One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go. But letting go is oftentimes the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present.
You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from some of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.
Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
The underlying key is to…
Rediscover the Peace that’s Already Within You
The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it perfectly more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves – that is, to our own principles and opinions.”
Modern behavioral science agrees too. American psychologist Albert Ellis has facilitated dozens of scientific studies proving that how people react to events is determined predominantly by their view of the events, not the events themselves.
Realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace. Because inner peace does not depend on external conditions — it’s what remains when you’ve surrendered your ego and worries. The need for something to be different in this moment is nothing more than an egotistic worry, and worries like this simply lead you in circles.
Peace of mind arrives anyplace and anytime, the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind. It happens when you let go of the need for things to be different than they are.
This, of course, is easier said than done, which is why I often reference these…
Quotes that Remind You to Let Go
Knowing that you need to let go and actually letting go are two very different things, and sometimes we need all the positive reinforcement we can get. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I frequently use quotes (and affirmations) to proactively remind myself NOT to hold on to the wrong things (ideas, mindsets, etc.) Anytime I catch myself holding on, I pause and read the following quotes (taken from our book and blog archive). Then I take some fresh deep breaths…
- Oftentimes letting go is simply changing the labels you place on a situation – it’s looking at the same situation with fresh eyes and an open mind. Truth be told, there is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one tiny, mindful step at a time.
- Letting go isn’t about having the courage to release the past – it’s about having the wisdom and strength to embrace the present. It’s not about forgetting – it’s about remembering without fear. It’s stepping forward, untethered, with a present mind and a lesson learned.
- One of the most rewarding and important moments in life is the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. When you let go of how it “should” be, you ignite the full potential of how it CAN be from this moment forward. Happiness, then, is ultimately letting go of what you think your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is, and making the very best of it. (Angel and I show how in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care about something or someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only thing you really have control over is your next action in this moment. In most cases, you can’t calm the storm – and it’s not worth trying. What you can do is calm yourself, and collect yourself, and the storm will pass.
- To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and helped you learn and grow. It’s the acceptance of everything you have, everything you once had, and the possibilities that lie ahead. It’s all about finding the strength to embrace life’s changes, to trust your intuition, to learn as you go, to realize that every experience has value, and to continue taking positive steps forward.
- You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward. Just do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better. Make gradual growth a daily ritual. This is how life-changing momentum is built. It feeds on itself, one small step at a time. Make an effort to begin, and as you start moving forward it takes less and less effort to sustain. (Angel and I build small, life-changing daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- As you take the next step, and the next, your greatest defense against stress, frustration and defeat is your inherent ability to choose one thought over another. Remember this. If you look for reasons to be disheartened – if you look for reasons to give up and give in – you’ll find plenty of them. Look instead for reasons to be positive, and see them everywhere. Then carry on.
A big part of letting go is renewing your faith in yourself. This faith means finding the willingness to live with uncertainty, to feel your way through life, to let your intuition guide you like a flashlight in the dark.
It’s about standing firmly on your own two legs without the crutches you’ve been holding on to.
And YOU ARE strong enough!
So… What if, for today, you choose to believe that you have enough and you are enough? What if, for today, you choose to believe that you are strong enough, wise enough, kind enough, and loved enough to move forward? What if, as the sun sets on today, you choose to believe that the little bits of progress you made were more than enough for one day? And what if tomorrow, you choose to believe it all over again?
Make those choices.
Let go, and choose yourself.
What are you holding on to that’s holding you back? In what ways do you need to let go? What worries you about this? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights with us.
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Photo by: Milada Vigerova