Letting go of the past is a skill that you can develop. Although it is somewhat abstract, the skill of letting go is practiced with a few simple tools and a lot of patience.
Everyone has something they need to let go. It may be resentment toward parents, a grudge against an old friend, an embarrassing memory from work, a fear that will not subside, or a negative attitude.
If you feel that something is standing between the life you have and the life you want, chances are you are holding onto something that you need to let go.
The method for letting go is simple; however, it takes time to develop. You need to be patient with yourself.
It seems easier-said-than-done; but if you stick with the practice of letting go, over time you will feel lighter and more free, and your day-to-day life will reflect that.
Read through the method below. For convenience, the term “gremlin” is used to describe “thing you need to let go of.”
First, you need to identify the gremlin.
This is easier than you think.
Whenever you are confronted with a person or situation that makes you angry, scared, embarrassed, defensive, jealous, etc., take a moment to recognize the feeling. That feeling is a manifestation of a gremlin.
Next, go a little deeper. Ask yourself, “What is causing this feeling?” or “Why did this gremlin appear?”
Can you identify a grudge, an event, specific words, or a judgment?
This is also typically easier than you think – it is simply a matter of putting your pride aside and being honest with yourself.
Think critically about the cause of your feeling in order to fully understand the gremlin.
When you fully understand the gremlin, you give yourself the opportunity to calmly detach.
Detachment is the process of disassociating your emotions from the gremlin.
Do not angrily force the gremlin away. Do not “rid-yourself-of-it-once-and-for-all.” Do not scold yourself.
Instead, look upon the gremlin from a third-person perspective. Do not allow yourself to communicate or engage in any way with the gremlin. Just watch the gremlin kick and scream, demanding your attention; but do not give it such satisfaction. Just observe the gremlin and recognize it as something separate from you.
This skill takes practice, which requires patience.
Detachment is the most difficult part of letting go; but, it must be done in order to free yourself of emotional bondage.
When you truly detach yourself from the gremlin, you are able to easily let it go.
Letting go means setting the gremlin aside and looking away.
In your mind, imagine that you are holding the gremlin in your hand. You are emotionally detached from the gremlin and look upon it as something separate from you. Although the gremlin is kicking and screaming to get your attention, instead of giving it the satisfaction of your time and energy, simply place the gremlin down on the ground beside you.
Then, look away and offer your attention to something pleasing. This is very different than simply distracting yourself.
If you do not take the time to emotionally detach yourself, but allow the gremlin to exist as part of you, your only strategy is to distract yourself from the gremlin by engaging in thoughts and activities that are more powerful.
However, this is exhausting. It is much more energy efficient and emotionally efficient to detach and release peacefully.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being angry. Stop the jealousy. Stop blaming.
When you are confronted with a person or situation that instigates such feelings, do not react. Acknowledge how you feel, but view those feelings as something separate from you.
Take the time to understand why the feelings arose. Know that since the feelings came from somewhere, they can return to that somewhere; like a ball that was throw up into the air.
Work on detaching yourself. Have patience. When you truly view your feelings as something separate from you, gently set them down and look away. Do not try to distract yourself from your feelings.
Take a leadership role in your mind by actively detaching and setting aside thoughts that do not promote health and happiness.