WHAT DOES LETTING GO REALLY MEAN?
Letting go has to do with your inner process.
The process of letting go has to do with choosing to live more joyfully by learning to flow with the mystery of Life.
What are we really saying when we say that we need to let go, or that we are letting go?
Of course, everything that is said, it is said by somebody. This means that what you mean when you say you are letting go, maybe quite different from what I mean when I say the same thing.
So, the first question to address is what are we letting go when we are letting go?
Letting go of control, perfection, and unrealistic expectations: the future
We have a tendency as human beings to keep things under control because we do not like uncertainty. The fact is, and we have all figured this out by now, that uncertainty is part of life.
We spend a whole lot of energy trying to control what cannot be controlled, that can be vested in something else.
This is related to the expectation of perfection also, which turns people into micro-managers who have a lot of difficulty delegating.
Letting go of the ideal of perfect results/performance opens space to doing our best and enjoying the journey focusing more on excellence than on the perfect end result. Letting go of any expectation is actually very liberating because unfulfilled expectations create suffering and frustration.
Letting go of past experiences and what we cannot change: the past
We tend to allow the past to continue to affect our present and therefore our future.
Why on earth do we do it? We all know we cannot change what happened. We also attach and don’t let go of the beliefs we hold about what happened, and the self-talk we created from what happened.
Now, these beliefs and self-talk can be changed and must be changed in order to let go of what happened…in our minds, so the impact of what happened in our present lives also changes and we can rest the case in peace.
Does it mean to forget? Not necessarily. But when we remember what happened in the past, we will not re-experience the anger, the frustration and whatever else that grows and fester in our bodies and minds.
A big part of leaving the past in the past is forgiving. Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. Forgiving is not making things right. Forgiving is getting rid of the ball and change that is holding you back to set yourself free. It is the process to unburden ourselves and move on to a new chapter filled with possibilities. We all make mistakes, and we will continue to do so for as long as we are in a human body. We are all also evolving.
Letting go of the created self-identity
We all have a created self-identity constructed with beliefs and thoughts of how we and others see ourselves.
There are things we believe we cannot do, we are not good at, we will never achieve, we are not liked about, feel good about, etc.
Maybe a single opinion from someone we trust was enough to create a certain belief about ourselves. Maybe because we failed once and we wanted very badly not to, that experience stuck more than the many others when we succeeded.
We are attached to that self-image, created identity. It is who we are, and we feel secure and comfortable enough not to challenge it and try something different. Even if we are not that happy with it.
We need to de-attach from it, so we can allow the construction of a different story for ourselves and our lives and to decide to create a different future.
What letting go is not
Often times we say that we have let go of something and with that, we convey that it is not bothering us any longer and it is an issue of the past that is staying in the past. We are free.
What we are doing many times is ignoring, setting aside, suppressing, and repressing. We attempt to shut off that piece of our lives and not think about it. It may work for a while, but the emotions are kept inside, and our bodies will eventually scream to let us know that we must address the ignored.
What letting go is
That which we need to let go of, that person, that experience, that identity, is not attaching to us, but rather we are holding on to it.
Letting go is a decision we make, and it involves a process.
It starts with the awareness that allows us to see that something needs to change. And that is usually us.
So, what is it that changes when we let go?
Unless we change the story, we tell ourselves, it is very hard to let go. As soon as we bring up the story to our minds again, the same emotions are triggered, the same behavior and the reinforcement of the story. That is what we called the “self-fulfilled prophecy”.
We have to change the story about what happened that perpetuates pain.
We have to change our standards of perfection to give us permission to perform at the level we could without feeling bad about ourselves and that we failed.
We have to learn to build trust so we can work with others as a team so we can go for a bigger future.
We have to believe that our lives can go on without that person that is no longer in it or with us. Those people are already part of who we are, and we are hopefully a better person because of them.
What we are transforming in the process of letting go is who we are being.
We transform who we are being, not because we are wrong and the others are right, but just is the only part we can change, because it is our life, because it is up to us to make it better, happy, and full.
Life does not depend on what happens out there, but how to relate to what happens out there. How we relate creates the life experience we have.
Letting go is taking up and claiming the agency of your own life to become that person that moves through life content and in peace, forgiving, light, and committed to create the best possible life experience from whatever life throws at you.
Letting go also means that we deeply trust the mystery of Life and we can say YES to its flow.
Saying YES to Life means to go along with it, without resisting, without controlling, in an ongoing never-ending process of taking in fully, living deeply, attaching, de-attaching and letting go.
Trusting Life deeply allows us to face the uncertainty inherent to its nature. Trusting deeply allows us to let go of certainties that we think keep us safe.
Trust deeply. Live fully. Allow in and let go.