We often hear the words, “let go”. What do these words mean, and is it so easy and simple to let go?
Psychology, self-improvement and spiritual traditions speak about letting go and the benefits of embracing it, but what is it?
What Is the Meaning of Letting Go?
This term means letting go of painful memories and painful thoughts, harmful desires and unhealthy habits. It also means stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Letting go also means detachment, the removing of attachments to anything that makes you suffer or unhappy. It means lack of attachment, and non-involvement with matters that do not concern you, or which make you suffer.
It is the act of detaching yourself from unpleasant, meaningless or harmful thoughts and feeling. In this process, you free yourself from emotional burdens, stop taking things personally, and removing from your life anything that keep you in the past and does not let you move forward.
Letting go is the process of freeing yourself from obsessing thoughts and unhappy feelings. This might seem difficult to do, but with some training and practice, it becomes possible.
If a certain item of clothing is old, torn, or of no use to you, there is no need to hold on to it. You just go and buy a new one.
This should be the same with useless and negative thoughts, unpleasant memories and bad habits, unhealthy lifestyle, and even with people who make you suffer or unhappy.
Sometimes, you need to let them go out of your life, and even forget them.
“You cannot sail when the anchor is holding your ship. You need to pull it up. Letting go is like pulling up the anchor of your ship and starting to sail.”
The Negative Effects of not Letting Go
Most people are afraid to let go. They are attached to beliefs, habits, possessions and people, and find it difficult to cut their unnecessary and harmful attachments loose, even if they are causing them to suffer and be unhappy.
Anger, grudges, resentment and envy are like ropes that tie you down. You gain nothing from them, but you lose a lot by holding on them. You need to learn to let go of them.
Too much involvement with memories and negative people, take too much of your time and energy. This involvement agitates your mind and feelings, and causes a lack of peace.
Letting go is of important for spiritual growth. It is one of the most important steps towards spiritual awakening.
The ego, this entity comprised of your thoughts and your feelings, beliefs and habits, does not allow your awareness to rise higher. It keeps you within your day-today awareness, habits, likes and dislikes.
To experience a broader consciousness, a sense of freedom and happiness, you need to rise above your ego. You can do so by letting go of the thoughts, feelings and memories that hold you down and keep you imprisoned within your ego.
You need to cut loose the rope that ties you down like shackles to negative habits, meaningless thoughts, and painful or unhappy feelings and memories. You need to cut the attachment to them.
Developing the skill of letting go can help you do that.
When you do not let go, you allow attachment to grow.
When you let go, you allow detachment, freedom and happiness to grow.
Attachment is like an anchor of a ship. Letting go, enables you to lift the anchor, and allow the ship to sail. When no negative thoughts, feelings and habits tie you down, you can move on to a better and happier life.
Letting go and detaching from the causes of suffering, bring relief, joy, and inner peace.
Letting go is like turning your head forward and marching on, instead of being stuck in one place and keep looking back.
5 Tips for Letting Go
1. It might seem strange to you, but often, we let thoughts pass through the mind without paying them close attention. We often let these thoughts affect how we feel and act.
You need to strive to be aware of the thoughts you think, and often, ask yourself whether they are they necessary and useful to you. If they are not necessary and useful, refuse to think them and have anything to do with them.
Try shifting your attention to positive and happy thoughts, so that the negative ones lose their power over you. If you do so repeatedly, and in time, you would be able to reject them and free yourself of them.
2. In the same way, try to be more aware of your feelings and emotions.
You need to be vigilant, and not allow the negative emotions people transmit to you, or movies you see to affect adversely how you feel.
When becoming aware of negative feelings, of anger and resentment, worry and fear, ask yourself whether they are useful to you in any way. Do you gain any benefit from them?
You do not need to hold on to them. Trade them for happier feelings.
3. Make peace with yourself and with other people. Anger, frustration, resentment and grudges are useless. It might not be easy to get rid of them, but when you repeatedly think about the harm that they are causing you, you will eventually stop allowing yourself to wallow in them.
4. Stop dwelling on the past. With practice, you will eventually be able to do so. It is just useless. It is like throwing anchor into a muddy and dangerous sea. It is absolutely not necessary.
5. Stop taking things personally. Not everything people say is about you. You might be interpreting what they say incorrectly, they might be just joking, or what they say is unimportant.
You need to develop some self-esteem and inner strength, and stop allowing people’s words and thoughts to disturb you. This has been explained in detail in the book, “Emotional Detachment for Happier Life”.
“When you choose to let go of negative past events, not to obsess yourself with fears and worries, and to display emotional detachment toward them, you choose happiness.”
“Letting go of your heavy burdens makes you feel free and light and brings happiness into your life.”
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