Do you have a hard time letting go of past hurts? Do you play conversations over and over in your head of things that happened? Or maybe you create stories in your mind that are negative and don't feel good? These things are all sign that you need to let go. Today, we're talking about how to let go. Perhaps you know that you have a hard time letting go of things, or maybe you're concerned for a loved one because they just can't let go.
One way to know that you are surrounded by someone who's having a hard time letting go is that they keep telling the same stories over and over again. I'm not talking about happy, reminiscing stories from their past, but things that affected them and they haven't been able to move on from those events.
Perhaps you feel like you have some things in your life that just keep coming into your awareness, or you keep encountering them, and you just need to let them go.
I've got you covered! Learn some specific things you can do to help yourself let go.
Letting go is a form of healing
There are two things to think about when we consider how to let go.
If particular feelings, experiences or memories continue to come back up into your memory, repetitively, it can mean one of two things.
First, it might mean that you need to let go.
Second, it might mean that you need more healing around the event and the experience. You might have other energies or emotions that are still trapped and just haven't been released from your body or your spirit yet.
Once you release those energies, you no longer continue to have the repetitive thoughts or feelings.
I used to have a story that men are unfaithful and that I wasn't chosen. This would repeat in my mind as [completely false and made up based on my fear] conversations and images of my husband choosing other women over me.
I knew this was something that I needed to let go of and that I needed healing from. My husband is absolutely perfect for me, and he's a loving, completely faithful man. (I would say I'm spoiled, but I'm not....because I totally deserve him!)
Can you relate to these false stories? If this is the kind of thing that's happening in your head, you know you need to let go and to heal.
Replaying painful conversations in your head (or making up false ones) means you need to let go of the hurt behind it.
For some people, it's just hard to release these energies. We like to hold on to things. But holding on leads to suffering and dis-ease. We need to let the energies move and flow through our bodies rather than letting them be stagnant.
Want a list of things you can do to let go and let those stuck energies flow? Then read this post regarding ways that you can clear out the emotional stuff that gets stuck.
What does it mean to let go?
To completely let go of something essentially means to forgive it.
Forgiving the event, the experience, forgiving yourself, forgiving the other person or people that were involved. To completely release it is to send it back out and to bless it as you do so. This releases it from continuing to come back to you.
One great way that you know that you've let go of something is that you are no longer talking or thinking about it all the time.
To change that habit and to let go, you need to consciously change your thought patterns around the experience, the person, the emotions, whatever it is.
We let go when we forgive and change the way we perceive things.
If you've got something that you've had a hard time letting go of, change your conscious thought patterns around the person, the event, the emotions, whatever it is that continues to surface.
If you keep thinking about something, you are literally wiring your brain to continue down that pathway. You are holding on to whatever that experience was.
Here’s an example. Let's say that someone did something to you and you felt wronged, or you felt hurt by it, and you haven't been able to move past it. Well, one thing that you can do when that event comes to your mind, is to forgive the person for doing whatever they did, bless them, and wish them well and set them free and let them go.
This is part of the process of forgiveness. It doesn't mean that what they did was okay or that they can do it again, it just means that you are becoming unattached from that pain that you felt or experienced from that interaction.
Healing happens when we no longer feel the emotional attachment to the event.
How to let go by changing your story
We all have stories that we create surrounding our past memories.
If you get into a car accident, for example, you have created your own story about that experience. Perhaps your story was that the other person was flying along, they were on their cell phone and they were not paying attention. They came through that light and they slammed into you. That might be what happened.
But if your story involves the statements or beliefs that they're stupid, or they were being an idiot for being on their cell phone, or how could they not pay attention, then you're not taking into account that there's another way to perceive the experience.
The way to forgive and to let go in this case is to change your story around the experience, so that it frees you from being stuck with it.
Healing happens when we rewrite our stories and change our perspective.
For example, you might change your story in this scenario to say that this person just got some news that a family member had been in a serious accident themselves and they were trying to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.
That's not to excuse what happened. It's to essentially soften your heart toward the other person or the people involved, and help you get a different perspective on how to interpret what happened. That makes it makes it easier for us to let go.
Letting go requires experiencing compassion, love and forgiveness for the other people who might have been involved.
Oftentimes, it's hard to let go because we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes that's a lot harder than forgiving others.
Practice having compassion and forgiveness for yourself. Change your story around your own behavior. Essentially, cut yourself some slack by showing yourself love and compassion.
If you have a hard time letting go, try the activities listed for clearing out your emotional gunk in my previous blog post.
Also, try consciously changing your thought process around events and around your experiences so that you can literally rewire your brain to think about them in a different way. A great resource for this is Byron Katie’s process called The Work. She takes you through a series of questions that helps you change your story about something.
How to know that you've finally let go
How do you know when you have finally let go of something? Here are three clear ways to tell:
- The person/event/conversation stops popping into your mind all the time.
- You stop creating stories around the event or person when it comes into your mind.
- The memory surfaces, but you don't have the same emotional attachment to it anymore.
Sometimes an event will come back to you that you thought that you had let go of and it simply is coming into your awareness to let you know that there's some more healing, there's another deeper layer of healing that you are now ready for.
When I have these experiences, and when things come back to me, I express gratitude for them. Thank you that I'm thinking about this! Thank you that I feel this way! I’m thankful that my mind is alerting me that I have something else that I can heal from.
If you're having a hard time letting go of something, one of the biggest things I want to suggest to you is to change the way you consciously think about it.
Change the story that you have created around that experience or for that individual or that group of people and see if you can see it in a new light.
Send out compassion, send out a blessing to that other person. Forgive yourself and forgive them for whatever interactions or involvement you had. And then free them and set them on their way.
I promise you that as you let go of things you will literally feel lighter.
You are taking these loads that you are carrying, and you are getting them off of your shoulders and off of your back and you're going to feel better for doing so.
Give it a shot. Let me know in the comments below how it goes for you or what you struggle with when it comes to letting go of things.