I decided to write this post after realising that many people, like myself struggle with letting go and with the start of a new year it seemed the ideal time.
I used to hear many different variations of this well intended advice:
‘Put your bag down, Dionne!’
‘Get over it!’
‘You’re carrying a lot of feelings’
‘Typical Scorpio – bearing a grudge’
Although intuitively you may have a fair idea of it’s meaning “Letting Go” is one of these expressions people throw around that you’re somehow expected to know, but how can that be if you’ve never actually been taught?
If you’re anything like me, you need someone to metaphorically draw diagrams give you examples and explain in-depth with detailed analogies for added effect!
Here we go…
‘Letting go’ as coined by the Cambridge Dictionary is defined as:
- C1 to stop holding something i.e. “Hold on tight and don’t let go”
“Let go of my hand, you’re hurting me!”
- C2 to stop thinking about or being angry about the past or something that happened in the past: She finds it hard to let go of a grudge.
In this instance I am referring to the latter definition but in some ways it still includes part of the first “Let go of my hand, you’re hurting me”
Let go of the pain, it’s hurting you!
We’ve all experienced some level of emotional pain and it flaming hurts, however letting go is more about how we come to terms with what happened, which is causing the pain…and then moving on.
It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result… yet it’s what I would do for hours on end combing over the hurtful event, trying to ascertain why that happened or this and unable to pull myself forward or take action.
My brain would repeat ‘it’s not fair’ or ask the question ‘why?’ over and over again only to draw blank at an answer or resolution.
Believe me when I say we are not crazy, we’ve become stuck into inaction from the pain, we are somehow unable to accept it and our heart and brain are no longer in alignment…rendering us powerless.
Teetering wildly within this state can even at times feels comforting, particularly if that is all you have ever known…until now.
Replaying the event over and over in your head and attaching blame, keeps you stuck in victim-hood-land and takes your control away.
It is important to show yourself compassion by acknowledging your hurt; by all means talk it out, write about it in your journal, cry, scream, shout in order to work through your feelings although….once you have done this, it’s time to take back your power, redefine your sense of self the way you would like (your hopes, dreams and goals) and not by what happened – as you are not what happened to you.
Let’s look at it another way –
Imagine someone crashed into your brand new car, you did nothing wrong as you were driving correctly but nonetheless your car has been crashed into and badly damaged, it may even have to be written off.
What do you do next?
- Do you stay sat in the car ruminating over what happened leading up to your car being crashed into?
- Or do you, in spite of the inconvenience take action?
In short, this is letting go – by contacting the insurance company and arranging for your car to be fixed; you are not saying this did not happen, on the contrary – you are saying:
‘My car has been damaged from the crash and I am taking steps to repair my car/get a new one (if written off)’
As we are not cars and fully fledged humans complete with a series of complicated emotions and feelings, I have written some helpful tips as “Letting Go” can be incredibly hard to do:
Consider your area of responsibility
I am by no means suggesting you deserve to have experienced the pain which you have nor am I laying blame at your door. I am simply saying accept what has happened.
- How will you go about rebuilding an even stronger sense of self?
- What could you have done differently?
- Did you accept less than behaviour more than once?
- Did you assert your boundaries from the beginning?
- Did you ignore red flags which were immediately evident?
Recognising the part you played is not to point fingers as you but it’s an opportunity to learn, grow and flourish from it. You may be a victim right now, but I know you do not wish to be defined as such…forever.
Take responsibility for your happiness.
We have a choice to let what someone else did stay with us and feel bad or start feeling good and becoming the designer of our life. Take back the reigns which you have given to this person and whilst you’re at it – your power too.
Why would you let someone who hurt you in the past steal more of your time by letting them hurt you in the now and potentially sabotaging your future?
Ruminating is not going to change what happened so why assign all this energy, churning over and over what happened?
I’m sure you are in pain, but as long as you keep touching your wound it will not heal.
Now is the time to begin putting the energy back into you – into your hopes, your dreams, into re-defining YOU.
It is us and us alone who are solely responsible for our happiness.
Stay in the here and now.
When you focus on the present moment you have less time to focus on the painful event. If you want to give yourself a serious shot at moving on, you will need to consciously decide to steer your mind away from the painful event.
Understandably as you have been stuck and unable to move on, you will find yourself re-visiting the event, which is perfectly okay, it’s a memory, an event which happened in the past – acknowledge your pain but commit it back to the past where it belongs and bring yourself back into the present where you belong.
Life is happening now and there are so many other amazing things to enjoy.
- Do you have any short-term/long-term goals?
- If not, why not?
- Life is a journey, with us at the driving seat where are you trying to get to?
What do you need to do in order to achieve them?
There’s a misconception surrounding forgiveness and I used to believe it meant you were either weak or the other person was getting away with it…if you forgave them.
Forgiveness is not, not acknowledging what you were subjected too, nor is it agreeing with their behaviour, it doesn’t mean you must continue a relationship with this person or even keep in contact.
We are in control, that decision rests entirely with us and doesn’t even need to be decided right now.
Forgiveness is accepting what happened, it’s coming to peace with what you experienced.
Letting go is completely about you and moving on and forgiveness is no different.
Forgiveness is expelling rage and anger from your psyche, releasing you from mental prison and freeing you from the constraints of the past, giving you freedom and propelling you forward to accept all the beautiful things waiting to come into your life.
Forgiveness is a gift wrapped specially by you…. for you.
Forgive yourself for what you have experienced and you have suffered enough, please don’t beat yourself up further, if we can learn to forgive others and even empathise… we must now extend this to ourselves.
God knows we deserve to.
You may have made a mistake but we all do and will continue to do so as we are human. It’s what we do… it’s part of our DNA. As long as we are learning, growing and evolving – mistakes will follow.
Think of how you master a new skill – you never just know you learn through trial and error. That too is life! Be kind to yourself and show yourself some compassion. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn, if we are too busy beating ourselves up we will miss the lesson.
Letting go is a courageous and self loving act with that said it can be incredibly hard and will take time.
Healing is not linear and although you may feel like one day you are moving on and another day you’re back to square one….be kind and patient, you’re mastering a new skill and every victory no matter how small should be celebrated.
I would love to hear more about your journey and how these tips are working for you. I would also love to hear any other helpful tips you may have for letting go and moving on.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Love and Light,