LETTING GO/RELEASING is a Theme that has been coming up strong for me lately in my life.
Hanging on to old thoughts/patterns/habits/ways of being that no longer serve us cause us to feel TRAPPED, LACKING FREEDOM, DEEPLY WORRIED/ANXIOUS, DEPRESSED, ANGRY, GUILTY, STUCK. It keeps us going in circles in all areas of life: Relationship, Careers, Finances and Health. It can even manifest itself physically in our body. For me, I again reached a point of depression and anxiety. My anxiety manifests in my bowels (makes sense, when the idea behind it is ‘Letting Go’.)
Letting Go of OLD Thoughts, Feelings, Beliefs and Behaviour Patterns gives us a sense of FREEDOM/POWER/ABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD/INCREASED SELF ESTEEM/BETTER RELATIONSHIPS/PEACE OF MIND/HAPPINESS/ALL AROUND IMPROVEMENT IN LIFE/DECREASE IN ANXIETY AND FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION
Here are 5 things you should know if you are feeling unsettled or stuck and are ready to LET GO of all that ‘stuff’ that is holding you back or weighing you down:
1. Your Mind Will Try to Resist
The concept of detachment can be a tough one for us to grasp. It is part of Buddhist teaching: Nothing is permanent. Change is imminent, and the more we practice detachment, the quicker we can find true happiness. This does not mean that you stop caring. It just means that you accept what is and accept that our thoughts don’t have to control us. We can begin to simply observe our thoughts in a gentle and loving way, sort of from a third person’s point of view.
When you begin to make decisions about letting go of beliefs and behaviour patterns that you’ve come to know for a long time (maybe even your whole life) your ego mind sets into a bit of a ‘panic’ mode. It may start thinking things like:
‘But I Like This, I Want It To be permanent.” My life won’t be the same without it.” I don’t want to lose it, life will be worse without it.” I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared.’ ‘What if I fall?” What if I fail?” What if I can’t?” What if they laugh?” What if I offend someone?” What if it results in conflict?” But it is all I have ever known.” But I can’t, But I can’t, But I can’t.” But it’s who I am.” But what if it doesn’t turn out the way I WANT it to.’
The truth is, we all have a Higher/Wiser self who is guiding us, and we have to train ourselves to listen to our inner voice. The very fact that you find yourself reading this article tells you that you are ready to let go of something that no longer serves you. This is time to Trust and have in your inner compass.
2. You Need to Give Yourself Permission to Let Go
Something inside of you is telling you you are not allowed, because of messages you have received in childhood (It is not okay to be a sexual being, you don’t have the right to use your voice, you should look like this, you can’t do that, it’s not safe, it’s not polite, it’s not enough, you are not enough, you don’t deserve). Give YOURSELF permission. You don’t need anyone else’s. It is your life.
3. You Are Not Your Past
Your past has taught you wonderful lessons so that you can change and grow. You do not have to hold on to those lessons/experiences any more. It is done. Thank them for everything they have taught you and let them go. There is a wonderful future awaiting you.
4. Letting Go is a Process
You don’t just do it ONCE. I have been consciously practicing letting go for a long time now (Years). Often it is the same stuff that comes up. But be gentle with yourself, and know that the very fact that you are aware that you WANT to let go of these things IS a step, and you WILL find changes in your life as you continue through the process.
5. There’s A Lot To Let Go Of
There are so many things to let go of: Negative Thoughts/Beliefs/Behaviour Patterns (Bad Habits), Weight or Feelings around Losing Weight/Body Image, Perfectionism, Toxic Relationships, Angry Feelings, Sad Feelings, Guilt, and the list goes on and on.
Often when I do meditations around letting go, I find they don’t feel long enough to let go of ALL the stuff I need to let go of. But I have learned to TRUST that the first things that come up are the ones that are holding me back the most, so when you do exercises around letting go, make sure you trust what comes and don’t overthink it (Let Go of Overthinking!)
6. Break It Down Into Small Steps
Trying to let go of everything all at once is overwhelming and is likely to lead to procrastination or self-sabotage, which really slows down the process of change and growth. Instead, pick ONE THING to focus on (likely the first thing that came up, as stated above). This will make the process feel more ‘doable’.
7. Action is Key
Once you have chosen the first thing (or maybe a couple of things), brainstorm some ACTIONS you can do to move forward with this idea, and have a place to record them. For example, if you are wanting to let go of the thought ‘I Am Not Good Enough’, write down all the things you can do to prove to yourself that you ARE good enough (remember, you’re going to be fighting that Ego mind) and then take action on one of them IMMEDIATELY! Make sure you have somewhere to record your accomplishments, no matter how little! A journal beside your bed, or even your ‘notes’ app on your phone will work. It’s the baby steps that get us to where we want to go.
If you want to engage in some Expressive Arts exercises on Letting Go, I am creating a video series of activities. Find them on my YouTube channel, and free yourself!