“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” ~Ajahn Chah
One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us.
We get stuck in the past. We tend to relive past mistakes over and over again in our head instead of completing them and letting them go. This causes us to experience feelings of shame, frustration and guilt and we allow those emotions to shape our actions in the present. We hold on to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of obsessing somehow gives us power over our fears. It is actually the opposite. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.
There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful. Here are some ways to get started:
How To Let Go Of Upsets Within Your Life
1. Learn a new skill. Instead of dwelling on the skills you never mastered.
2. Become complete with the situation. Either accept there is nothing you can do about the circumstance and let it go or recognize that there is and do it. Maybe an apology and asking for forgiveness is due. You’d be surprised how powerful something as simple as being responsible and cleaning up life’s messes can be.
3. Cry it out. According to Dr. William Frey II, PH.D. biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress.
4. Channel your discontent into an immediate positive action. Make some calls about new job opportunities, or walk to the community center to volunteer.
5. Use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment. A great exercise is the “Being Present” exercise I give to my clients. Try this while showering, driving, or doing the dishes. Simply take in all that you are perceiving without judgments, opinions, stories. Notice something, observe it fully and then move on to something else. Great stress buster and it also allows you to be related to reality powerfully and make better choices in life.
6. Make a list of your accomplishments, even the small ones, and add to it daily. You’ll have to let go of a little discontentment to make space for this self-satisfaction. Post this somewhere where you will see it often. Bathroom mirror. Front door to your bedroom or home and take it in before you leave.
7. Visualize a box in your head labeled “Expectations.” Whenever you start dwelling on how things should be or should have been, mentally shelve the thoughts in this box.
8. Engage in a physical activity. Exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, chemicals that improve your state of mind.
9. Focus all your energy on something you can control. Instead of dwelling on things you can’t, make a difference in someone else’s world. Clean up clutter in the home. Wash the car inside and out. Make fun plans just for yourself or with a friend.
10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet, like blogging or painting. Add this to your to-do list and cross it off when you’re done. This will be a visual reminder that you have actively chosen to release these feelings.
Let go of Anger and Bitterness
11. Feel it fully. If you stifle your feelings, they may leak out and affect everyone around you—not just the person who inspired your anger. Before you can let go of any emotion, you have to feel it fully and express it safely.
12. Give yourself a rant window. Let yourself vent for a day before confronting the person who troubled you. This may diffuse the hostility and give you time to plan a rational confrontation.
13. Remind yourself that anger hurts you more than the person who upset you. Visualize it melting away as an act of kindness to yourself.
14. If possible, express your anger to the person who offended you. Communicating how you feel is a powerful solution for moving on if done responsibly. Express yourself intelligently with calm, thoughtful and clear articulate words. Write it out first and practice. Give the other person an opportunity to apologize. Refrain from just spewing all over someone. This only causes them to be defensive as they will feel attacked and you will feel like a mess coming out of an emotional hurricane. Keep in mind that you can’t control how the other responds; you can only control how clearly and kindly you express yourself.
15. Take responsibility. Many times when you are upset, you focus on what someone else did that was wrong, which essentially gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.
16. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. We all make mistakes, and odds are you could have easily slipped up just like your husband, father, or friend did. Compassion dissolves anger.
17. Remind yourself these are your only three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it or accept it. These acts create happiness; holding onto bitterness never does.
Let Go Of Past Relationships
18. Identify what the experience taught you to help develop a sense of closure.
19. Remember both the good and the bad. Even if it appears this way now, the past was not perfect. Acknowledging this may minimize your sense of loss. As Laura Oliver says, “It’s easier to let go of a human than a hero.”
20. Un-romanticize the way you view love. Of course you’ll feel devastated if you believe you lost your soul mate. If you think you can find a love that amazing or better again, it will be easier to move on.
21. Visualize an empowered single you—the person you were before meeting your last love. That person was pretty awesome, and now you have the chance to be him or her again.
22. Create a space that reflects your present reality. Take down his pictures; delete her emails from your saved folder.
23. Reward yourself for small acts of acceptance. Get a facial after you delete his number from your phone, or head out with friends after putting all her things in a box.
24. Hang this statement somewhere you can see it. “Loving myself means letting go.”
25. Replace your emotional thoughts with facts. When you think, “I’ll never feel loved again!” don’t resist that feeling. Instead, move on to another thought, like “Hey, I learned a new song for karaoke tonight.”
These 25 steps will allow you to take back and experience your personal freedom and power again putting you on the path you desire. The outcomes that follow is the stuff dreams are made of!