How to Let Things Go Gracefully & Keep Moving Forward In Your Life
Holding on to things we can’t control can cause us a great deal of stress and unhappiness. It also keeps us stuck in the past, and keeps us from growing and living our lives freely. If we want to be happy and free, then we need to learn to let go. But how to let things go gracefully in order to keep moving forward in our life?
Holding on to the past can be a conscious decision just like letting go and moving forward can be a conscious decision.
If you’re in the midst of a knock down, you will get through, but first you have to release your grip on whatever it is that’s holding you back. You can’t know the possibilities that lie ahead until you open up to the world and let it show you — which it will.
Letting go of the past is the only way to move forward.
So many of us cling to past regret, mistakes made, people lost and steps never taken. Why are we lingering on what could have been, when we have what could be to look forward to? Letting go of the past frees us of so many emotions that hold us back from growing into the person we’re supposed to be.
You have to let go of what is hurting you, even if it feels almost impossible.
Deciding to hold on to the past will hold you back from creating a strong sense of self — a self that isn’t defined by your past, but rather by who you want to be. Some people have trouble letting go of their pain or other unpleasant emotions because they think those feelings are part of their identity. In some ways, they may not know who they are without their pain. This makes it impossible for them to let go.
Letting go is an act of faith. Faith that you can strip away the net of comfort and still be caught when you fall.
Faith in the things you can’t prove. Faith that your gut is leading you in the right direction. Faith that if you love something or someone, sometimes the best thing you can do is let it go. If you’re thinking about letting go something, that probably means you need to. You must trust your gut about things like this.
Don’t panic! Whatever you need to let go of; I will show you how. Let’s get started!
It’s your call. Do you want to shut yourself off from conquering your fears? To let go. To open up to new possibilities? Or not? In this article you can find seven useful tips and strategies that have made it easier for me to let things go over the years. Let’s find out!
Tip #1: Break Your Own Chains
We think, “I could never do that!” or “I could never make that happen!” If you truly believe that, you’ll never accomplish your goals and will get stuck in the past. Open up your mind, and believe in yourself. There will be many people who tell you that you can’t do it. It’s up to you to prove them wrong.
There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when to let go. Giving up is ‘I can’t’. Letting go is, ‘I won’t.’
The difference is subtle in sound but enormous in impact. Giving up comes from a place of defeat. ‘I don’t have the capacity or the ability to do this. I’m spent.’ Letting go, on the other hand, comes from a position of strength. It’s a decision to cut yourself from the things that weigh you down. Fight for them, and fight hard, but know when to stop.
It can be easy to fall into the role of the victim, but remember that most stories have two sides.
If you can take any responsibility for the situation, acknowledge that to yourself — and to the other person, when appropriate. Focusing on how you could have handled the situation differently (and how you plan to next time) brings a sense of empowerment. Complaining is a useless habit that doesn’t change anything. A lot of people can’t move forward in life, can’t get what they want, and can’t achieve what they want to achieve because they complain too much.
Being the victim feels good — it’s like being on the winning team of you against the world. But guess what? The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself.
If you want something magnificent, stop letting mediocre things take up your limited space and energy. If you want to find a great job, do indispensable work and find a team who fully love the work you do. If you want to find a great love, stop letting unavailable people take a piece of your heart. If you want to save to move to a new city, stop dropping $200 a weekend on drinks at bars.
The most prominent negative thought, and belief is: “I am not good enough”.
This thought gives rise to the inner dialogue around those sayings. You have the thought and then you add your own dialogue to that thought. In this way you magnify this situation with more negative self talk that further debilitates your attitudes and feelings towards yourself. We make excuses for things. We make ourselves feel bad. We stop ourselves from taking action. We nourish any fears we had around an issue. We have to learn how to release them and release the charge around specific beliefs and thoughts.
Limiting beliefs can have more of a negative impact on your life than any other factor.
