There are many things in life that we hold on to and for the most part we hold on to the good, but sometimes, the bad. Letting go can be a struggle. Letting go of friends, loved ones, things that no longer provide joy – it can be tough. Like a pair of jeans that are just a little too snug we sometimes need to admit, to ourselves at least, that might be time to let go.
When someone hurts us we have a choice – we can learn from it and let it go or we can hold on to it and let it become a bigger part of our story than it deserves to be. It is a choice. And one that we can get better at choosing. Our narrative begins early on and we hold on to experiences, both good and bad, in order to prepare for what may come which in and of itself is not such a bad thing. Hindsight is 20-20 and all that. Unfortunately, we are trying so very hard to avoid negative experiences that we miss the experiences that could happen to us now and diminish our human experience as a result.
Hundreds of thousands of thoughts whip through our minds every single day, from what we chose to wear, where we go and who we spend time with – as well as ghosts of the past. Ghosts of the past can stop us in our tracks. The ones where we are moving along nicely and then out of nowhere, we remember the time that that friend let us down or an ex-lover betrayed us and all of a sudden we are there. Stuck. Reliving the pain. We go over the details; what we could have, should have or would have said or done differently. The past can only hurt us if we decide to stop in this moment, stay and visit a while. Learning to let go is something that we can learn to be better at, and we can help our young people be better at it too.
So how do we let these thoughts whip past without staying? Easy to say. Hard to do.
- Make the decision – the decision to let go of that which causes pain.
- Acknowledge the pain – briefly. ‘That was a horrible time, but I am no longer there’.
- Accept – the reality that it happened and your part in what happened.
- Find joy – in the now.
- Forgive – everyone involved, including yourself.
We have control in moving forward or staying a prisoner in the past. Letting go is a decision that can lead to better emotional regulation, a more positive view of ourselves and happiness from within.
This is the only life we get.
We get what we focus on. Happiness is entirely worth our focus in everything we do. Everything else can be let go.
Check out other articles Cassie has written here.