Letting Go Strategies
“I hold on to those ideas, things, and circumstances that serve my growth and freely release those that no longer do.”
Letting go is something many people have a difficult time doing. As human beings, it is natural that we grow attached to the ideas, things, and circumstances that have added value to our lives. We get used to the way things are and, at times, will go to any extent to keep them that way. This is simply loyalty until it becomes destructive to our well-being.
The ability to let go and move on is a key factor for success in life. Successful people recognize when a situation has yielded all the benefit possible (or enough punishment) and they willingly accept the next challenge.
Many situations begin in our lives as fertile rivers that nourish us and help us grow. However, when we hold on longer than we should we wake up one morning laying in a proverbial dry river bed and wondering what in the world happened.
Now, I’m not advocating a bottom-line cost-benefit approach to life, where you dump your spouse because you “don’t feel it” today or change jobs every six months. Commitment is an important characteristic of successful people as well.
I’m advocating a wise, well-considered approach that honestly aligns with your deepest needs and intentions. Those are not fickle, flavor-of-the-day feelings, but they do change periodically.
One stumbling block encountered when trying to let something go is the fact that it is a mostly mental process. One way to put an exclamation point on the release is to do something physical to represent the release.
Not every situation needs this much attention, but situations where you are really having a hard time letting go; try the following.
Write the situation you are trying to release on a piece of paper. Be specific. Use names, dates, and descriptions. At the end of the note, write, “Today I am releasing you.”
Here are three ways to solidify your release of the issue.
1. Rip and Burn - take your note and tear it into small pieces. Feed the pieces – one at at time -into a fire until it is gone. As you feed each piece into the fire, say to yourself, “I release you.”
2. Balloon Release - get a balloon and stuff your note inside. Fill the balloon with helium and release it. As the balloon sails up and away, say to yourself, “I release you.” The balloon gets smaller and smaller until it is gone. Visualize your attachment to the situation getting smaller and smaller until it is gone.
3. Run Over It - if there are very strong feelings associated with the situation, try this technique. Put your note in an empty aluminum can. Set the can in your drive way and roll over it with your car until it smashed flat. Each time you roll over the can say to yourself, “I’m done with this situation.” When you have crushed the can flat throw it a way and “be done with it.”
These techniques are helpful for situations involving strong emotional attachments. Not every situation requires such an extreme measure, but we do need to maintenance our lives occasionally to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with the people, things, and circumstances that benefit us and the people we care about.