Learning How to Let Go

With the holiday season in full swing and party invitations are coming in left and right, you likely have more balls in the air than ever before, and you may be struggling to keep it all running smoothly and keep everybody happy—yourself included.

But the reality is there’s only so much you can control. And the more you cling to the idea of having the perfect schedule or the perfect holiday activity or the perfect family weekend, the more you will find yourself frustrated, run ragged, and let down.

Trust me when I say I know how it feels, to have this idea in your head and the execution or expectations failed your reality.

That may just be a sign that you need to let go. That’s not to say you intentionally drop all of those balls in the air, or stop caring about your kids or your job or your well-being. Rather, it means you do your very best in any given situation and stop attaching this image you have in your head for the outcome.

Of course, it’s easier said than done.

So many of us cling to an idea of the way things “should” be—whether in our work, our relationships, or how our kids behave in public 🤷🏽‍♀️—which only causes unnecessary heartache when things inevitably aren’t that way. But it’s actually easier than you might think to find small, everyday ways to just let go and let live.

Here are a few tried-and-tested ways you can start letting go and living better today:

Let Yourself Feel It
  • Anxiety, fear, shame, anticipation. Whatever is you’re feeling about a certain person or situation, let yourself feel it. Sure, this is a post on letting things go, but before you can let them go, you really have to feel them—to acknowledge your stress or your worry before acknowledging that said stress or worry is temporary. Don’t make yourself feel bad for feeling how you feel; just feel it and move forward.
Be Grateful
  • When you can remember what you have to be thankful for, you’re far less likely to worry about what could go wrong. By keeping your thoughts gratitude-focused, you’ll train your mind to focus on the positive, even in the midst of situations you can’t control. Start a gratitude journal where you write down at least 3 good things that happened that day. If you need to, set a reminder on your phone and when it goes off, do it! 
Get Present- Be in the N-O-W!
  • Remember what is true and real right here and right now. Is it worth worrying about what happened yesterday? The answer is usually no. Is it productive to fret about what will happen tomorrow? Again, the answer is usually no. Whether you meditate, take yoga, or simply stop for a moment and take in your life, center yourself in the present moment and remember that there is nothing you can do about the future and even less you can do about the past … so let it go and focus on what you can do in the here and now. A great app to have is named Headspace. It sends you notifications to get you to stop and get in the now.

Most of all, letting go is about your own state of mind. It’s about understanding what you can and cannot control (and letting go of what you can’t). And learning how to let go is crucial to a happy, productive life. If you’re constantly worried about what you can’t control, you won’t have the space to allow for what you can: spending your precious time and energy and attention on cultivating the work and relationships and life that you value most.

What do you need to let go of to make space for something better?
Share your experience in the comments below.

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