In order to gain freedom in our spirits and minds, we need to learn the not-so-subtle art of “letting go”.
Buddhist author Jack Kornfield said it best, “To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.”
For me this speaks so much to the act of attachment. We may not realise it but holding on to our pain is inevitably our will to allow it to define us and hold us back. Holding on to the pain doesn’t fix nor justify it. In accepting what we cannot change we empower ourselves to stop letting the past define us. In my own personal journey I have learned that holding on to the past (which can also look like pretending it never happened and ignoring the feelings that come up for us) prevents us from establishing our true sense of self, allowing autonomy in our lives.
So if this applies to you and you find yourself unable to THRIVE in life because you are bound by the past, whether it be peoples opinions of you, abuse you endured or limiting beliefs you adopted along the way, I hope these tips help you learn to let go and seek the life you are worthy of living.
1 Accept People for Who They are
In the pursuit of finding your truest sense of self it is important to first accept that we cannot change or control others. Many times, we look at a relationship through the lens of our personal expectations, and this can be disappointing. Everyone is on their own journey of seeking their truth and highest selves too and, in a relationship, bonds will shift and change shape over time as the two people in the relationship do their best with all given circumstances of their independent lives. Trust in who you are, set your boundaries, take time for you and trust the process.
2. Let go of Expectations
Have you ever found yourself fearing the prospect of losing someone? We have all been there. But the fact remains, there are no guarantees in life. When it comes to dealing with other people, it is best we accept early on that we hold no control over others. All we can do is control ourselves, which includes how we respond to other others. This means setting boundaries that protect our personal value system, as well as letting go when the relationship no longer serves us, trusting that the future holds what is best for our highest selves.
3. Have an Open Mind
Often, we think to ourselves that certain goals or achievements are impossible for us. These thoughts are limiting beliefs and essentially hold us back from accomplishing our goals. In allowing ourselves to open our minds to possibilities, we learn to let go of the limiting beliefs that no longer serve us.
4. Worry what YOU think of YOU, not what Others think of you
We are never going to please everyone around us. Everyone is on their own journey and seeing the world through a blueprint made from a variety of experiences and emotions. Don’t let the opinions of others determine who you are and what you should and shouldn’t do. Gandhi said it well,
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” You can’t live by your own value system if you’re living for the approval of others.
5. Embrace Failure
Ever find yourself feeling totally clear on what you want in your life, and then immediately crumble at the thought of failing in your attempts to reach for the goal? I have! This is normal, and it can also be debilitating. So, learn to get excited about failing! The more you push yourself to get outside of your comfort zone, the more you will grow and succeed. And to make it even easier, learn to laugh at yourself. Life is too short to be too serious all the time.
6. Accept what you cannot change
The past is the past, you cannot ever go back and redo what you said or did or stop others from hurting you. The power is in the present and this is where life happens. So come to the present moment, identify what you can do now and keep to heart what is important to you in your life. Make decisions today that will bring you a better future.
7. Honour your Feelings
Whether you lost a loved one through death or a break-up, or whatever you may be grieving, honour your loss. Trying to ignore your negative emotions will only prolong your suffering. Loss is difficult to experience, and it’s okay to allow yourself to hurt and be sad. Let yourself feel and go through the grief process so that you can move forward. I know from my own experience that the longer I pretended everything was OK, the longer I put off my healing and the more I self-sabotaged.
Last but not least, in order to move on and live the life of your dreams, you need to forgive.
Refusing to forgive will only keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from living your best life. Forgiveness is for YOU sister, and it allows you to heal so you can move on.
If you struggle to forgive, remember this: people operate from their own limited perspectives and beliefs. How they treated you is about THEM. How you respond is your choice, and about YOU. Be empowered by your choices and let go of the people, beliefs and behaviours that do not serve your highest self. You deserve it.
Carl Jung said it best, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” So, choose today to let go of whatever is holding you back from experiencing the happiest life you deserve. You are not what people say about you. you aren’t your past or your collective pain.
Letting go of the past and people who bring you down allows you to develop a strong sense of self that will bring you more joy and a character that enables you to survive future challenges coming your way.