At some point, we have all been hurt – emotionally, physically – experiencing some kind of pain or disappointment. It hurts. We get let down. We feel pain. I get it. Trust me – I GET IT!!! But, what you DO with that pain is what is most important and so is the need to let things go if we want to reach our true potential.
The “it” we need to let go of will be different for each of us. For some of us, it may be hurtful words while for others it may be the loss of a love one. The “it” for others may be losing a job and the inability to find a new one. “It” may be physical abuse, a breakup, the ending of a friendship. For others, it may be self-inflicted pain from feelings of failure in some aspect. Whatever the “it” is in our lives, we have to let it go if we are going to reach our potential. The “it” is only holding us down, keeping us back, weighing down our ability to accomplish the Master’s plan for our lives.
Blaming others is not the way of letting go of “it.” Yes, someone may have wronged us or did something wrong and we want them to apologize – we want them to acknowledge they did wrong. Nonetheless, the hard truth remains, we cannot blame others for our “it.” Holly Brown says this, “The problem with blaming others is that it often leaves you powerless.” This is not to go about saying that your feelings are not legitimate – they are real and you have a right to feel the way you do. It is important to feel them fully but then you have to move on.
Holding on to our “it” only opens us up for the opportunity to relive the pain over and over again and even get stuck in the feelings surrounding this “it.” The first step in letting go of “it” is to identify what the “it” is that we are holding on to. Write it down as clearly as possible because when the problem resides only in our heads, it takes up more space while internally growing into a size bigger than it truly is. Get the problem out of your head and onto paper – making the problem clear. The only way to create joy and happiness in our lives is to make space for it.
Next, make the decision to let “it” go. The problem won’t disappear on its own. It requires a commitment. Without this conscious decision, the end result will only be a self-sabotaging effort in moving on from the “it” holding you back. Making the decision to let “it” go also requires accepting the responsibility that you have the choice as to whether or not you let “it” go – to stop reliving the past, to stop feeling the pain, to stop reviewing the details of “it” over and over in your head – the choice to no longer do and feel these things is up to you. You have a choice! You can CHOOSE to let “it” go.
The next step in letting “it” go is to express your pain and accept your responsibility. It is healthy to express our feelings and not bottle them up, as long as we express them in a healthy and unhurtful manner. Sometimes we need to express our emotions to another person directly. Other times, it is helpful to just get it out of our systems by talking to a friend or writing them out on paper. By expressing your feelings, you are allowing yourself to understand specifically what hurt you so that you can let “it” go. However, as we express our emotions, we also have to own up to our own role in the “it” in our lives – take ownership and responsibility for the “it.” Ask yourself what you could have done differently? How are you an active participant in your daily life? Will you let your “it” become your identity?
At this point, you have to stop playing the victim and blaming others. Playing the victim does not make our lives easier and our problem go away. Reality check – the world does not care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you are special. Yes, your feelings matter. However, you cannot confuse the fact that your feelings matter with the idea that your feelings should override all else leaving nothing else to matter. In every moment and situation, we have a choice: we can continue to feel bad about ourselves and our “it” OR we can start to feel good again. You are the only one who can take responsibility for your own happiness.
Now, it is time to focus on the present – the here and the now – and find true joy. Now is the time to let “it” go, to let go of the past and stop reliving it. To stop telling yourself you are the victim. Hard fact – you cannot undo the past and all you can do it live a life that makes today the best day of your life. When you start to focus on the here and now, you actually end up spending less time focused on the past. When your “it” tries to creep back into your mind (and they will from time to time), only allow yourself a brief moment to acknowledge “it” and then gently bring yourself back into the present. Sometimes a conscious cue makes this easier, such as saying to yourself, “It is alright, that was the past and I am now focused on today and my path to creating my own happiness by doing ________.” Remind yourself that if we allow our minds to be crowded by the “it” and the negative feelings they bestow upon us, we leave ourselves little room for the positive to proceed in our lives. You are therefore choosing to continue to let the “it” control your life rather than allowing yourself the chance to welcome joy and happiness back into your life.
The last step is to forgive – whether it is forgiving someone else or forgiving yourself. Reality is, everyone deserves forgiveness. At times, we get so stuck in our pain and own stubbornness that we cannot even allow ourselves to imagine the idea of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but it is a way to move forward. It is a way of tangibly letting our “it” go.
Nobody’s life should be defined by the “it” in their life. First off, it is not healthy. Secondly, it adds to the stress of our daily lives. It hinders our ability to focus. Worst of all, it impacts every relationship we have (even those who are not directly affected by our “it”). Every day you choose to hold on to your “it” is another day you are not allowing yourself the chance to reach your potential and ultimately find your happiness.