“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” – Herman Hesse
Holding on is a critical way in which we stop ourselves from reaching our goals especially when we are holding on to someone that we certainly need to let go. For instance, clinging to a friend who has become toxic, holding on to memories from a relationship. So, why do we have so much trouble letting go and moving on? We like to hold on to things, situations and especially people because in a way, it is supposedly fulfilling. There is some comfort in familiarity and justification, even when it is deeply rooted in a negative experience. However, not knowing how to let go harms you: it prevents you from achieving your true potential.
Letting go and then moving on
Letting go is a process, a learning and an experience. You will not learn how to do it overnight, especially if you have spent most of your life holding on to things you once loved even if, deep down, you knew they were not right for you! Focusing on moving forward and creating a new story for yourself will help you deal with an inevitable pain that comes say after a breakup. It will help you eliminate the blame, develop the empowering beliefs to live by and then move on with an absolute open heart. The power of letting go involves solid controlling the very meaning you do attach to all the events in your life. If you cannot get out of the story you have constructed for yourself, then you possibly cannot move on to bigger and brighter things.
So, how can we actually learn to let go? Modern behavioural science suggests that when we learn to intervene in our emotional recollections, we can impede the familiar flow of thoughts by asking ourselves to consider the alternative scenarios. We can ask ourselves ‘What if….’ and think about different outcomes.
- ‘What if I decide to stay calm and simply do not get upset?’
- ‘What if it was not personal? What if they did not mean to hurt me?’
- ‘What if I was the real cause of the problem?’
These rational and pragmatic challenges to the old, emotional script engage the logical part of the brain and turn down the emotional energy, reducing stress, anger, anxiety and fear. It is a highly powerful way to introduce a sense of control over how you are feeling. You could even ask yourself whether this can be a perfect moment to simply let go of the past and consign towards the tired, old experience into the waste bin!
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” – Tao Te Ching
Whatever method you do choose, the moment you experience the freedom of releasing the past you will open up fresh and exciting new possibilities for the future. It might be one of the most demanding challenges we can set for ourselves, but the benefits are so profound and far reaching that they do offer the kind of personal empowerment that can totally transform your life at all possible levels! Do make a clear commitment to release yourself from the past and take a good note of the extraordinary changes that can show up in your life.
“You can only lose what you cling to.” – Buddhaa
When we let go, we do create heathy space. Letting go is a liberating act that opens us to receive and let us come inside ourselves. We do open up to the present, noticing beauty and miracles, smelling the roses, expressing gratitude and experiencing the joy all around us. Letting go does lead to clarity, and clarity leads us to new insight. We then clear a new pathway for little shafts of new light to flow in that can lead to larger breakthroughs and open floodgates of growth plus discovery!
Please understand that letting go is not the same as giving up. Please note that we do not give up on anyone, including ourselves. So, way of grasping, clinging, or when holding on to a tightly forced, “connection” there is no real connection after all. We can learn to love differently. We can still love deeply, without attachment, and without a complete need for understanding! It becomes completely possible only when we learn to let go and accept ourselves first! That is by way of what we are in the present moment not what we were in the past and not what we forcibly aim to be in the future.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of a far greater power than defending or hanging on.” – Eckhart Tolle.
Six tips to letting go and moving on
Please note: that knowing you need to let go and then actually letting go are two very different things. These tips will help you release yourself when it is time to move on.
Tip #1: Talk to someone you trust
Holding your feelings inside only keeps you stuck and can eventually turn into anxiety or even develops into depression. Please talk to a supportive friend, a family member or a therapist about how you feel and let them be there for you in your time of need.
Tip #2: Identify self-limiting beliefs
If thoughts such as “I cannot be alone” or “I will never find someone else who loves me” do run through your mind, do understand that they are definitely limiting beliefs that will prevent you from truly letting go! Replace them with empowering beliefs like, “I am open to what the universe has in store for me” and “I love myself and deserve the best.” This will definitely help you let go without any fear.
Tip #3: Stay away from social media
It is interesting to note that learning how to let go of someone you love becomes much more difficult when you are constantly reminded of them. Though social media is a way to stay in touch with friends and family, it is the opposite of what you need when you are going through say a breakup. Staying away from social media while you heal not only prevents you from seeing pictures and posts from your ex, but it will also happen to keep you from viewing other seemingly happy couples, which can make you feel quite worse about your current situation.
Tip #4: Take good care of yourself
The process of letting go and moving on from a relationship can be stressful, retrained and lonely. It is never a good time to ignore your needs. When you do practice self-care and take the time to fall in love with yourself, you will heal more and perhaps be healthier than when you were before the relationship even started! Do indulge in massages or other relaxing activities, also engage in hobbies that make you happy and focus on finding fulfilment in everything you do on your own!
TIP #5: Do Keep Busy
Staying in bed all day and then avoiding friends and loved ones makes letting go and moving on that much more difficult. Please start your day with an empowering morning ritual that includes activities like meditation, yoga or journaling, so do get up and be involved. Do join groups, volunteer for a new project at work or even meet a friend for lunch or drinks. Staying busy will help take your mind off the breakup and allow your wounds to start healing progressively.
TIP #6: Give Yourself Enough Time
Even if you know how to completely let go of someone you love and follow all the steps, do not expect to feel totally better immediately. Grieving is a pretty normal process and you need to allow yourself the necessary amount of time to properly feel your emotions. Treat yourself with compassion and do not allow anyone to guilt you into “just getting over it.”
Though you do not want to isolate and seclude yourself, take some extra time away from social events if you feel you need it and never agree to a date or set-up until you feel you are really ready. Those who do not give themselves enough time often end up in rebound relationships that are harmful or that prolong the healing process even further!
“If you want to fly in the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go the past that drags you down.” – Amit Ray
If you consider where you spend most of your time, it is evidently clear that we spend very little time in the present moment. The popular discussions about living in the ‘Now’ have reminded us that we are constantly drawn to our memories of what has happened to us and that these emotionally-tinted recollections become our concrete template for the future. We do know that our memories are not as reliable as we would like to believe and this is particularly relevant in relation to our emotional experiences. Our memories then shift, mutate and cast the outcomes in a new light in order to emphasise the way we prefer to retell our version of the past! Please do note that the past is not always a reliable place to search for the truth.
“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra
Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practicing art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realized that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less traveled but a journey that I look forward to every day.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.
Image courtesy of Anastasia Pavlova.