When we lose something or someone, we tend to go through a difficult process of grieving and learning to let go.
The process of letting go can be traumatizing. It can cause you immense emotional pain.
With that in mind, learning to let go of connections, cherished friendships, thoughts, anger, embarrassment, unwanted behaviors, shattered dreams, and toxic environments can boost your happiness.
Why? Because when you learn to let go, you are embracing change.
In addition, you’re able to take care of your mental health and overall well-being for the sake of your growth and peace of mind.
Unfortunately, most of us do not know how to let go of unpleasant thoughts and experiences.
You may not know how to let go of someone or something due to:
- Fear of the unknown
- Guilt or avoidance of guilt
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of conflicts
- Fear of appearing disloyal or unfaithful
- Lack of self-belief
- Over-responsibility towards others
- Irrational beliefs
If you have been trying to let go without success, this article will give you insights on when to let go, how to let go, as well as the benefits of letting go.
You will also learn what happens when you do not let go.
When to Let Go
First, it’s important to note that letting go does not mean you do not care about someone or something.
In addition, there is no right or wrong time for letting go. Why? Because we all have different experiences.
One person may take longer to get to terms with a loss or unfulfilled desires than the other.
With that in mind, a person with tough skin can be able to let go within days or even hours, but an overwhelmed person can take months.
Regardless of the kind of person you are, taking your time can make you feel more comfortable when you finally decide to let go.
That said, the process of letting go should begin when you realize you no longer have control over your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and impulses.
Therefore, signs that you need to let go include:
- You’re unhappy most of the time due to the person, event, or trauma
- You don’t feel comfortable being yourself
- Your anger or sadness is uncontrollable
- You’re ever depressed
- You’ve noticed changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- You constantly have suicidal thoughts and ideations
How to Let It Go
Learning how to let go takes time.
It is a gradual process, but with willingness, dedication and determination, the process can become easier.
Below are helpful tips that will help you let go:
Make a Decision to Move On
To be able to let go, you need to make a decision in order to develop determination and willingness.
Making a strong decision can give you the courage and confidence to move on even when you encounter challenges.
Accepting to let go, in other words, can motivate you during difficult times, and help you remain focused during less difficult easy times.
Seek Professional Counseling
Talking to a psychotherapist is critical. Why? Because you are able to unravel the underlying reasons for not wanting to let go.
Your therapist can help you understand and address the uncomfortable and painful thoughts, emotions, and memories that are preventing you from moving on.
For instance, professional counseling can help you address feelings of fear, rejection, guilt, dependence, irrational beliefs, and anger.
In addition, counselling and psychotherapist can equip you with new coping skills.
Be True to Yourself
Be honest with yourself by letting go of things that are causing you physical and psychological harm.
Step back and assess your feelings, thoughts, memories, environment, and your life in general.
Once you become aware of your thoughts and feelings about someone, something, or a situation, be true to yourself by expressing them in a positive and honest manner.
Do not hold back whatever is troubling you in order to please others.
Choose to be Positive
Sometimes, letting go means choosing to focus on something positive. For instance, when someone cuts you off on the road, take a deep breath.
Don’t start swearing, or hitting their bumper. Such negative actions can worsen your negative emotions.
Shift your focus to something else like the autumn leaves on the streets, the kid who’s helping an elderly person across the street, or listen to some music.
In a nutshell, learn to choose how you respond when things do not go your way.
Develop Realistic Expectations
It’s important to assess the expectations you’ve set for yourself. Are your expectations healthy or unrealistic?
If you realize that you’re been too hard on yourself, it’s important to change a few things in your approach to life.
Remember that healthy expectations are achievable and highly fulfilling.
Realistic expectations safeguard you against feeling drained and overwhelmed.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts and emotions in a journal can help you disassociate yourself with unwanted experiences.
In other words, journaling helps you see things for what they are. You gain more clarity about your situation, which can make the process of letting go much easier.
What is the Inconvenience of Not Letting It Go?
Holding on to painful experiences can do you more damage than letting go.
In other words, when you hold on to painful thoughts and experiences, you’re likely to suffer from mental health problems like depression, fear, anxiety, stress, insecurity, sadness, anger, worry, and insomnia, among others.
Moreover, you’re likely to suffer from physical health problems like high blood pressure, headaches, lethargy, loss of appetite, and unwanted weight loss, among others.
Socially, you might find yourself avoiding social connections and situations that remind you of an event, trauma, something, or someone.
Behaviorally, the chances of being drawn to the wrong people tend to be high.
In addition, negative thoughts can reinforce unwanted behaviors like drug and substance abuse.
You’re also likely to continue blaming yourself, particularly if you think you could have done something to avoid a loss.
What are the Benefits of Letting Go?
- Letting go frees you from emotional baggage. It allows you to deal with negative emotions such as a sense of loss, unrequited love, or your sense of attachment to significant others.
- It helps you to refocus in the here and now. In other words, letting go stops you from thinking about what happened in the past.
- The ability to let go helps you feel better about yourself and less trapped by what happened to you in the past.
- Letting go helps you accept the things you cannot change, which helps you alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, rejection, among others.