When was the last time you were 2000% annoyed / disappointed / hurt by something and someone told you to just “let it go”?
And did you?
No one in the history of forever has just “let it go” just because someone told them to.
What the fuck does that even mean anyway?
Let it go? Just like that?
It’s not a balloon!
Here are five sweeter things you could do instead:
1. DON’T let it go.
Let yourself stew in it – whatever ‘it’ is. Get reeeeeeal cosy with what’s going on and let yourself fully feel and acknowledge everything that’s coming up.
Speak a loving someone who will witness and create safe space for you while the thing is still raw and while you’re still ‘holding’ it about it. Give yourself permission to rant, vent, talk it out with them. If you rather work through it on your own, journal it out.
The crucial thing here is not to just bypass yourself or try to shortcut the process by forcing yourself to ‘let it go’.
Give yourself permission to hold on to it for awhile. That can be more important than dropping it this minute. Which leads us to…
2. Delve deeper
Usually the thing that’s irking the shit out of you isn’t the thing itself. Dig a little further and try to find that deep-down wound that’s actually been blistered apart by this thing.
Maybe it’s triggered an old trauma; or it’s hitting a place where you feel particularly insecure, inadequate and vulnerable; or it’s bringing you some old unresolved stuff in your relationship with that person.
When you get a little clearer what it is that’s actually hurting (and why), it’ll be easier to address that and the external influence of whatever has been said or done to you will feel a little less strong.
3. Separate what’s yours and what isn’t
A lot of time, we’re not able to “let go” of something because we’ve somehow absorbed that issue as “ours”.
Someone’s (inaccurate, horrible, hurtful) opinion about us = we are shit.
Someone did/said something shit to us = we now have to take that on and fix/change it.
Something undesirable happened = we take on the burden of making it better for everyone / absorb the guilt for having let it happen.
Separating what’s yours or not is about seeing what you actually need to take on or not.
In many instances, that thing at the heart of whatever you’re dealing with (or what someone did) is not your responsibility to fix.
So, for example, if someone reacts badly to you and says something crappy, give the responsibility back to them for their reactions and for the garbage coming out their mouth.
Often, the shit things that people say or do are a result of their own issues and unresolved crap that they’re projecting onto us. And we sure as heck don’t need to take it on as ours.
4. Remember the good stuff
I know, I know, it’s hard to do this when you’re embroiled in the feeling and when you’re gripping on to That Totally Shitty Issue. But even as you work through the grime, try to also remind yourself of the good stuff that is still happening around you.
I’m not just talking about things like ‘Oh, the sun is out today’ or ‘I’m grateful for my nice home’ – things which can feel totally unrelated to what’s going on with this thing.
What I mean is recalling and affirming the good stuff about you – which can help counter and negate, to some extent, the untrue, difficult things being done to you and that you’re having to deal with.
So, it’s stuff like:
– your capabilities and strengths to get through this thing (as you have done, with many other hard-to-let-go things before)
– your full-on independence and power, that doesn’t (need to) rely upon the opinion and actions of other people
– all the amazing, loving, generous, kind, full-hearted things you have done and continue to do, that cannot be undone or replaced by whatever it is you’re confronting right now
And finally, 5. Let it go away its own
Sometimes things need to process and move through you in their own time. Willing yourself to let it go right now will never work and you’ll only get more entrenched in it.
Allow the thing to be there, while you work on some or all of the points above, and trust that it’ll move away in its own time. Without forcing, the intensity of feeling will abate and one day, you’ll think back to it and realise pfft… that was total nonsense.
The key thing across all of this is not to force yourself to ‘let it go’ – or beat yourself up for not being able to let it go at the snap of a finger.
(I’ll say it again: NOBODY in the history of human beings and language has ever fully ‘let it go’ just because someone told them to).
Work with the thing, be curious about what it’s trying to tell you.
Give yourself (and the thing) a little – or a whole heaping dose – grace.
Know that, like it is with most things, giving it lots and lots of loving time and space while you allow it to just be is what will help it dissipate on its own.