Two incidents, same suggestion — “Let it go.” But how? The first situation was in my yoga class. As we were lying on our mats, deeply breathing in and out, our instructor said, “Breathe in light, energy, abundance, and joy.” That’s a nice image. Then she said, “Breathe out anything that you need to let go of.” That’s another nice image. But how do we really do this?
The second situation involved a friend who was not invited to a wedding. Apparently half of her dinner club was “in,” and half of her club was “out.” She was “out.” Her own advice to herself was “let it go.” But how do we really do this?
Maybe you can relate to some of these “I need to let it go” scenarios. Here’s another example. You chair a meeting and say something you instantly regret. You send an e-mail to the participants saying you wish you had not shown your anger. Even after you’ve tried to resolve the situation, you’re still fuming or judgmental. Here are some suggestions on how we can “let it go” and move forward.
According to Sylvia Crane, in her book The Art of Letting Go, “Becoming fully immersed in what you’re doing, called mindfulness in Buddhism, is a very good way of letting go.” In other words, concentrate on the present.
Separate from reality by becoming a telescope on the ceiling. Look down at the situation that’s driving you nuts. Ask yourself, “Is this worth my aggravation?” “Do I really care about this?” “What’s really going on here?” “How can I fix this?” “How can I make this better?” “Will this even matter in six months?” Congratulations. You’re detached enough to maneuver through possible hurt feelings and figure out a course of action.
In a recent movie I saw, the mom tells her adult son to laugh about something he is unhappy about. She reminds him that laughter is the best medicine. His response, “Well, I must have been the placebo in that control study.” Is there anything funny about the issue you’re trying to let go of? If so, laugh. If you’re feeling like the placebo group, try to fi nd the humor. It is the best medicine.
Sometimes you just have to move forward without a sense of resolution or even justice. What do you need to accept in order to let it go?
As much as I hate to admit this, letting it go means admitting you’re wrong or that you helped create an uncomfortable situation. Ask, “How did I help cause this problem?” “What responsibility do I need to take?” “What can I learn from this fiasco?”
In The Art of Letting Go, Crane suggests, “Letting go is simply making a decision.
Life is a series of choices on how to behave. Often we make these choices automatically, without really being aware of what we are choosing or why. But no matter what anyone does in any aspect of their life, it is still a choice they have made.” We all have the choice of whether we want to dwell on or let go of any given circumstance.
Here is some age-old wisdom. Sometimes it just takes time to let go. When my mother died, I thought I’d never get over the loss. It’s been a number of years now. Where I used to feel such pain and sadness, now I recall only her humor, gusto, and strength.
Listen to Laurie
If all else fails, listen to my friend Laurie. When I complain to her about this or that, she says, “Get over it!” Find someone like Laurie. Don’t complain to the world at large. Find some dear friend who will listen, commiserate, and then tell you, “Get over it!”