Let It Go!August 2, 2016
The popular children’s movie has made it catchy to tell ourselves and others to Let It Go! But releasing what does not serve us is easier said than done. Let’s explore why we hold on to things, knowing when to relax our grip, and the freedom and power that flow from letting go.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” ~ Lao Tzu
Let It Go: Finding Freedom in Release
We’ve all heard about the value of persistence and perseverance, and motivational sayings such as, “Winners never quit and quitters never win,” and “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”
It’s easy to glorify tenacity – the steadfast refusal to release your grasp on a dream, a goal, an expectation, or even a relationship. But sometimes the things you cling to most tightly aren’t the buoys of safety you think they are … they may be anchors dragging you down. Letting go frees you to discover something better – or to allow something better to find you!
When We Hold On Too Tightly
Over time, unmet expectations or unfulfilled dreams can feel burdensome. A relationship that was once full of joy is now an emotional drain. A career that once inspired you has become a drudgery. It might even be physical stuff you’re holding on to – a desk full of papers, a closet full of clothes, or boxes full of hobbies that no longer interest you.
Letting go is acknowledging that holding on isn’t solving the problem, changing the person, or achieving your desired outcome. It’s natural to cling to things that once brought you pleasure or hope – but now is the time to let go of anything that doesn’t support your current joy and success.
When To Relax Your Grip
Here’s a question to ask when you’re deciding whether to let something go: Does it still serve me? Your immediate, instinctive answer to that question will be a guide towards the truth and your next actions.
In Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she suggests discarding anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” She offers a beautiful ritual for letting go of things that no longer serve you. Hold each item in your hand and thank it for the joy it once brought you and the usefulness it once served. Then release it with gratitude for your past and contentment for the future.
Let Go, Don’t Give Up
So what’s the difference between giving up and letting go? Giving up limits and reduces your life. It’s a form of self-defeat, throwing in the towel or throwing up your hands and disavowing responsibility.
Letting go on the other hand, is about self-care, opening and expanding your life to new possibilities. It’s accepting you can’t control everything and that some things cannot be. Most importantly, letting go is a positive mindset about moving on and moving forward. Set your intentions, take necessary action, then let go — releasing control and having faith in future blessings.
Tips to Let It Go
- Focus on what you can control. If you can’t change something, stop dwelling on it. Be honest with yourself about your hopes, desires and fears; remind yourself of all you’ve done to further your goal; then let it go, trusting that what is meant to be, will be.
- Live in the present. It can be hard to let go of “if onlys” and “what ifs,” but fretting about the past or worrying about the future distracts from mindful living. Strive to live in this moment and trust in the blessings of the future.
- Release what does not serve you. Identify three things in your life that no longer serve you: an obligation that has become a drag on your time, a non-supportive relationship, or even a physical object that’s just taking up space. Then let go – releasing that which is no longer useful.
- Express your feelings. Instead of bottling things up inside, talk it out with your friends or family. Write down what you’re feeling – stress, anger, fear, frustration – on a piece of paper. Then shred or burn it!
- Let go of the past. It’s easy to be negative about past mistakes and hurtful situations. A healthier approach is to grant yourself permission to let go of the embarrassment, pain or worry and view your past as the gift of experience designed to advance you to higher levels of living.
Focus on the Future
At Leap Forward Coaching we have a process to help you live boldly. Our thoughtful methods help you let go of what no longer serves you, freeing you to live your best, most fulfilled life.