Our beliefs can put healthy boundaries on questionable behavior. But limiting beliefs hold us back from what we want in life. Fortunately, you can eliminate limiting beliefs and replace them with beliefs that empower you. Most things in life are like baking a cake. If you do all the right things in the right order, in the end you’ll get a cake. It’s impossible to have any other result. Likewise, by following a process, you can banish your limiting beliefs.
Tip #2: Forgive Yourself
Part of learning how to let things go is knowing how to forgive yourself and others. When you stop blaming others and taking responsibility for your role in a specific situation, you can move on to forgiveness.
Firstly, you are human. You are allowed to make mistakes.
In fact, it would be a bit weird if you didn’t. So stop putting this completely unrealistic pressure on yourself because it’s simply not achievable. You can’t allow yourself to be held back from things done in the past. It’s not productive and it will not help you move forward at all. So give yourself a little grace and tell yourself that it’s normal. It’s part of your learning process to become who you are today. You are likely to make more mistakes in the future but these are going to be the most defining moments in your life, sometimes even more than your successes.
If you blame yourself for your own hurt, accept that you can no longer change the situation.
Beating yourself up only keeps you back from letting new things come and moving forward with your life. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion in the same way that you would treat someone on your position. Be gentle, learn how to forgive, forgive, and keep only with you the lessons that you learn from your mistake.
It is noble to strive for pure perfection and upholding commendable virtues, but sometimes we are just going to mess up…and that will be okay.
The past is a thing that you can’t experience with any of your senses. You can’t see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, or smell it. For all intents and purposes, the past does not exist. A big reason why we give ourselves a hard time is because we’re unable to let go of the past. We hold on to the past like it’s real, but it only exists in our memories and imagination. There’s nothing you can do about this, and recognizing that you are powerless to rectify these mistakes is key to forgiving yourself.
There is always a silver-lining. Mistakes offer a fork in the road.
They’re a chance to choose one path or another. Often, that’s done by design. If I hadn’t made some of the major mistakes that I made in my life, I wouldn’t have benefited in the enormous way that I did over time. It’s far harder to hold on to pain, anger, or resentment, than it is to just let go, to love, and to forgive. And, forgiving yourself is the most important type of forgiveness. No matter what happened, it’s going to be okay. There’s a grand design to everything, even if we can’t see the meaning at that very moment.
Choose to break out of denial. Be honest about how you’ve messed up and the consequences of your behavior.
As an imperfect person, you will make mistakes in life. Face it. You will hurt people sometimes. You will have regrets. It’s part of living in a less-than-perfect world. But you have a choice. Either your past will keep you in a rut of guilt and shame…or you will accept it for what it is and experience the freedom to move on and enjoy the now. Self-acceptance is critical to your emotional health, so don’t miss out!
Tip #3: Make It Your Call
When you feel that those negative emotions are taking up too much space in your heart and mind, to make them go again once and for all, you have to start by consciously deciding that you want to make a change. To learn how to let things go requires a conscious commitment and decision.
Make a commitment to yourself and to your decision.
From that moment, try to stop reliving past experiences. Even if at first it’s hard, in time you’ll see your progress and how far you’ve come since you made this choice. Willpower is crucial here. Whenever you feel like going over the details of a situation or frustrating again over the things that hurt you, deviate your thoughts and remember your commitment. Embrace a new healthy way of living and focus on learning from those painful situations.
Things don’t disappear on their own. You need to make the commitment to “let it go.”
If you don’t make this conscious choice up-front, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from this past hurt. Making the conscious decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past pain, to stop going over the details of the story in your head every time you think of what hurts you. This is empowering to most people, knowing that it is their choice to either hold on to the pain, or to live a future life without it.
Sure: The hardest thing about letting go is making the decision and feeling okay about it.
We have the power to decide what we let go of and what we hold on to, and those decisions will eventually shape the trajectories of our lives. If you hold on to a job that you do not love for too long, it can have a negative affect on your happiness and overall well being, but if you let go of it, you are opening up your life for other experiences that there was not any room for before. Letting go of something that you truly love or care about, or just something that provides your comfort, is truly difficult. Keep in mind; all people struggle with this at some point in their lives. Be kind to yourself, and forgive yourself if you are having a difficult time letting go of something that no longer serves you well.
