It’s one thing to know why we won’t let go, and how to recognize the signs, but it’s another thing to put the knowledge into practice. When we form attachments to things, people, even emotions we end up holding onto them because they are familiar, then we limit our ability to experience happiness.
Take for instance, my mother in law. She is one of those people (I’m sure we all know one) who no matter how bad your day is going, hers is worse. If you have the flu – she has pneumonia, if you get a flat tire – she has two. She finds safety in being miserable, you would think that would be counter-productive to being happy, but she is truly comfortable being unhappy.
It’s not easy to let go of the attachments we make throughout our lives, but it’s important to start simple, and be active in our own letting go.
Don’t Allow Others to Dictate Your Happiness
Be your own best friend. I have to chuckle when I wrote that, it reminded me of “Space Balls” the Mel Brooks movie. There is a part where Barf explains what he is, “I’m a mog, half man, half dog … I’m my own best friend.” Really it’s something we should all strive for, not being a half dog but being our own best friend. When we allow others to decide our self worth they can take it away. Decide for yourself that you are worth happiness, then no one can take it away.
Enjoy your time alone. You don’t always need to be with someone every second of the day. Find your own interests, something that doesn’t require another person and can be something you enjoy and can enjoy on your own. Do it for yourself and no one else.
Loosen your grip. Relationships can be tricky, and keeping them balanced can be even harder. Holding onto someone too tightly can be suffocating to both parties. It’s important to realize that you are still you, you’re not part of a whole, you’re one of you.
You can never have too many friends. Keep your lines of communication open and allow others into your circle. There is no rule that says you need one or two good friends and that’s it. Why limit yourself to a couple life lines?
Believe in your own strength. How many times did you think ‘I’ll die without him/her?’ It’s not true. You won’t. These thoughts will do nothing but bring you down. If you tie all of your happiness to one person when and if that relationship changes you will be very unhappy. When you realize just how strong you really are you will be able to face any situation.
Feelings, whoa whoa Feelings
Pain is going to happen. Once we accept that it will be a lot easier to get through it. Cry, scream, let it out in whatever way you need to but make sure you let it all out. Then, allow yourself to heal.
Let people know. Voice your opinions and feelings when they bubble to the surface, even if it’s just to yourself. Work through it and deal with the issues while they are still fresh.
Take notes. Write in a journal, or write a letter and burn it. Get those feelings out there.
Decide to be happy. It’s a choice that you need to make, even if you think you want to be mad right now in reality what you really want is to be at peace and happy in your life. Make that choice.
The Past is the Past
Accept the unchangeable. The past is over, no matter how much we go over past events in our minds it will not change what happened. The only thing that can be done now is to release the regret and pain, and only you can do that for yourself.
Don’t fear the future because of the past. A lot of times we worry we’ll never be as happy as we once were. Try taking stock of your life and counting all the things you have now that you love and make you happy. You just may find that when you count your blessings you’re more willing to let the past go.
Open yourself to change. Sometimes we don’t welcome a new relationship or opportunity into our lives because the past has already defined for us what will happen. We can’t accept that new change because in our minds we already know how it will end. For example, applying for a job to a company you really want to join. You’ve applied in the past and didn’t get an interview so you don’t apply again when the same positions open up because in the past you didn’t get it and are comfortable in thinking you won’t get it now. When you open yourself up to the possibility of change happening in your life you can re-write your own history – in a manner of speaking.
Live in the now, now. Do something for other people, take a class, join a group. Do whatever you need to do to fill your days. This doesn’t need to be expensive, take a walk or volunteer your time. Live while you have the time now and you’ll forget all about the what if’s of the past.
Learn your lesson. Take some time and sit down to actually think about the past. You’re dwelling on it anyway so why not take the moment to really delve into it. Learn what you can from it even incident can be a lesson if you just look at it in the right way. Once you have taken what you can from the experience do whatever you can to let it go. Write down the lesson, or apply it to today whatever it takes for you to feel confident that the mistake will not be repeated.
Leave Attachments Out of It
Except the moment for what it is now. Don’t think about what will become of it, or try to force it into the path. This moment right now will not last forever, let it be what it is, then move on. And don’t forget to enjoy the now that you have!
Allow what you have to be enough. Appreciate what you have without worrying about what will come. Tomorrow may be the same as today but things get broken, people die, relationships end – deal with those events when they happen and live in the now.
Let go of control. You can’t make someone stay with you, or change the past. Accept it for what it is and don’t hold on so tight or try to change it. Control what you can, release everything else.
Defining yourself by yourself. What you have is not who you are. Who you are with, the car you drive, your bank account numbers. None of that is who you really are. We are constantly growing and changing, attaching your self worth and happiness to things and people only allows you to lose that happiness if it’s taken away from you. Take some time to really figure out who you are without the titles and the objects.
Let Go of Control
Put down the Tarot cards. You don’t need to know every outcome. The world is full of uncertainty. We don’t leave the house and plan to have a car accident, sometimes it just happens. Change is the only constant in this world. When you need to know everything you spend too much time focusing on the what could be’s and less time on today.
Leave it alone. Sometimes you can’t control everything, just let things be. I’m not saying to stop trying to make tomorrow a better day, but sometimes you need to just let the chips fall where they may. Accept what is going on now, and don’t worry about whether or not something is wrong with you or your life because of the current situation.
Your ducks will never be in a row. How many of us wait for that promotion or that dream man/woman to walk into our lives and make everything wonderful? There will never be that magic moment when everything comes up perfect for you or your life, so why wait for it?
Do it now. Figure out your purpose and do it now. Find what makes you happy and fill your spare time with it. Hang out with your dog in the park, sketch on your back porch or join a community theatre.
I hope these last few posts will help those who are struggling to let go of something in their life. Like most things even letting go takes practice, it’s easy to say what needs to be done and much harder to actually do it.