Life is the best teacher, a friend, a soul mate. She teaches you what none others can teach and it is in living life through the challenges she throws at us is what makes life.
There are things in life you can’t hold on for ever and life isn’t for ever either. Life from the day you are born, moment by moment, tells you to let go. Nothing lasts forever, you are at this stage in your life because you have let go of your childhood, your youth, some of your age-old habits and idiosyncrasies. Through the years of your life to date, you may have different ways of doing things, you may have changed your job, your career or possibly even some of your relationships that were not working for you.
In each of the transitions in life be it natural, by accident or by choice, you have been able to move forward because you have let go of something. Yet, there are modes in your lives where you continue to grip on some things that you expect to last forever. You refuse to Let Go.
This could apply to your relationships, projects that you have put your heart and soul and yet don’t see the desired results, business venture that you are passionate about but ROI tells you otherwise, your behavior at work or socially, and may be aspects of your overall being.
What is the emotion you undergo when you refuse to let go?
- Fear of the unknown
- perspective of failure in your mind
- denial to see the benefits
- love the perceived sense of control
Destiny isn’t always good and be it in some paths chosen in relationships or with respect to our professional life, you have to let go and consider the people and the opportunities in those paths as lessons learnt for better things in future. You may say easier said than done.
♠Letting Go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.♠
I’ve found that the more I cling to outcomes and things, the more I create an anchor that drains my energy and in turn I discourage myself.
So how can you help yourself Let Go?
1. Internal conversations – each of us have a conversation that we have with ourselves. This could be self talk or negative talk. Your thoughts control your feelings and these feelings translates into your internal conversations. Your brain drives your behavior from your internal conversations.
♣What are you telling yourself when you hold back from letting go ?
2. Labeling Emotion – each time you struggle with the idea of letting go, stop to reflect. Do you understand your emotions and beliefs? Why do you think that way? Try to label the emotion (could be fear, anxiety, uncertainty, failure) associated with the struggle of letting go – this helps to calm your brain and focus on action forward.
♣Do you tend to dwell on what used to be that is distracting you from taking the necessary action to move you forward?
♣Do you tend to complain and take no action to see what can be done differently to achieve desired outcomes?
Our brains are geared to rewards and thus expecting desired outcomes from our efforts is but natural. However, consuming yourself with the negative outcome only results in frustration and negative emotions. Instead, when something doesn’t go as per your expectations, train your mind to view this circumstance as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. Every experience teaches you something and it a matter of consciously looking at it from a perspective that helps you to move forward.
♣Learning to understand your emotions, reflection on your actions and the experience sets the path for refocusing your energy and “letting go” less painful.
3. Reframe – Do you reflect and once you reflect do you reframe the situation by finding out what’s really going on?
Our brains are constantly on the lookout to move towards what it perceives as a reward and away from what it perceives as a threat. And is five times more likely to perceive something unknown as a threat than a reward. This possibly explains many disquieting parts of our life. Certainty concerns being in the know. Being able to predict gives us that feeling of control and certainty. Without prediction our brain needs to use a lot more energy intensive PFC. In today’s fast paced global world, it is becoming more difficult to anticipate what’s next. To fuel this uncertainty is our own beliefs and biases as to how we perceive a situation. All this makes letting go more difficult.
♣Reframing a situation helps you to manage your beliefs, your perception and your feelings. It helps you to look at situations from a different context and not narrow yourself to your own bias.♣
4. Criticism – do you criticize yourself and everyone else, every time something doesn’t go as per your plan. Does this stop you from letting go of unfair expectations of yourself and others ? Life is a roller coaster and not perfect. Letting go eases your agony that you put yourself through by engaging in “blame game” and “know it all”. When you catch yourself thinking and behaving in a manner that signifies that you know everything and have little tolerance to any new ideas or methods, it is time to stop and reflect.
♣How flexible are you to expand your mind and go out of your comfort zone?
5. Control Freak – one of the common hurdles to letting go. Each of us are unique and have our contribution to make. We can control out behavior, our choices but how others act or behave is outside our control. Positive change occurs when you decide to let go of control over everything in your life and work.
Imagine you are on your way to an appointment at 3 pm. You leave well ahead of time. However you get caught in a nasty traffic jam. You try to change lanes, honk, curse, get agitated and yet nothing changes. Each time you succeed at changing lanes, your frustration increases because you realize that the new lane is no better. There are many situations similar to this which are beyond your control in your day-to-day life. You cannot have everything you want despite your efforts to make it a success. Let go or else you get caught in a negative vicious cycle.
6. Negativity – negativity breeds negativity and saps your energy. Your surroundings in terms of the people you are with matters to your overall being. There are some people in this world who are full of negative energy and drain you. There are others who provide soul food and are full of positivity and energy. Be with people who support you, challenge you but help you grow. Let go of relationships that jeopardize your being and don’t accept you for what you are.
♣What would you experience if you surround yourself with people who believe in you and help you get better in what you do?
♣What would it be like if you spend more time with people who have positive vibes and make you feel valued?
Letting go is difficult when we allow ourselves to be overly attached to outcomes, when we have given our heart and soul to some relationships. My own journey of having to let go of things and relationships which weren’t working for me hasn’t been easy. What has helped me in the journey of life is to reflect, reframe and think about the way forward and believe in myself. Gearing my brain towards the rewards associated with the new path helps ease the pain that I associate with letting go.
I’ve learnt and am still learning to be willing to open up to possibility, learn new ways, grow in effectiveness by LETTING GO.
→If you “Let Go,” it does not mean you are giving up but you make a choice to take a different path to your ultimate vision.←
How do you Let Go?