We hear the phrase “let it go” so much during these times. What does it really mean to let something go? How do we know when we have let it go and what does the process feel like? Letting go does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean squandering the feeling so far down that it gets lost inside you. To me, letting go of the past is actually the acceptance of pain. It is the willingness to feel that painful part – to be with it and acknowledge its hurt upon you. To grieve the absence of someone, to feel the hurt of a memory that was once tucked away, to acknowledge that you are partly made up of a series of experiences and emotions that go with those experiences. Let pain be what it needs to be – let it wash over you and let yourself feel sad. This is actually the door opening to let yourself feel free.
Releasing these painful experiences does not mean that they are forgotten. It is not your hurts laying dormant awaiting your awareness and acknowledgment. To “let go” or release, means that your pain no longer holds the same intensity and activation within you. Yet we are also human – so it’s natural and totally ok to feel activated sometimes. It’s all part of the process – if you tune in. Your pain likely won’t dissipate in one fell swoop, it takes time and tears, and more time and patience. Grief comes in stages and isn’t linear. Keep being kind to yourself – tell yourself the things you would tell your best friend. Build up your confidence and celebrate your successes. Keep at it. Keep going. You got this.
When we see painful experiences as a doorway to healing, this gives us power. We can choose to take this opportunity to truly heal, or we can try and outrun our pain (which never really works). You can’t outrun yourself and so you cannot outrun your pain. If you try and pretend your pain doesn’t exist you give it the power to rule you. See your pain for what it is – look it in the eye and face it. You will take your power back. The process of letting go may takes days, weeks, months or even years for some things. That doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it everyday, but be available and willing to make space to feel what comes up for you when it does. Sometimes we sink into our pain for a bit, and that’s ok too. As long as we know how to get ourselves out. As long as we can bring ourselves back to the present and remind ourselves that things are ok now. We need a lifeline out of our pain. Allow gratitude to play a part in your letting go. Gratitude for the lessons you learned, the gifts you have been given to cherish forever. Gratitude for your resilience through it all.
Trust that letting go takes time. Our bodies have a way of healing that we will never completely understand. Painful emotions have a way of showing themselves at exactly the times we need to open new doors to new places, new joys, new chapters. The ending of something is a gateway to the beginning of something else. That is something we can be sure of. For those who want to grow, pain is inevitable. For those who seek their purpose here on this planet, growth is inevitable. Remember – on the other side of pain there is joy – you cannot appreciate one without having experienced the other.
Letting go is messy and difficult. To tell you the truth I don’t think anyone has the perfect recipe for it. We are just trying our best to move forward and enjoy what we have around us in the moment. Keep coming back to the moment. Trust that you are doing your best right now, and that you did your best with what you had available to you before. Live with integrity and believe that you always have. Things have a way of settling with time. Trust this. Things have a way of being ok. Things have a way of being better than you thought. Or not. But we keep believing either way.