Sometimes you have to let go of a loved one, for example after a separation or death. But letting go can also involve material possessions, ways of thinking or fears that you have to let go.
Letting go is a central step on the way to a content life:
Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.
Depending on who or what you have to let go of, letting go is more or less difficult. No matter what it is, letting go is always a challenge. Take the time you need, because letting go is very individual.
There is no shame if letting go is harder for you than for the people around you – or easier! Comparisons only lead to negative emotions. The only thing that matters is that you accept that there are things you can't control. Go at your pace, but go in the right direction.
Letting go actually consists of several individual steps:
- Accept the situation. What is within my control and what is not? Can I change the situation? If so, how can I improve it?
- Look for the positive. What is good about the situation? What can I learn from it? How will I look back on the situation one, five, ten, or thirty years from now, and what will I see differently than I do today?
- Focus on the positive aspects. The momentary feelings will pass, but the positive aspects of the situation will remain. In the future, you will feel very different than you do today. Focus on the good you recognized in the second step. When you catch yourself falling back into negative thought patterns, gently direct your attention back to the positive aspects.
- Change something. Mental shifts sometimes require physical changes, and vice versa. For example, a physical change can be a change of location (going for walks, meeting other people, travelling). A mental change is a change of perspective, for example, learning about other opinions or dealing with counter-arguments.
- Letting go and loving the situation. You have grown from the situation. You have seen the positive in the bad and have changed for the better as a result. There are no Hollywood-style farewell moments. Letting go happens quietly in the background. Sometimes you don't even realize that you've let go, but understand it only in retrospect. If there are setbacks, also recognize in them an opportunity to improve yourself. Don't focus on the result, but on the process.
- Repeat the steps. It is possible that the negative emotions will catch up with you again one day. This does not mean that you have failed, but only that you can still learn something. Repeat these steps and don't doubt yourself. Letting go will get easier with time, but the path of letting go has no finish line. Keeping a journal may help you with this process. The only thing that matters is that you are going in the right direction.