Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in your journey.
It’s always necessary to accept when some part of your life has reached its inevitable end. Closing the door, completing the chapter, turning the page, etc. It doesn’t matter what you title it; what matters is that you find the strength to leave in the past those little parts of your life that are over.
It’s all about embracing the truth: What has happened is uncontrollable, but what you do now changes everything!
Of course, knowing this and actually living a lifestyle that reinforces this truth are two very different things. Letting go is NOT easy – it’s a journey that is traveled one day at a time. If you stick with it though, here’s what your journey will ultimately teach you:
- The most powerful changes happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over everything you don’t.
- Most people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now.
- If you worry too much about what might be, and wonder too long about what might have been, you will ignore and completely miss what is.
- When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts. Mindfully letting go is the remedy.
- The biggest obstacle to growth you’ll ever have to overcome is your mind. Once you can overcome that, you can overcome anything.
- Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a little while, and that includes YOU. (Read The More of Less.)
- You won’t always have it easy, but there is always a reason to be grateful. And the greatest gift of your gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.
- The secret to getting ahead is to focus all of your energy not on fixing and fighting the old, but on building and growing something new.
- 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 yourself in this moment.
- In most cases, you can’t calm the storm – it’s not worth trying. What you can do is calm yourself, and the storm will pass.
- You can always control the way you respond to what happens, and in your response is your power.
- 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.
- There is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one tiny step at a time.
- The day you “understood” everything, was the day you stopped trying to figure everything out. The day you find peace and freedom again will be the day you let everything go.
- You must let go of certainty. And you must remember that the opposite of certainty is not uncertainty, it’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace life as it is, rather than resisting it. The ultimate challenge is to accept yourself exactly as you are, and accept life just as it is, but never stop trying to learn and grow to the best of your abilities.
- Underneath it all, the hardest part is not really letting go, but rather learning to start over.
- Stepping onto a brand new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation that no longer fits, or no longer exists.
- Sometimes it takes a little heartbreak to shake you awake, help you let go, and show you that you are worth so much more than you were settling for.
- When it comes to social drama, letting go of other people’s rude remarks is the best step forward. Most haters don’t really hate you; they just hate where they are in life, and you’re simply collateral damage to their inner angst and reactionary behavior. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Your heart might be bruised, but it will gradually heal and become capable of feeling the beauty of life once again. It’s happened to you before, and it will happen again – life is always changing. When something ends or someone leaves, it’s because something else or someone else is about to arrive – you will feel alive and whole again soon.
It can be difficult to leave a long-term life situation behind, even when your inner-compass tells you that things aren’t right and it’s time to let go. At this point, you can choose to let go and endure the sudden pain of leaving behind the familiar to make way for a new chapter in your life, or you can stay and suffer a constant, aching pain that gradually eats away at your heart and mind, like a cancer… until you wake up one day and find yourself buried so deep in the dysfunction of the situation that you barely remember who you are and what you desire.
Don’t do this you yourself!
Things will happen that are unexpected, undesirable, and uncontrollable. But you can always choose to take the next tiniest step. Be brave and take it…
Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them, let go of them, and move along.
(And although I’ve already linked to it above, if you’re looking for more perspective and guidance on what’s been discussed here, this short article is a great primer on the process of letting go.)
Now, it’s your turn…
What’s one uncontrollable past event or life situation that you need to let go of? What attachments are creating unnecessary stress in your life? Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel and what you intend to do about it.
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Photo by: Cerisse
Pete Hyatt says
This was an awesome summary of acceptance (letting go). Thank you.
Your post reminds me of a quote I often repeat to myself as an affirmation: “The key to peace and happiness is accepting things as they are, not as you think they should be.”
Too many of us continue toward the ideal of “what should be,” when the smartest strategy is to understand that “what is” and then make the best of it.
Accepting and letting go of an unchangeable, tough situation/relationship/etc. is rarely easy, but always worth it, as it lays the foundation for the next step. As you said in one of your recent blog emails, “we can’t change what we never accept.” 🙂
Marc and Angel, I’m truly enjoying your blog, books and emails. And this says a lot because I’m a bit of a cynic and don’t usually buy into self-improvement jargon. But I really enjoy your perspective. As it relates to this post, I know I have much to let go of.
