In our lifetime, there is always something that we need to let go of whether it’s guilt, regret, expectations, bad habits or toxic relationships.
Since the New Year is approaching, I wrote a list of things to let go of, and for me that was my need for everything in my life to be perfect. I tend to be a perfectionist and when something goes wrong, I have a hard time letting it go. I will obsess over it until it consumes me.
Perhaps you feel the same way.
This certainly isn’t a healthy mindset to be in as it induces stress and anxiety. I’ve been actively working on letting go of every toxic thing that has a hold over my life so I can make room for positivity and growth.
I think it’s important to make “letting go” a regular ritual because it helps us evolve into better people, leaving behind what no longer serves us and opening up space for new things to come. It certainly isn’t easy, but you will feel so much better once you finally start letting go of what’s holding you back.
How To Let Go Of The Past & Move On
Realize what you need to let go of
Ask yourself, “Where is the venom in my life?” “What is making me feel stuck or negative” Write down everything that comes to mind whether it makes sense or not because later on you can organize your thoughts from there. This could be anything from mindsets to feelings or memories. What you write down will give you a good indication of the areas in your life that you need to work on.
Find a comfortable, quiet place to go, dig deep inside and let your feelings flow into your writing. Observe your life as though you are on the outside looking in. Evaluate who or what makes you feel good and what makes you consistently feel weak, negative or bad. Give yourself the same advice that you’d give a friend if they were in your situation. What would you tell him/her?
Saying your goodbyes
One of the hardest parts of this whole process is saying goodbye, but it’s the most crucial. I don’t let people or things into my life easily and because of that I find sentimental value in what I do have. I attach myself to relationships, objects and even habits, good or bad, because they symbolize something for me.
The only thing that really helps me let go is to thank whatever I need to let go of for the role it had in my life and for what it taught me. If it helps, you could write your goodbye down or say it out loud, whatever works best for you. By doing so, you are accepting the situation for what it is and you are taking control of your life.
Forgive and be kind to yourself
This is the hardest part of the whole process, yet the most freeing. Forgive whatever it is that you are trying to let go of. By doing so, letting go becomes so much easier. I promise you will feel a release of energy, like a burden lifting off your shoulders, when you free the emotional baggage that’s weighing you down.
For a long time I was so mad at myself because I held onto the memories of a friend that really badly hurt me.
In summary, I had a friend who I grew up with (we were friends for 13 years) and we would hang out every single day. She was like a sister to me as I knew her since second grade. However, on one random Spring day, right before graduating high school, she told me that she never really cared about me, that she only hung out with me to be nice and that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. Of course, I was completely devastated. She was the only real friend I had and left at a time I needed her most.
After 3 years, I thought that I completely got over her, but never fully dealt with the problem, resulting in pentup anger and frustration. It wasn’t until I wrote a letter to her that I truly dealt with my emotions and was able to completely forgive her. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy at all, but once I faced my feelings head on, I was able to gain the closure I needed.
If you are having a hard time finding closure, remember to not only forgive the other person, but also forgive yourself for holding onto the emotions for so long. Of course, forgiving someone else doesn’t mean that you are okay with what they did, in fact it doesn’t have much to do with them at all. Forgiveness is a way for us to give ourselves permission to move forward, or we risk getting stuck in the past, unable to grow and change.
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and expecting the other person to die.”
– Marianne Williamson
Cut All Ties
Once you find out what you need to let go of in your life and you say goodbye to it, the last step is to cut all ties. This is where we need to take action and fully shed the layers of skin. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable, but I promise you will feel so much better. If it’s a past relationship that’s holding you back, then get rid of the memorabilia (photos, items, etc.) or if it’s a bad habit then get rid of the triggers – do whatever you have to do that’s going to ultimately release that grip.
Know that it’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable or sad while you go through those growing pains of letting things go in your life. If you feel the need to run back to whatever it is you had that you need to let go of, remind yourself of exactly why this thing wasn’t good for you, why you need to let go of it and what person you’ll become once you do.
Accept The New You
Once you finally transform and evolve, then you are going to feel so light-weight and free. Afterwards, you may even feel shock because now you have an open space that used to be occupied by negativity. Be kind to yourself as you are treading into this new chapter in your life.
During this stage, it’s the best time for self-care and to explore the world around you, test the waters — try new things whether they work out or not. After all, the hard part is over and the fun has just begun.