You have to make the decision to let go of the past if you want to move forward. Reliving your painful past will poison your heart and your tomorrow.
Beating yourself up over every perceived mistake is the work of an internal abuser who must be restrained and reformed. The past is inaccessible. Almost all sadness comes from thinking about the past, and all worry from thinking about the future — present-mindedness is your only safe haven. Only in the present is your mind free to do what it does best — solve problems. The easiest way to leave the past behind is to remember that love does not live in the past, only memories — love lives in the present.
Letting go is a decision, not something you do. It’s not an action nor is it something you evolve to.
The process of letting go is understanding why you need to let go then making the decision to do so. Everything you do after you make the decision to let go is you just putting the plan into action. You have already let go but sometimes it takes a while to unwind yourself from what you are letting go from. If you are unable to let go it is because you are unwilling to make the decision to let go. If you need to let go, make the decision and move on. You’ll feel so much better if you do.
Tip #4: Live in The Present
I know that learning how to let things go can be hard, so to make all this process more comfortable, you should focus on the present day and try to make the best out of it. Go on with your day with positive thoughts and activities that feel good for you. Whenever you feel like the pain is taking over, distract yourself with the things that give you joy at the moment.
Now it’s time to let go. Let go of the past, and stop reliving it.
Stop telling yourself that story where the protagonist — you — is forever the victim of this other person’s horrible actions. You can’t undo the past, all you can do is to make today the best day of your life. Stop wishing things could be the way they once were. Bring yourself into the present moment. This is where life happens. You can’t change the past; you can only make decisions today to help how your future turns out.
Remember, if we crowd our brains — and lives — with hurt feelings, there’s little room for anything positive.
It’s a choice you’re making to continue to feel the hurt, rather than welcoming joy back into your life. When you focus on the here and now, you have less time to think about the past. When the past memories creep into your consciousness (as they are bound to do from time to time), acknowledge them for a moment. And then bring yourself gently back into the present moment.
When you’re completely wrapped up in the here and now, there’s little time or energy to ponder past wrongs.
Doesn’t it sound like more fun to embrace the present with a spirit of joy and abundance? For me, taking time each morning to meditate and reflect on my life helps me bring a more focused presence to my days. Hanging on is all about resistance. Let go and you’ll initiate a momentum towards rebalance. It might take a while, and it might get worse before it gets better, but there are new possibilities waiting for you when you are ready to be open to them.
Being present takes practice. It means to focus on only what is happening right in the here and now, and noticing all the sensations that come along with it.
For this to happen, your mind must be clear of excess clutter. The very act of focus prevents us from revealing in the past, making those uncomfortable memories become less influential. Practice a little every day, and you will find that this eventually becomes natural behavior. Soak in as much of today as you possibly can — the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the triumph, and the sorrow. These are in our daily lives but we often forget to take them in and truly appreciate them.
Living in the present means you have accepted the past, learned from the past, and moved forward.
Living in the present is the only way to enjoy life to its fullest. Experiencing the present moment tends to lead to feelings of appreciation for what it is to be alive. When you are present in the moment you are experiencing your environment and the events taking place as they occur.
Tip #5: Find Support
Sometimes it helps to vent about our situation to friends or family members, but watch out that this doesn’t turn into yet another rehashing of negative thoughts. I often find that simply being in the presence of people I care about makes me happier. Laughing over something completely unrelated to my stress and being reminded of the people in my life who love me tends to put it all in perspective.
Surround yourself with people who love you and want nothing but good things for you.
Remember that these people, either your friends or your family, will always be there for you. Find support in the ones who fulfill you, talk to them, and share how you feel. Get every painful feeling out of your system, knowing that you’re in an environment of trust. Hear them out as they give you an outsider’s point of view that will help you see the situation from a different perspective. Take their opinions positively and with an open mind even if they’re not the same as yours.