As my 50th birthday approaches, I’m struggling with the difference between what I expected my life to be at this point vs. the way my life actually is. The two are not similar in the slightest. It’s difficult to accept that I have not accomplished what I set out to do, largely because of an uncontrollable illness. It was really helpful to read your common-sense reminders here. As I meditate on them and ritualize them (incredible strategies I picked up from your coaching course) and try to apply them to my life situation, I know they will gradually help me reframe what my life is and create a new vision for my present and future.
Rose Costas says
I read your post and had to comment. I am in the same situation you are in and believe me it is so hard to accept. I too have set goals and have worked hard, harder than most but I have very little to show for it. I do believe it will get better and so I continuously work hard and try to do the right things but sometimes it is hard.
I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone.
Geraldine Tucker says
Love the reframing and new vision!
Thank you yet again, M&A. These reminders needed to be heard at my end. I have come to realize and accept that I am not good at “letting go.” It sounds so obvious and makes perfect sense, but my emotional heart still strives to hold on and create an idea of who he is and what we “could be,” despite that never being the reality. But even just reading these words reminds me that others too are struggling with this same issue in various ways, and that makes me feel less alone and gives me hope that I too can persevere.
Oh Kristin, when I read your comment, I felt as though you understood me so well. I too struggle with letting go and holding tight to what I keep hoping for. You are not alone and today is a new day on our journey.
Mary Lynn says
It is so much better to be the dumper than the dumped. I’ve been struggling with his rejection of me and my love for over 5 months now. So many self help books are scattered on my bedroom floor as I try to “fix” myself. Sleeping to guided meditations on letting go, self-esteem and self-love. Unrequited love is the hardest thing to experience and to endure. I’m grieving the undead as he moves on to the next woman with happiness, hope and excitement. It’s just so sad. I miss him in so many ways in my life.
Struggling with a very delicate relationship issue. And have trouble of letting it go, though it definitely is not a right one. My head is clouded. I can’t think straight. No one to share my feelings with, except this one person. I know I have to let go. He realized this a couple of weeks ago and started making changes, without telling me. I feel cheated. I know, I sound confused, but that’s the state I am in.
Mary Lynn says
So sorry, so sorry.
Rose Costas says
Thanks Angel and Marc for another important list of reminders. It is so good to be reminded of the things you already know but some how fail to implement in your life. i have struggled with trying to control things I cannot control and unfortunately many times I am left frustrated, angry and bitter. Worst of all I find it hard to appreciate what is as I believe what is, is never as good as what was.
Marc & Angel… finding you is so timely… I’ve battled a long long time with regret about leaving a relationship out of my own ability to communicate my true feelings & struggles . They have fully moved on, I haven’t . Letting go has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life …. Still not 100% through it, but your posts help immensely & are exactly what I need to keep me on track with my own life … Thank You !!!
Thank you for these reminders. I really appreciate them. I got divorced several years ago and it’s still hard to let go of who I thought he was and who I thought I was… both the marriage and divorce were meant to be. I believe that now. It was what it was. I made mistakes and tried my best to learn from them. It is what it is now. And it’s okay. I’m still learning and growing. ??
I meant <3 not ?? – lol
Tina. M Mathewson says
Thank you Angel and Marc. In reading your article on letting go. I’m also struggling with things. And like Suzi, he has made a choice to be in constant contact with the ex. I have problems following my goals and to follow the instincts .
Terrie McLean says
Thank You Very Much….. Struggling with this….. Looking Forward to Reading More….
Susanna Root says
I so needed to hear this right now !!! Although I have known theses things I tend to push them aside andxhope for the best. Recently my 24 year marriage fell apart. It should have happened many years ago but that’s what happens when you won’t let go. I am leaning more and more each day in hopes to never let this happen again. Thank you so much for confirming this to me.
James Edge says
This article was very helpful and inspiring to me….
Caroline Slack says
Understanding that much is out of our control, is my take away from having several family members, die too young and way too soon.
Now, when I hit a speed bump in the road, I stop and compare the pain to the death of my children and grandchildren, I grasp that it is small and not final.
We all break and mend in a way that teaches us compassion for others and great lessons to share.
Thank you for these gentle reminders, that life continues and we must roll with the punches.