I am sure you have heard the phrase ‘let go’, more than a few times.
What does letting go mean? What do you let go?
We usually use this phrase, when someone dwells on past pains, failure or resentment.
Most people are unable to quit the past and go on. They keep thinking about it, creating for themselves unnecessary continual pain and suffering.
The problem is that most people don’t know how to let go. They are even afraid to let go. They are too attached to the past, even if it was not a happy past.
Do you, like most people, fear you might lose something in the process of letting go of the past? Losing what is causing pain is a blessing. It is not a loss.
Too much involvement with past memories that brought you suffering and pain, and which give rise to unhappy thoughts, have a heavy toll and can take too much of your time, energy and health. This involvement agitates your mind and the feelings, obstructs common sense, and prevents you from enjoying inner peace.
Letting go is the answer. Releasing the past is what you need to do.
What Is the Meaning of “Letting Go?”
Here are a few definitions that explain what is the meaning of the words “letting go of the past”:
- It means stopping the attachment to the past, especially to painful past memories, and focusing on the present. When you release the past you can start accepting the present.
- It is non-attachment to results. This means that you do your best in every situation, but if things do not turn well or as planned, you don’t dwell on them and don’t get disappointed or discouraged.
- Letting go is like lifting the anchor of your ship, so that it can sail away. In order to move on, you need to release painful thoughts, negative habits, fears and worries. These are you anchor and shackles that tie you down to the same way of life, to the same habits and circumstances.
- Letting go of the past, and releasing it from your mind requires a certain degree of emotional detachment. This leads to non-attachment, about which all the spiritual traditions speak about.
If you don’t let go, you remain tied and not free. You limit your perception, cause yourself stress and tension. If you cannot detach yourself from painful memories, envy, jealousy, bad relations, you suffer. It is like being in a swamp, doing nothing to get out.
On the other hand, letting go, detaching yourself from the causes of suffering, brings relief, ease, joy and love.
Letting go is so most valuable, but few people do something about it. It might seem strange, but they prefer to stay where they are, emotionally, mentally and physically, even this hurts them.
People love the familiar and unknown, and feel more comfortable and safer in familiar situations, even if this causes suffering. They fear of the unknown, and therefore, don’t want to let go. They also don’t know how to let go. No one has ever taught them.
Learning how to let go requires more than a short article. It requires, inner work and daily practice, and that’s why I wrote a book about it.
Guidelines on How to Let Go of the Past
How to let go of the past and how to release it?
How to relieve yourself from the attachment to the past?
Here are a few simple guidelines:
1. Make peace with the past. What happened belongs to the past. Don’t let it tie you down. It is time to go on and live. Will thoughts about the past help you? Absolutely not!
Yes, the mind keeps returning to thoughts and memories you would be glad to forget. That’s okay. Be smarter, and use the same technique the mind is using.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking about painful memories, immediately replace them with opposite thoughts. Replace them with positive and happy thoughts. In time, this will turn into a habit.
2. Did you love somebody and you separated? If you want to get back, and there is such a chance, keep on trying. However, if you see no chance, let go and move on.
Thinking about him or her and suffering is useless. No one gains anything from this situation. It might be easier said than done, but you should move on with your life and meet other people. Don’t stay stuck.
3. Goals and plans change Sometimes goals change. Sometimes priorities change. Learn to change with them and take another course, another direction.
4. Do not allow fear to hold you down Fear might be holding you back. Letting go also means facing the fears and disappointments of the past, and then severing your connection with them. Try it, and you will see that it is not so difficult.
5. Leave your grudges behind There is no need to hold on and keep nurturing old grudges and hurts.
Are you holding on to old grudges?
Do you play in your mind something someone said that hurt you?
If you do, you are hurting yourself, not the one who hurt you. You are the one that is suffering and that’s a foolish thing to do.
Don’t hold on to grudges and hurt feelings. It is like pouring fuel into the fire.
Holding on to anger, resentment and hatred will hold you back. It will make you unhappy. Throw away these feelings. Yes, you can. Refuse to have anything to do with them. That might not be easy, but that’s the direct way.
6. Do not allow people to discourage you Sometimes, people discourage us and stand in our way to move on. They keep reminding us of the past.
Don’t let people stop you from moving on. If they really love you they need to allow you to move on. If they insist on tying you down to the past, you need to consider to seek the company of people who are positive, open-minded, and who look forward to the future.
7. Keep an open mind Open your mind to opportunities, new starts, and new things. Do what makes you happy, improves, improves your life, and benefits you and the society where you live. Don’t be afraid to let go what holds you back.
If you follow these steps, you will learn how to let go of the past and enjoy everyday life more.
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.
A Few Quotes about Letting Go
“Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?”
“There are a number of things to let go of in life. One of these things is worry of which there is nothing more unproductive or personally debilitating.”
“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self acceptance opened.”
–Shannon L. Alder
Read our collection of letting go quotes.
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