“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” ~ Herman Hesse
Traumatic events leave an indelible mark in a person’s life, and if it involves the death of a loved one, it always changes something within you. When I was 17 my father passed away, and 18 years down the line my mother is still struggling to fill up the emptiness in her life.
A major reason for this state of mind is when a person holds on to past negative emotions, feelings, thoughts and doesn’t let go.
I often tell her to let go of all that doesn’t serve her but words aren’t enough when it comes to describing the whole situation. She’s a tough person to deal with due to her ideologies and limiting beliefs that stops her from enjoying the present and instead of dealing with her emotions, religion is what she resorts to as a temporary escape.
When you think about it, don’t we all struggle to let go, whether its related to a person, situation you are in or injustice, emotional abuse, etc.
Like the tight grip of an infant when it finds an object in its palm, we hold on to emotions and feelings without realising the debilitating effect it can have on us. Hence letting go becomes such an important and essential thing, if we don’t, we never will be able to elevate our minds and raise our consciousness.
Its far easier to talk about different spiritual experiences, or read about spirituality and self development, but it all becomes useless until its put in to practice.
Letting go is a cathartic and liberating act. If you are bottling up anything that is a hindrance from achieving your true potential or higher self, then here is what you can do –
1) Change your perception about a situation through cognitive reframing
“Sometimes letting go is simply changing the labels you place on an event. Looking at the same event with fresh eyes.” ~ Steve Maraboli
What if you can change your past? Yes, you read it right, cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that helps identify and confront negative or irrational thoughts and view it from a different and positive perspective. It will take a lot of practice to retrain your mind, but if you keep trying you will begin to view things differently.
2) Let the tears flow
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.” ~ Osho
Crying is not a sign of weakness but of courage. Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, found that emotional tears contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. When you cry, the tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress.
Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” Don’t repress your feelings, cry it out.
3) Writing to Heal
Pour your heart out in a personal journal or a public blog. Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health.
I use to write in my journal quite frequently about my innermost thoughts, fears and absolutely everything I perceived as unpleasant, during my early 20s. This process turned into a cathartic release that helped in healing. So allow yourself to feel. Write about what hurts you, what you have lost, or what you are afraid of. Let it go.
Disconnect to reconnect with yourself. Disconnect from everything, your mundane activities, your phone, social media, work, play etc., everything that you use as a tool to distract your mind from facing your thoughts. Generally time spent in solitude or in nature brings more clarity in thinking.
We know the effect of nature on the human mind. Nature is a wonderful teacher that shows us the link between letting go and growth. Just like a rose bush requires pruning to make it strong and facilitate new growth, similarly, we have to let go of the painful memories to be transformed.
5) Use Positive self-affirmations
Words and thoughts have the power to change our reality. The words we use shape not only our belief systems, values and feelings but impact our physical bodies on a cellular level; shaping the foundation of our reality.
How many times do we find negative thoughts finding home in our minds. By using positive affirmations you can occupy your mind with positivity. Retraining your thinking and speaking into positive patterns will change your life.
An affirmation is a beginning point on the path to change. In essence, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.”
When you consciously say positive things to yourself, you will learn to realise your self-worth, and be aware of your thoughts. This will help you eliminate things from your life that no longer serve you.
Write down affirmations on a paper and hang it next to your bed where you could see it every morning, and every night before going to sleep.
I am loved.
I love and accept myself.
I choose to forgive myself and others.
Every day I feel and connect to the beautiful spirit that I am.
I choose how I feel, and I feel amazing.
I am able to change my life for the better.
I see the miracle in every day.
I give up the negative emotions that have created a comfort zone for me — they no longer serve me.
Try these affirmations and see if it resonates. Research has supported the feel-good habit of self-affirmation, showing that it can boost well-being and also increase self-compassion.
The ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness, Ho’oponopono, is a beautiful way to restore harmony within and ‘clean’ anything in our life that isn’t how we want it to be. Repeating the words, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you,” allows us to take responsibility for any problem and enables us to express love and gratitude for the solution.
This makes us realise that the answer lies within us instead of ‘out there’ and our acceptance of this clears the damaging beliefs we have carried for so long.
6) Shamanic experiences
Experiences that take you out of your mind and into the deeper realms of your own consciousness, where everything seems crystal clear like a spotless mirror, such intense journeys helps you ‘let go’ and surrender to the divine source. It takes courage to open up closed doorways in your mind that you fear to enter, and only when you surrender can you witness the magic unfolding.
During one of my ayahuasca journey, I had a breakthrough experience where I could finally forgive my father for the turbulent/difficult childhood that I’ve had. It was a huge epiphany of sorts and at the end of it I let go.
I realised what it really means to finally let go, I felt light as a feather, as if a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders and turned out to be the most liberating experience that I’ve ever had in my life.
“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. And if you let go completely, you will be free.” ~ Achaan Chah
Meditation is one of the best ways to practice letting go. When you meditate, you observe your thoughts and sensations, when your mind wanders, you acknowledge it and Let It Go. It is difficult to meditate with all the emotional baggage and debris we carry with us all the time wherever we go, but when you get into that zone and manage to elevate your consciousness, all the excessive garbage begins to disappear.
Let go of fear. Let go of control. Let go of all concerns. Let go of all your responsibilities. Let go of all your needs. Let go of attachments, let go of all the grudges and negative emotions you might have against people who don’t deserve your attention. Its not affecting them, its affecting you. Don’t resist, open your heart, give in and surrender completely to the universal energy/divine consciousness that is waiting to embrace you…allow yourself to feel the joy from within. Plant a seed of love instead of hate.
When you let go rather than holding on to it, you become free to live in peace.
“It would be wonderful if you could recognize that your own attachment is the cause of every single problem that you experience.” ~ Lama Yeshe
Here’s a guided meditation to help you in this process of letting go –
8) Deep breathing exercises or Pranayama
Whenever your mind goes wandering during meditation, use a breathing technique like Nadi Shodhana to bring your mind to the present moment.
Do you know any other way to facilitate the process of letting go that has benefited you? Post a comment below –
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