Many times in life, we feel as though we can get through a stressful situation if only we had someone to go through that with.
A supportive friend is always there for you and is willing to walk through that burning building along with you. This isn’t to say that they are going to follow you wherever you go blindly. They can, and will, help you by identifying the pros and cons of a decision you’re about to make, or letting you know if they don’t agree with what you’re doing. But, they will also do their best to stand by you after you make whichever decision it is that you make. They are not judgmental, and they do not have an ulterior motive in showing that they care for you. They’re just genuine.
Holding your feelings inside only keeps you stuck and can eventually turn into anxiety or even develop into depression.
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. Talking to someone you trust can also help you recognize an unhealthy relationship and keep you from continuing to go back to that person. Once you commit to learning how to let go of someone, you may even discover other moments and situations you can afford to move on from as well.
When you’re dealing with painful feelings or a situation that hurt you, it’s important to give yourself permission to talk about it.
Sometimes people can’t let go because they feel they aren’t allowed to talk about it. This may be because the people around them no longer want to hear about it or the person is embarrassed or ashamed to keep talking about it. But talking it out is important. That’s why finding a friend or therapist who is patient and accepting as well as willing to be your sounding board is crucial to let go.
If you’re having a hard time letting go of the things that hurt you, there are alternative options that you can do.
For starters, some professionals help people overcome painful experiences. Many people have taboos about going to a therapist. Still, there’s nothing wrong with turning to a professional, and there’s no reason to be ashamed of going. Many people should talk things out with someone they don’t know instead of recurring to a friend or trying to do it by themselves.
Tip #6: Cry It Out
While emotions are a perfectly normal part of life, when they become powerful or all-consuming, they can become burdensome. All emotions really are is energy, and releasing that energy can be liberating. Sometimes it’s helpful to name it and just yell out loud “I’m anxious!” The trick here is to let the feelings wash over you without reacting or passing judgment.
You’re going to feel sad, angry, maybe confused or scared.
Whatever it is that’s in you, has to come out of you. Feel what you’re feeling fully. Put it on paper. Have a cry in the shower. Turn up the music and let it out. Do what you need to do to release the energy. Then you can move forward. It’s important you don’t suppress your emotions. There are plenty of ways to let out your emotions and thoughts. Talk to a friend, your therapist, write in your journal or just think and feel the pain and emotions, acknowledge them and let go.
The challenge is to recognize the emotion and feel it in your body. This is where mindfulness comes in.
The goal is to notice what is happening within our body, accept it, and feel it fully, without judgment. We have to feel it to heal it — we have to fully experience the emotion in order to process and integrate it into our experience. Practice mindfulness to get better at recognizing your feelings and observing the bodily sensations connected to those feelings, as they come and go throughout the day. Offer yourself self-compassion as you go through more difficult emotions.
Conversely, repressing means to deny, ignore, or run away from something. It’s about avoiding certain negative feelings and experiences.
Repression starts with judgment and denial — emotions that compound over time and that impact us negatively further down the line. When we shove our “bad” feelings and thoughts away, they tend to pop out in the most inappropriate times. Letting go means learning which battles to pick. It involves accepting what we can change and releasing what we can’t. We are owning the experience, rather than rejecting or avoiding it.
You can only let go if you allow yourself to experience your emotions, and then you can move on.
And, if you repress your feelings with drugs or food or whatever, you’re still repressing. You have to allow yourself to feel unpleasant emotions before you can let them go. Instead of judging our thoughts as good or bad, it is more productive to simply observe them. Let the event play out. Let yourself feel. Let the emotion come to the surface. And if you’re angry, understand that usually underneath anger is sadness. Cry if you need to. Feel that emotion with all its intensity.
We can’t stop emotions and thoughts from entering our mind. And we shouldn’t. Every emotion and thought has its place and is there for a reason.
If you are used to swallowing and ignoring your emotions and just getting on with shit, you are most likely missing out on the valuable insights that are underlying your emotions. You will experience the same negative emotion over and over again without learning the lesson and taking the action to improve the underlying issue.
