7 Ways to Practice Letting Go

Oh- “Letting Go.” Hello old friend.  This is such a theme for me! For many of us, perhaps we have heard that “we need to let it go” over and over again and many of us are left with the question of “well, how the hell do I do that?” The over- arching answer is there is no step-by-step process to letting things go. A lot of it is mindset and intention. Letting go can show up in so many different aspects.  Are you letting go of anger, resentment, shame?  Are you letting go of a person or a relationship? Are you letting go of an addiction or a bad habit?  Are you letting go of a past identity of who you once were, but who you no longer are?  Are you letting go of trying to control things that are simply not in your control (like other people’s judgments or feelings)?  Letting go can be such an elusive practice.  It is a lesson that time and time again is so powerful, hard, but powerful.  Here are some ideas for how to practice this process:

1) Sit with it. Feel it, experience it. What is it that you’re hanging on to and instead of pushing it away, invite it in. Try agreeing with it even. This sounds counter intuitive, but by agreeing with whatever it is you are feeling, you may find that it helps to not be in a fight with ourselves. If we are trying to push our anger, shame, grief, resentment, shitty exes away, then they will just continue to flare up in our system. If you are against it, it will fight back. If you join along side it and work with it, now you’re getting somewhere. It’s funny when we actually, just invite in the sensations and breathe instead of fight them, they tend to spread out and dissipate on their own.

2) Act as your own best friend.  Isn’t it easier to see the shit that other people should let go of?  We say to ourselves, “If that person only stopped drinking/ quit dating that idiot/gave up being irritable/stopped being a martyr/let go of the anger, they would be so much happier.” But when it is our own stuff, it’s harder to see.  We all talk to ourselves and when we talk to ourselves in the third person, we tend to be kinder and have a better perspective.  It helps to get some distance from the parts of ourselves that are hanging on to whatever it is that isn’t serving us anymore and hopefully, become our own cheerleading team, rather than our own worst critic or bully.
3) Invite in what you want. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, try focusing on what you do want. If you are letting go of resentment, invite in contentment. If you are letting go of anger, invite in peace, if you are letting go of control, invite in empowerment or surrender. If you are letting go of a person or relationship, invite self-love and a commitment to reconnecting with who you are. Letting go of anxiety? invite in peace.  Letting go of an addiction? invite in health and balance.  Focusing on what you want to bring in, rather than what you do not want can also bring a shift towards abundance rather than having the mind believing it is being deprived of something.    

4) Metaphors are your friend. This could be anything from writing everything that you want to relinquish on a piece of paper and burning it, throwing rocks into a lake, carrying a rock representing everything you want to let go of up to a mountain or writing a grief letter.  Sometimes, I have clients create a “shit box” and   you can use that to put everything that still feels toxic in there.  If you’re not ready to let it go yet, you can at least take a break from it so that you can replenish your sources to come back and carry it more effectively. 

5) Your Body is a powerful tool. There is nothing more powerful than taking all of the shit that we need to let go of and using our body to physically release it.  You can tense up all your muscles and then release them, make like Taylor Swift (Or Florence and the Machine if you prefer) and SHAKE IT OFF- literally shake that shit off- it feels great, go to yoga, go to kickboxing, run, walk, dance. Use your breath! Inhaling what you want and exhaling what you do not.  Your body is a great tool to help you let go.  Especially when you are adding intention to your physical practice, it can really lighten your load. Here is a possible mantra to add if you are wanting to let go of something: “I consciously release anything that no longer serves me.”

6) No more obligation “yeses.” Say yes only to things that are not going to build resentment. This is more of a preventative measure. If you are feeling obligated to do something, there are three options: say no to it, say yes to it freely and with love-without attachment to the outcome or without holding onto resentment or say yes and harbor resentment. The last option will inevitably build resentment that you have to let go of later so the first two options are way better;)

7) Remember you’re not alone.  Even if you feel like you have a weak support system, we are all connected to one another.  Even from a secular perspective, we are connected.  If you have a spiritual resource or practice, even if it is connecting with nature, bring that in.  One of my favorite practices is to think of all of the people that may be struggling with the same thing I am.  Perhaps thinking of all the mamas out there that are struggling with thinking they are bad mamas.  I send them compassion and let them know I am on their team and then invite their love and support in for myself.  Remembering that we’re not alone in our struggle to let things go also helps to lighten the load.  

Be well my bad ass peeps.

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