I have always wondered how some people just let go of things. When I was younger, whenever things didn’t go the way I wanted them to and I was upset, someone would invariably say to me, ‘just let it go’.
How could I let it go, I was sad or angry or disappointed…or all three. Letting go didn’t seem like it would or could happen easily!
I know that there must be people in the world who can just ‘let things go’, but I am not one of them….I hold on and find it difficult to prize my fingers from what ever I am holding onto.
It is painful when things don’t go the way I had planned….it is sad and disappointing.
I want things to be different to the way they are!
Over the years I have learned how to let go, but for me it is a process that can be applied any time I need to let go of something that no longer serves me. No matter how big or small the process is the same.
So, how do I go about letting go?
The very first thing is that I need to be ready to let go, by that, I mean I have to want to let go, I have to be tired of how I am feeling and I need to want to be in a better place emotionally with it.
Then I need to spend some time really getting in touch with how I am feeling about what is going on inside me in relation to not getting what I want. It is a time when I allow myself to wallow in self pity, and get to know myself a little better. How attached was I to the outcome? How much of myself had I invested in it? Who was I letting down? What had I lost by not getting it? What were the feelings involved (shame, guilt, sadness, fear – these are all very powerful emotions)?
Then, the next part of the process is validating myself and how I feel about it.
This is a critical part of the process because it acknowledges you as a person who has feelings and allows you to be acceptable no matter what happened. I find that most people are reluctant to do this step….they think it is like giving into the negative. Well, in my experience, it has exactly the opposite effect. Once I am validated I can relax and let go a little. Once I know someone understands me I can accept the reality of the situation.
It is only after validating my feelings about it that I can do the next step of the process and that is telling myself the truth.
To tell myself the truth involves being in the here and now. It involves saying exactly how it is without the ‘I wish it was this way’, ‘why isn’t it that way’. It is admitting things are different to the way I wanted them to be. We are told that the Truth will set us free, and from my experience it is true, when I tell myself the truth I am free to make the choices I need to, to move on.
A great example in my own life of this process is My Husband and Time
I married a wonderful man called Harry; he is the love of my life. He was kind and gentle, strong and capable but he wasn’t dependable when it came to time. In fact, if we were to be invited anywhere we would always be late….he wouldn’t start getting ready to go until the time we were to be there. It was the bane of my life. I always liked to be on time. I hated being late. As you can imagine this caused a bit of friction in our relationship. I was always reminding him to get ready and he hated it.
It got to the point that friends would tell us that their functions were an hour earlier than they were so we would get there on time – I found this very embarrassing.
One day I decided it was time to let it go….I was tired of always being angry and disappointed with Harry. I wanted to feel better!
I then spent some time writing down how I felt, how I really felt – about him when he was late all the time, when I was late because of him, when he let me down, when he let our children down. All of those negative feelings and thoughts I got out of myself and onto paper. I wanted him to be on time to take care of me. I wanted him to be the perfect husband. I wanted him to put me first. I wanted an awful lot from him.
It was in the writing down of all these things that I realized the Truth. Harry was never going to meet my needs! In fact, it was not his job. He was allowed to be late. His lateness had nothing to do with me. He couldn’t be relied on to be on time.
In writing these Truths down I realized that I was the one with the problem. I was expecting Harry to be something he could not possibly be. I wanted someone who had no idea about being on time to suddenly be on time….just because I wanted him to be! How unloving is that! I really got it….how out of my mind must I be.
In that moment I really got it and I was able to let it go…..amazing!
‘Harry is always late’ I wrote. ‘Harry can’t be relied on to be on time’. ‘Harry doesn’t think about time, he doesn’t care about being late’. It was like I was seeing the world for the first time. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and I began thinking about how I would take care of myself and my children around this wonderful man who had no idea that time was important. Time was important to me, not him, and I needed to take care of myself.
My new choices were easy from that moment on. I needed to make arrangements for myself to get to events on time. I could get a cab if he was late home and we needed to be somewhere. I would organise someone else to pick the children up if they needed to be picked up by a certain time.
The beautiful thing is that in coming to this realisation it has taken the pressure off him. He doesn’t have to feel like he is letting me down anymore, because I don’t rant and rave about it. He is allowed to just be himself.
The miracle that happened though, in the letting go of this is that Harry is never late anymore. In letting it go and not needing it anymore I got what I wanted! How amazing is that!