Tip #7: You'll Be Okay
When we calm our mind, everything naturally becomes clearer. The fewer unnecessary thoughts we have in our mind, the easier it is to process more purposeful thoughts. It’s like being stuck in a traffic jam vs. being on a road free of traffic. When our mind is calm, it is much easier to gain clarity on issues of importance to us.
Sometimes you may forget that you are the one in charge of your thoughts.
When something is bothering you, you let it run amok all through your head. One of the best things you can do to let go of your troubles is to calm your mind by emptying it of thoughts. This is very much like meditation, only our goal here is not to reach a higher consciousness. Our goal is to become adept at removing all thoughts from our mind and be still. When you empty your mind, you remove all the negative thoughts and can exert a certain amount of control over what you let back in.
We’re wired for survival, both emotional and physical.
When we hang on so tightly to something the energy we could be using to move forward is stuck with the job of hanging on. Once you let go, that energy that was holding you back will start to move you forward. It might not feel like that for a while — letting go can be hard — but trust the process and remember the reasons you made the decision. Good days are coming, and you will see soon enough why your brave move was such a good one for you.
Letting go can feel like rubbish — not always — but mostly.
If it was easy to let go you would have done it ages ago, and it wouldn’t have felt like a letting go, it would have felt like a ‘transition’. Accept that the road might get bumpy for a while but that’s not a sign to turn back. Sometimes the only way through is straight through the middle. It’s okay to fall apart for a while. It really is.
Life is a series of experiences that are meant to teach us important lessons.
When we refuse to let go of something, it is because we refuse to see what life is trying to teach us. As a result, we feel stuck. When you’re having trouble letting go of something, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this experience?” The answer may not be revealed to you immediately. But when it is, you’ll be able to let go, and move on with your life.
You are not your past, so take care that you don’t wrap your identity in the past. It’s over. It’s done. You don’t live there anymore.
The stories we tell ourselves are powerful and without even noticing it, you may find yourself locked into a victim identity. This leads to a feigned helplessness that is easy to fully buy into because it’s safe. You get to keep a low profile, people will tiptoe around your feelings, and no one expects too much from a victim. It’s time to come back to the light my friend: This is where you live now — in the present. The past happened. It hurt. It no longer owns you.
People hold onto things that no longer serves them. Sometimes unknowingly. Sometimes they choose to remain stuck. Often, wishing and hoping for a miracle.
Sure: Letting go is hard. It could mean further pain, disruption and uncertainty.
It could bring a process of change and growth. Moving on. It could mean redefining who you are at your core. Letting go can bring a tailspin of sadness. The familiar is being swapped for a new, an unknown reality. However. In order to move forward and become the best version of yourself, you probably will want to let go of it all so you can finally heal.
Letting go doesn’t mean ignoring the problem nor escaping from reality.
It simply means that you realize that there is nothing you can do about the issue right now, and rather than having it consume your life with stress and anxiety you are going to put it aside until you are in a position where you can deal with it. Distracting thoughts suck up time, energy, and attention. By letting them go you free up all those resources to solve your problems, tackle your day, and pursue your dreams.
The only positive thing to hold onto in this life is hope for better days ahead.
The lessons learned in the past and acceptance of the way things are today have molded you into the person that you are. No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done or what/whom you no longer have, the clock keeps ticking and the world continues to move around you. It’s okay to let go.
Being able to let go requires a strong sense of self, which gives you the ability to learn and grow from your experiences.
Letting go is one of the hardest, but one of the bravest things we can do. With everything we leave behind, there is so much more waiting ahead. Be able to be ready with open arms when it comes.
So, what will you let go of?
It’s time to shift our mind and shed our paradigms. We are usually addicted to drama: aggravation, agitation, arguments, but we are a divine people and we can get a little closer to the noble being we are meant to be. And you? Are you ready to let go? Feel free to share your own thoughts and personal experience in the comments below!