These days, you can’t walk into a café or wait for a train without overhearing at least one person tell another, “just let it go”.
Honesty, with one’s true feelings, can be considered a relatively new topic of public conversation. A few decades back, no one would really complain, reveal or vent out loud about their emotional or mental health struggles, especially near a crowd – so how and why do we now place so much emphasis on ‘letting go’?
Why it’s important to be honest with yourself
Holding on to what doesn’t serve us is often the cause of so much stress, anxiety and even depression. This newfound openness is such a huge step in the right direction in regards to nurturing self-love, emotional health and mental wellbeing, especially with stress being our number one epidemic. Being open and honest with ourselves can bring about a tremendous amount of peace and forgiveness, despite the severity of negativity we may feel and face every day
Sometimes we can pinpoint the source of what doesn’t serve us so clearly – that moment when the seed was planted – and sometimes we can’t. ‘Letting go’ comes in so many forms, but what’s important is being honest with the burden, no matter how negatively it affects us.
Maybe it’s the release of a memory, or letting go of a situation from our past that has brought us pain. Therefore releasing this burden that is still residing within can help us to move forwards lighter, clearer and free of it.
On another hand it could be letting go of a current situation that we have no control over, in which case the ‘letting go’ is in actual fact not letting go of the situation itself, as you never had it in the first place, but maybe a coming to terms with the lack of control over it, and therefore actually letting go of the need to control.
Letting go could even be releasing a thought or belief that is no longer serving you. A negative thought you’ve repeatedly told yourself that is in fact not only false, but holding you back in life.
There is so much we can release in order to be more present, more positive, more at peace within ourselves and with the world around us. Once we acknowledge the good as well as the bad, we are in the right position to begin to understand how to process our deep-rooted feelings, and therefore deal with them mindfully, respectfully and positively.
How to let go of what doesn’t serve you
Personally, I have found through much trial over the years, that our mind can play tricks on us when it comes to learning how to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore. What does work however, is the combination of honesty and mindfulness.
Sometimes when we tell ourselves to let go, we automatically assume we did the work… and then before you know it, it comes creeping back again. We are incredibly intricate beings, and we are very skilled at tricking even ourselves! So keep in mind that sometimes simply saying, “I’m just going to let it go” isn’t always enough.
Facing our demons and learning to love ourselves despite our ‘baggage’ is usually the equation that results in growth, acceptance and self-love.
Again, when trying to deal with my own issue, I’ve found that it often wants my attention. That is why it’s there, raising its ugly head, making a noise, causing a racket in what could otherwise be a pretty calm lake within. So I got curious and asked myself: Why does it want my attention? What is causing it? What is it that needs looking at?
Amazingly, instead of continuously and flippantly telling myself to ‘let it go’, I dove deeper. I began inquiring deeper into the root, the cause, and what helped me the most was a regular meditation practice.
Step by step meditation to help us let go
1. Lay down or sit comfortably and relax the body. Start to become aware of the breath and begin to follow the journey of your inhalation and exhalation in and out of the body. As you start to feel into your breath you can begin to slow it down and soften here.
2. Soften your whole self, your body, your mind, and become connected. Begin to feel into your body and notice any sensations coming up for you. Now instead of letting them go, try to go into them. Not to feed them, but to acknowledge them.
3. Every sensation we have is an indication of something. So go into it, feel it, taste it, sense it, without creating a story or attachment to it, just notice it for a moment. Observe it.
4. Then, see what is behind that. Notice is there is another emotion behind it? A memory? A feeling? If so, then go into that, this may be felt in a different part of the body so move your attention there. Again, take your time, sit with it, breathe into it, notice the sensation of it. Again enquire what is behind that emotion… does it go elsewhere?
Continue this journey for as long as you wish. Following the inquiry within, honouring the body’s call for attention, for you to notice something. As you go into it, breathe there, be gentle, offer yourself love, kindness, patience and tell yourself you are ok for feeling this way. Your feelings are there for a reason and you simply needed to notice them and see where they are truly coming from. To notice the source.
In doing this, you may find it begins to get more quiet, softer and maybe even disappear. So sometimes going in can allow you to let it go.