I have a saying that I use quite often and that is “let that stuff go” (although “stuff” is not what I usually say).
We all have “stuff” from our past that we tend to hold on to. Some of us find it harder to move on than others. While it’s natural to ruminate over what might have been or what should have been, it’s in your best interest to let it go and focus on the present. After all, we can’t change what has happened in the past, we can only learn from it. It’s hard to move forward if you’re dragging that baggage from the past with you.
Believe me when I say I speak from experience. The things I should have said but didn’t (or vice versa); the if onlys, maybe ifs, next times; the guilt (I still struggle with that on occasion) – I used to stew for days, or longer. It’s why I remind myself with that little phrase I mentioned. I think I need a tee-shirt, I say it so often.
It’s never to late to get rid of that baggage and make your journey much lighter. In fact, June 23 is Let It Go Day, so you even have a good reason to start now. And here’s a little help to nudge you in the right direction.
Let go of fear
This is one I’ve worked on quite a bit in the past several years. Not that I don’t feel fear, it’s just that I don’t let fear stop me. Taking this attitude has led me on some amazing adventures – traveling solo, jumping from a plane, hiking Half Dome, speaking to large groups, starting a business. Now it doesn’t always work out the way I expected, but it always makes for great story.
Let go of excuses
It’s easy to make excuses when it’s something you don’t necessarily want to do or it takes you outside of your comfort zone. If you always turn down opportunities you may always wonder, “what if?”
Let go of the need to please
Another big one for me. And then someone told me, “Susan, you don’t have to be everyone’s friend.” How liberating that was.
Let go of unhealthy relationships
This goes hand in hand with the need to please. If you find that you’re in a one-way relationship, that the other person creates a lot of drama in your life, and really isn’t there for you when you need them, consider letting them go. It’s not easy. I know. I’ve done it. And I can tell you I didn’t realize how much stress that relationship was creating in my life.
Let go of grudges
Jonathan Lockwood Huie said “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” I think that says it all.
Let go of stuff
We often hold on to stuff that we will never use or don’t need. All that stuff is not only cluttering up your space, it’s cluttering up your mind as well. If you have stuff you are holding on to for sentimental reasons, decide how important that is to you. Explore those reasons and see if you can live happily without it.
Let go of regret
These are the “if onlys” that so many of us ruminate over. The past is the past, we can’t go back and change any decisions we made, but we can use that experience to make better decisions today. Let it go.
Let go of guilt
Oh good grief, I could write a book on this one. It use to be that in my head I was personally responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer although I don’t take any credit for the recent trend toward healing. That’s some pretty heavy guilt. I’m much better than I used to be, but what can I say, I’m a work in progress.
Let go of comparing
Stop comparing yourself to others. Just stop. That may mean focusing on your strengths or it may mean taking a break from social media. Find a way. You be you.
Let go of blame
Playing the blame game prevents us from growing. We’re so busy seeing what the other person did wrong, we avoid seeing the part that we played. And without owning our actions, we can’t evolve. So always ask yourself, what part did I play in the situation and what could I do differently moving forward.
Of course this article wouldn’t be complete without me at least mentioning how meditation can help with letting go. Meditation helps you stay in the present moment and release those regrets of the past. It helps free you from the baggage that weighing you down so you can let it go and live a fulfilling life. If you struggle with letting go, give meditation a try. What do you have to lose, but all that excess baggage?