Spring is here and to me that symbolizes so many things wrapped into one- more sunlight, warmer weather, runs along the famous Central Park Reservoir, longer days, birds chirping, beautiful flowers and of course the good old spring-cleaning! There is no in the middle for “spring-cleaning” you either “love it” or “hate it”. Some people thrive on “spring cleaning” and feel a sense of harmony when they begin to get rid of items that no longer serve a purpose in their life. On the flip side, there are some that dread the notion of throwing away anything, these people are often known as “hoarders” which in extreme cases can result in an unhealthy living environment. This year my spring cleaning has been different, in fact it’s more empowering, invigorating, blissful, positive, and has brought happiness to my life. I’m talking the spring-cleaning of one’s mind and soul known as the concept of “letting go.” This concept sounds so simple on paper, but in reality it’s probably one of the hardest things as humans we actually put into action and follow through. This is reinforced by the ever growing statistics and propaganda within our society- just pick up any tabloid and the same so called celebrities are failing to make a clean break from rehab for good, take a look at the increasing numbers of functioning alcoholics that are around us, the rising abuse of prescription drugs, the 40 million adults in the USA suffering from anxiety, increasing cases for adultery, eating disorders, surging epidemic of obesity, and list goes on. The number one thing that all of these situations have in common stem from one’s inability to “let go.” It could be a painful past, trauma, verbal or physical abuse, low self-esteem, fear of the unknown, fear of being true to your needs, or fear of making mistakes.
A sufferer of severe anxiety and extreme worry over the course of my life I never knew how and when to “let go”. I held on to toxic relationships that had no value and did not understand why it took me so long to part ways. I was programmed in my mind that my self worth depended on how others viewed me, and defined myself through roles and relatiohships, so when it came to letting go it became more like Mission Impossible. I people pleased until I was blue in the face with people I didn’t even like, and was my own worst critic when it came to making mistakes and holding on to my past experiences as a means of how I reacted or dealt with a situation. It wasn’t until I learned how to take the concept of “letting go” and apply it to my own life that I actually saw the transformation within. It has helped me create a stronger mind and body connection, which has created a healthier space for myself in the present. I no longer feel the need to hold on to anything that no longer brings happiness, and can face my fears without getting consumed by it. That’s why I’m sharing some of my ABC’S to make this year’s spring-cleaning a more pleasant one internally. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful…Let's start....
Accept you have the choice to let it go. Make a commitment to let go whatever is preventing you from moving forward. You have to make an effort to move forward and stick with the idea of letting go of whatever you want to get rid of.
Be willing to express the pain, hurt, or fear of what you’re holding on to. Whether it is through writing in a journal, to the other person, or to a therapist or support group. To stop reliving the past you need to feel the emotions and express the pain.
Change into taking accountability for your actions and out of the role of the “victim”. It’s easier to blame others for your action, and manipulate the situation. Remember being the victim role removes you from making the choice to change how you feel. You are in always charge of how you feel and no one else is responsible.
Don’t define your internal happiness based on people, material items, circumstances, and things. If your life is solely dependent on relationships, other’s approval, accumulation of wealth and other material items when these things disappear there’s a greater chance of a melt down occuring. Often times when one attaches their happiness to these things and holds on to them for dear life is when anxiety, depression, and sadness occur. When these things are no longer present they are very empty. It’s important that you define who you are as individual and separate yourself from attachments.
Everyday turn your mindset into the present. It's important to stop looking at the past and reliving it. You can’t change the past so move forward. Focus on the moment and when past memories trigger fear or feelings of trauma or pain acknowledge it and feel it, and then talk yourself into the present saying that was the past and you are a new person in a new moment, and it has no direct impact on you.
Forgive yourself and forgive others. Stop holding on to anger, and resentment from the past. Although we can forgive another person’s bad behavior, does not mean you have to forget another person’s bad behaviors, or let them back in your life entirely. You can forgive and love people from a distance. I do think forgiving one's self is a way of letting go of any shame or guilt deep within, and there is no reason to keep on replaying the same situation over and over again
Go with the flow of life, and let go of control. This has been something I still struggle with. When you stop trying to control situations, people, outcomes, and events is when the beauty of “letting go” starts to take place. Removing expectations from others and trusting in the process whether you believe in god or a higher power everything will be all right.
Have a definition of yourself in fluid terms. This goes back to the point of not defining yourself through attachments like possessions, roles, and relationships. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change.
Interact with lots of people and be open to all types of individuals that come into your life. Don’t limit yourself to a clique or a certain type of person. Being more open towards different people from all walks of life will change your perspective to one of gratitude and will allow one to be less judgmental towards others and most importantly yourself.
Just friend yourself! It will always be harder to let people go when necessary if you depend on others for your self worth. Learn to be your own best friend, and find out what makes you happy vs. other people. Take time to foster your own interests, and ones that nothing and no one can take away.
Know you can’t change the past. When you start thinking about the past remind yourself that you can’t change it so shift your thoughts into the present.
Learn to love instead of fear. Holding on to the past has to do with fear, and prevents happiness. Focus on what you love doing and what will create happiness instead of worrying.
More responding versus reacting. I have learned a lot of “letting go” relates to how we react to situations or triggers from the past. Learning to respond in a mature and effective way to communicate rather than reacting to any drama shows healthy signs of “letting go”.
DISCLAIMER: The nutritional and well-being information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional nutritional or medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or health condition.