I’m sure you’ve had experiences in life that get right under your skin and for whatever reason, you just can’t or don’t want to let it go.
However, if you don’t learn to let things go then your mind and body gets cluttered, maybe even toxic. When this happens, you might start to feel overwhelmed, easily irritated, stuck and even depressed.
You’ll also probably notice that your mind isn’t functioning at its peak because unresolved issues can be distracting and also distort the way you think, feel and behave.
These issues are the emotional baggage that keeps you from spending your energy on more productive things. Let’s be honest, pretty much everyone has some form of baggage, but it’s just not healthy to hang onto it.
No one truly desires to be a victim of their past. Letting go is an empowering process that provides emotional and mental space to create the things you do want in your life.
Signs that tell you it’s time to let it go
Are you easily distracted with inconsequential tasks or issues rather than focusing on something more productive or worthwhile? Do you have trouble being present and staying focused on conversations, meetings, or the task at hand?
Here are some more clues that can help you tell if unresolved issues are blocking you mentally and emotionally:
- You notice you’re feeling anxious about something, but you can’t seem to put your finger on why.
Sometimes it helps to backtrack to the time when the anxiety started. Maybe when someone dear made a critical comment, or you felt like you could have done better at work…
- Have you noticed yourself complaining to people about something that shouldn’t be a huge concern?
Examples include little inconveniences like a rude stranger, a faulty stoplight or an acquaintance’s offhand comment about your looks.
- Do you keep imagining scenarios about what you or someone else should have done to avoid a problem?
This can be blown out of proportion by thinking how much better everything could have been if you or that one person had done something differently.
Basically there’s a lot of over-thinking going on and fear of judgment of self or from others.
You can read about eight, common, unhealthy thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and mental health here.)
Practical Tips for Letting ‘Stuff’ Go
There are a number of different tips and processes for letting issues go, but I believe the best results are achieved with a synergistic or holistic approach of working at the physical, mental and emotional levels. However, the most important thing is to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just managing symptoms or denying emotions.
Here are some tips to help you ‘let it go’ on a day-to-day basis.
1. Let go of personal judgment and control
- Be kinder to yourself and develop self-compassion. You can’t be good at everything and you’re not always going to get it right. Remind yourself that mistakes are an integral part of learning, and acknowledge the skills and talents that you do have. And remember, everyone has the power to be a loving, respectful person.
- Focus on things that you can control and take action to change the situation for the better. Oftentimes, we feel frustrated that some aspect of our lives is out of our hands. Learn to accept that we can never control everything. Instead, you can modify how you think, behave and feel when you’re faced with these types of challenges.
- Be mindful about whether you are reacting and possibly taking it out on yourself and others, or responding by taking some deep breaths and letting any angst pass through your system. Reaction is an unconscious protective mechanism, so remind yourself that you have the power to make a conscious choice.
- If you’re feeling stressed about a relationship, situation or responsibility take some time to reflect on why it’s stressful to you. Once you have greater clarity, spend 15 minutes journaling about how it makes you feel or brainstorming a solution.
Interestingly, our minds will come up with everything it can think of in about 15 minutes so don’t waste any time going over and over the same thing. We can often make things bigger than they need to be because we make assumptions and come up with all sorts of ‘what if’ scenarios.
- Have a healthy outlet. Exercise is a great outlet as it helps decrease stress levels while also increasing endorphins. If you don’t think exercise is helping you with unresolved issues, try more creative outlets like writing or drawing. This way you can channel any negativity you’re still harbouring in a safe and respectful way.
Who knows, your pain may end up becoming a masterpiece!
2. Let go of anger and be open to forgiveness
- Often we’re taught that it’s not nice to be angry rather than being taught how to feel our anger and express it in safe and appropriate ways. Keeping anger bottled up can make you unexpectedly lash out at people around you.
If it’s been bottled up for sometime then it might be wise to let the anger come out in spurts. You could direct the energy of the anger into interval training, a punching bag, yelling into a pillow, or any other physical activity that will help dissipate the anger at a physical level. You could use journaling or painting as another outlet to dissipate the anger. Often acknowledging the anger and saying out loud: “I am really angry about this because…” can help to release it.
- Once you’ve dissipated the energy of anger then decide whether it’s important to stand in your power and express your feelings etc to the person/s involved. It’s a good idea to visualise and imagine having the conversation with the person until you feel you can express yourself in an authentic and respectful way.
I have often found that simply imagining a conversation shifts the energy with that person.
- Practice compassion and empathy. Everyone makes mistakes, but these mistakes shouldn’t define your relationship with a person forever. By trying to understand the other person’s point of view and circumstances, you may find the compassion in your heart to forgive and let go of the anger.
Sadly, the only person who suffers from holding on to past hurts and resentments is you.
3. Let go of past relationships
- When reflecting on past relationships, be realistic and fair. It’s likely that it wasn’t all roses and it wasn’t all bad either. Acknowledge what you liked about your partner and what you learnt in the relationship. Trust that having that relationship has helped you grow and given you more clarity on what is really important for you to have a fulfilling, intimate relationship.
- Physically let go of the things that keep you attached to the relationship. Whether it’s that jacket he lent you on one of your dates or the framed picture of your first anniversary, removing these reminders from your present reality can help you come to terms with the end of your relationship.
- Pamper yourself. Losing someone is the perfect time to practice self-love. Allow yourself to feel grief, but in the end realise that you must learn to accept the situation. Honour your needs.
- Take the opportunity to fully connect with yourself and allow yourself to envision a new future with infinite possibilities. Trust that everything is happening in divine timing and perfection. Remind yourself of this regularly throughout your day.
- Write a farewell letter to your ex partner based on love, acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude. It’s up to you if you send it or not. By expressing yourself respectfully you can move on with grace and ease.
If letting go of issues were easy, no one would have hang-ups or emotional baggage! Experiences with strong negative emotions get hardwired faster and with more intensity into the subconscious mind as a protective mechanism. So, the reality is that learning to let it go and releasing unresolved issues can take time and patience.
Bringing the unresolved issue into conscious awareness and acknowledging the emotions you feel is key.
Think of unresolved issues like a child trying to get its mother’s attention: ‘Mum, Mum, Mum (pause), Mum, Mum, Mum.’ On and on it goes until the mother attends to the child.
Once you acknowledge and feel your emotions, you’ll be able to start letting go of your emotional baggage to feel lighter, clearer and full of energy again.
If you’re committed to letting go of old stuff, I have a number of transformational tools to help you. Some processes can take as little as 5 – 10 mins! Contact me for a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss how we can work together so you can let go of your emotional baggage – permanently!
I wish for you a life filled with love, confidence and a sense of freedom.
It’s your time to shine!
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