Last week I talked about the life lesson I learned while floating down the Clackamas River. In short, the lesson was: The harder I worked, the “stucker” I got and I offered up a tip on one way to let go. This week, we’re talking about another tip that works in them moment, but I also want to talk about one of my pet peeves of trying to learn to let go. Just scroll to the bottom if you want to ignore my pesky pet peeves. But aren’t you even a little bit interested?
Throughout my life, people have had a tendency to tell me to “just let it go.”
If only it were that easy.
For those of you for whom letting go is easy, by all means, share what you’ve learned about how you let go when something has pushed your buttons. Please.
But letting go isn’t something I’ve mastered—yet. For me, when someone tells me to “just let go,” I get mad at myself for not having done it already. Then I wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m so upset that I can’t let something go. Plain and simple, I’m upset that I’m upset—and even less likely to get over anything.
As you can see, being told to “let go” has a tendency to make me even more uptight. And sometimes a bit irritated by the person who told me to let go.
I’m going to generalize here, but most of us don’t want to be told what to do; what we want is to be understood. There are plenty of times I wish I could let go, but I don’t know how.
My cousin and fellow coach, Kimberly White, reminded me of what DOES help. Last night she said to me, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. And you’ll get where you want to go.” It was such a relief. In fact, it was such a relief that I stopped angsting, took a deep breath and said good night feeling a lot lighter. In fact, you could probably say I let go of whatever I had been angsting about.
Bottom line is this. If you have a tendency to tell yourself or someone else to “let go,” “relax,” “get over it,” chances are, you’re just making it more difficult to move forward. Simply acknowledging and accepting where you are (or the other person is) works wonders for settling down the worry so that you can let go, move forward, see more options, whatever.
That’s tip #1. Tip #2 can help get you out of your head.
Tip #2: A Simple Lesson in Letting Go
See if you can get that anxious voice a break by doing the following exercise provided by Michael Singer in The Untethered Soul:
When you feel stress, your heart tightens up. You may feel stress in different parts of your body as well, but for now, just focus on your heart. One way to practice letting go is to actually, physically, let go by relaxing your heart. Notice when it’s tightening up and imagine it relaxing. Take a deep breath and focus on opening your heart.
It’s really a matter of becoming aware you are stressed and making a decision to do something different in that moment. Over time, it will become second nature so that it is easier to hear your inner voice speak to you. This sounds simple, but can be difficult to practice. Give yourself easy situations first to get some practice doing it.
Sometimes you might feel so much emotional charge that you aren’t ready to let go yet. Ok, so be it. Accept where you are and know that you don't have to stay there forever.
When you are ready to create a different outcome or to be able to listen to your Inner Buddha, then start by imagining the upsetting situation and visualize opening your heart. Then take a big breath. Pay attention to what happens to you physically—but also be aware of what thoughts and emotions come after you have practiced opening your heart. They may very well lead you to a different way of thinking and in so doing, a different outcome.