Updated: Aug 8, 2021
I've often read in many books that there is a power in letting go of certain things, especially things that may have happened in the past with loved ones. My family has said many times, "just let it go." Easier said than done. The truth is, it's really hard to let go of things at times. Sometimes the memories of very painful events or hurtful things that others have said seem to remain imprinted in the very back recesses of our inner minds. As much as we struggle to forget some of those things, sometimes it's always easier said than done. It may be so darn difficult to remember things that we did wrong, mistakes we have made and other things we wish we could just forget. But what if we could actually learn how to let go? What if we could actually practice it and teach ourselves how to take something that's so difficult to process and actually let it go? Here is an exercise that we can try doing whenever we get hung up on something that just keeps eating away at our minds.
Find a notebook (a journal if you have one, I've got one and it really helps me process things) and on a page inside, jot down these 6 simple questions (leaving a space in between each one):
What can't I seem to let go of? If you can't think of anything right away, spend a minute or two thinking of the last thing that happened that upset you or brought you down)..
When did this happen?
How did it make me feel? i.e. I felt hurt, insulted, angry, or frustrated.
Does it exist anymore? well, only in my mind, right? so the answer is no
Why does thinking about it matter now in the present? well, it probably doesn't anymore!
So can I just say goodbye to the painful memory and just LET IT GO? I bet the answer is YES!!
Now, it may take 6 steps and serious brain energy to reach our final answer but that's okay. It's worth the effort. We are teaching our brains how to think differently. Essentially re-wiring our brains to learn how to let things go!
The secret to doing this successfully relies upon 2 very important things: Your willingness to do this short exercise when you find yourself in the midst of that unpleasant thought, and 2) your willingness to believe that it can and will ACTUALLY WORK!
Here's a final tip. I have done this and I have found that it actually really does help me to believe in the power of my mind and the ability to just let it go. Find a sticky note and with a pen or pencil, write this down:
LET IT GO
Now stick it somewhere you always spend time from day to day. i.e. on a bathroom mirror, on your computer screen, or your refrigerator.
Give it a try. Chances are you will surprise yourself!