Learning to Let Go
Many of us have a difficult time letting things go. We have a disagreement with someone and it leaves us holding on to a grudge, we get cut off by some ‘jerk’ on the road and we replay the scenario over and over in our heads, someone hurts our feelings or offends us and we stand in front of the mirror rehearsing what we wish we had said. In hanging onto these moments of anger, fear and frustration, we are literally wasting our time, thoughts and energy on negative emotions that do nothing for us.
This past week I found myself in a situation where I thought a friend had betrayed me. I was overcome with suspicious thoughts and conspiracies that had me feeling angry and untrusting, and it was truly all consuming. I had let anger take over me and it ran a good three days of my week. I had a difficult time seeing things clearly.
It wasn’t until I went to a particularly inspiring yoga class where I realized that by holding onto anger I was only punishing myself. Holding onto that grudge wasn’t serving me, being angry didn’t change the situation and it didn’t make it better. So what purpose did all of this ruminating serve?
This had me pondering the concept of letting go. Letting go of anger, resentment, fear, jealousy and anything that does not serve you.
When we are able to let go we are making space in our mind and our awareness for what truly matters; peace, acceptance, forgiveness, new beginnings.
Learning to let go is an art I have yet to master, but I am working on it. When we are faced with situations that affect us either with anger, worry or fear it is best to begin by asking if it actually affects you personally. Are you really truly personally impacted? Or is it just something you don’t agree with or understand? Often times we take things as personal attacks when really the situation is not about us. Or we may have judgments about a scenario that are impacted by our perceptions. Sometimes we jump to conclusions too soon, only to find out we had nothing to worry about. When we worry too soon we are suffering needlessly.
There are also, of course, situations that are out of our control. We can’t control the weather, we can’t control the traffic and we can’t control the choices someone else makes – sometimes we just have to accept. Accept things as they are. Is there really a point to spending time worrying about things that are outside of our control? The obvious answer is no, but that often doesn’t stop us from ruminating anyway. What we do have control over is ourselves – our actions and reactions.
In the end I spent a better part of my week in anger, only to find out that I had jumped to some harsh conclusions and read the situation wrong. How different could my week have been if I had handled that differently? What if I had taken a step back and paused to reflect at what was really happening? I had spent my week suffered needlessly and of my own doing.
So let this serve as a reminder to just let it go. Hang on to what brings you happiness, joy and serves you purpose. Let go of the rest. Come to terms with what you cannot control. Accept. Accept. Accept. If someone tailgates you, rubs you the wrong way or says something you don’t agree with, don’t let that become your baggage. Think about it for a moment if you need to, and then let it go.