How to let go, move on and start living
“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” Deepak Chopra
I wonder what it would be if life came with an instruction manual? Perhaps a saviour from so many hurtful emotions and experiences.
Life is forever changing. And the process of acceptance; “letting go” and surrender, a part and parcel of it.
But what happens when you are asked to let go of something which is deeply emotionally connected to you? For example,
- Past hurtful relationships
- Friends who have turned on you
- Self-doubt and second guessing
- Attachment to results
Or if it’s something that you think is part of your heart, soul or identity? For example,
- A marital relationship
- A career or profession
- Being kind to others at the risk of your own happiness
It seems impossible, right?
Oddly enough, people can get accustomed to their past hurt and can feel more secure holding onto them then letting go.
I myself am guilty of this. For example, holding on to past friendships that turned toxic. Naively, I kept believing that they would change.
Holding onto the past prevents you from moving forward. It hinders your ability to rise in the face of hurt, failure and disappointment.
As we grow up we often tend to think of how our lives should be, and create beliefs about universal truths. For example,
- I should be thinner
- I should be the perfect partner
- I should be spiritual
It’s harder to let go when the thoughts are fixated to the should be(s) which focuses one’s attention to the inadequecy rather than abundance.
I have learned to recognize my should-be thinking and shifted my thoughts toward appreciation of what I have. It has enabled me to come to a place of gratitude.
Action steps to Let Go and Let Life In
Here are some action steps of what to stop and what to start in order to let go of the past and start to live life fully:
Stop limiting your happiness in terms of if..and.. then
If I meet my soul mate, get that much awaited promotion in job, lose 15 pounds, move to my dream city, only then I will be happy. Those achievements may change certain qualities about your life but cannot alone be the source of happiness.
If you find yourself doing the same, bring your focus back to present. Appreciate the beautiful things already there in your world.
Stop blaming others for your lack of happiness
Happiness is an inside job. In reality no one can make you happy. A friend of mine, struggled for a long time blaming her parents or circumstances for her troubled marriage. She believed it was never her fault for what she had suffered.
Recently she candidly shared with me, “Life is not about blaming others but about taking self responsibility. Now that I recognise this, I am able to let go of my old “victim” story and empower myself to steer my own destiny.”
Stop believing that certain wounds would never heal
Remember when that boy broke your heart when you were 15. It seemed like it’s the end of your world. But you moved on and learned so much about love, life and your strength to face things.
Sadly, we experience other events which are bigger than this. The pain can become insurmountable and leaves a void inside of us.
My friend continued to share how she held onto the belief that her wounds would never heal, “Being abandoned by my father left a deep lasting wound in my personality. The wound was so deep, I was not sure if it would ever heal. When I gave up my doubt and felt certainty that this wound would heal, it started to repair itself.”
Start letting go of what is firmly in the past
Stalking your ex on social media and seeing them happy without you might make you jealous. But cursing them and dwelling in the heartbreak, gulping on that bottle of wine all night will never help.
Forgive yourself and others for any hurt and let the past remain in the past. In the words of Tony Robbins, “The past does not equal the future.” What he means by this, is that our hurting past does not have to determine our future.
Start loving yourself – the good, the ugly and the fun
Has anyone ever told you, “You need to love yourself!” and it left you wondering, but, “How can I love myself?”, “What does that mean?”.
While I have published articles on the subject of self-love, it is still a work in progress for me. This is what I have learnt:
1. To accept myself whole-heartedly, even the parts that I have judged harshly for not being patient or kind enough
2. Something I have not always been good at – to prioritise my self care and well-being, above all else
3. To love myself, even in the face of stress and adversity
Start working through each past memory to move on and make peace
I love the change memory process, taught during Breakthrough Coaching with NLP, where you:
1. Place the past disturbing memory on an imaginary movie screen and let it go blank
2. Allow the past you to come and sit next to you in an imagined safe place and make then feel at ease.
3. Then brainstorm together with the past you positive qualities or resourceful states that would have helped in the old situations. For example: Self Love, Trust, Hope, Saying No, Asking for help.
3. Breathe in these positive resources and then imagine going back onto that past movie and notice how things are different.
4. Test how you feel about the past memory and then step into the future and notice how your life is different.
What you will find is that the past memory will no longer have the same negative charge that it used to have.
So what will you start and stop to let go of the past and start living?
Being stuck in the past and worrying about the future is no way to live.
Instead, come to the present. This present moment. And just be there.
If you find your thoughts wandering. Notice and accept them.
Say out loud, “I accept you. You are a thought. You are not who I am. You are a thought. I accept you.” and then come back to being in the present.
Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
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