When confiding in a trusted friend or family member about something that is bothering me, I am often told to just “let it go.”
“Yes, great, I would love that,” I think to myself. “But how exactly do I do that?”
We usually know when we need to let go, but what if we aren’t quite ready or we are really stinking mad and need to sit with those feelings for a minute? Sometimes someone suggesting we just “let it go” seems a little harsh and can anger us even more.
Being human means people will annoy and upset us, circumstances and situations will disappoint us, and we will be left feeling powerless at times. The good news is we don’t have to stay stuck. We can lean back into a more joyful, empowered state. We can feel peaceful. We can trust we are on the right path, and everything is happening for us and for the greatest good.
Here are some spiritual practices I regularly use to help me feel more joyful and bring me back to center:
1. Reframe what it means to “let it go.”
Instead of saying “let it go,” I now say, “Please take this from me.” This means surrendering our stress, frustration, disappointment, or whatever is troubling us to the God of our own understanding. This may look something like, “Wow, I am really judging this person, please take this from me.” Or, “I am freaking out about whether I am going to get this job/relationship/money, please take this from me.”
Acknowledging the presence of a higher power reminds us that we are never alone and always being guided and protected. When we are fearful, we have forgotten this and are relying on our strength alone. Let the universe assist you. It’s a simple way to take back your power.
Working as a freelancer, I live a lot of my life in limbo. I’m constantly in between jobs and up for big projects. I used to be in a constant state of fear, desperately trying to control outcomes. Stress and anxiety led the way—this is what’s known as a low vibration. It didn’t feel good at all because I was giving all my power away.
When I find myself getting caught up in why I didn’t get the job, why someone didn’t call me back or support me, or how I’m going to pay off my credit card, lose the weight, find a worthy life partner or even a parking spot in New York City, I stop, take a step back and ask a higher power to lead the way and work out all the details.
“Let it go” has new meaning to me. It isn’t about trying to pretend something doesn’t bother us. It isn’t about trying to control someone with our behavior. It isn’t fear or not caring. It is doing nothing and everything all at once: surrendering.
2. Acknowledge your resistance and attachments.
I recently received some feedback from a potential client that initially felt disappointing. My immediate knee-jerk reaction was, “I don’t want to do it that way. I shouldn’t have to jump through these hoops.” When I stepped back from the experience and realized how resistant I was being to this expert’s feedback, I felt a big shift. I was then able to interpret the feedback as a valuable gift—information that could be used to my advantage to make me a more attractive candidate, not just to this client, but all clients. It is also motivated me to take inspired action and create my first online course to help others design more fulfilling and purpose-driven lives.
I recognized how I was being resistant to reframing this feedback and trusting solely on myself, instead of allowing a higher power to guide me, and trust that this “rejection” was actually a good thing, leading me to an even better opportunity.
Often times, we are so attached to wanting to work with a particular client or be in a relationship with a certain person that we cause ourselves unnecessary pain. As Buddhist teachings explain, “All suffering comes from attachment.”
A big step in letting go is learning to detach, rather than grasping onto a person, job, or situation that we think will make us happy. When we become aware we are behaving this way, we can adjust our thoughts and release expectations. We are all going to fall off the path, that’s a given, but what matters is how quickly we come back to center.
3. Choose stillness.
Our willingness to see things differently is everything. When we are willing to choose love instead of fear, peace instead of chaos, and stillness and non-reactivity instead of anger and attack, we will create the space to become more deeply fulfilled people.
When we are triggered, it can be very painful, but it is also a beautiful opportunity to expand and grow into a more enlightened person. We do this by disciplining our minds and choosing stillness, peace, love, forgiveness, and compassion—even when we feel tempted to judge, blame, criticize, attack, or feel unworthy.
Sometimes that means admitting to ourselves that we are not enlightened enough to not feel angry or insulted, but we are enlightened enough to know not to send that text or email or make a phone call when we are in that place.
4. Create a new story/mantra for yourself.
Sit quietly in prayer or meditation, and affirm to yourself that the entire universe is set up for your good. Be aware and in awe of the blessings and miracles around you, knowing that the person, situation, or experience you desire will find its way to you. It could even be standing right next to you, and you just need to open yourself up to that possibility.
My mantra is: everything that could possibly contribute to my happiness is already here or on its way.
Author: Kate Eckman
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina