this moment to start living and moving forward. In the Club, we work on baby steps. Why do I teach that way? When you were born, did you know how to do everything at once? No. When you look at a mountain, can you blink and be up to the top? No…not unless you are on a Science Fiction show. If you want to correct say a mistake that was years in the making, can change happen overnight? Not usually. Focus on what you can overcome and change right now in this moment. Set yourself up for winning, not failing. Do not say I want to lose 50 pounds. Instead rephrase with I want to start eating healthier. Then I want to get to the gym at least 2 days a week, then move it to 3. Then say I want to lose 5 pounds this month. Apply this to whatever it is you are working on.
- Enlist in some support. I do not know why certain things happen to certain people, but I try very hard not to think about the “luck” other people have. It is very important that I focus on my own life, but when I need a helping hand, I have certain friends and trusted advisors that have no judgement and can be objective as they listen. Even though I am hard-headed, and don’t like to be , I do reach out when things get “sticky” and I need to move on as well. Yoga, journaling, meditation, and more are my tools. I teach people letting go is a form of strength as well as asking for help in doing the work.
For more help on this subject see the following posts: