As humans, we tend to be quite possessive about everything we own – be it material, or emotional possessions, even people which is why letting go is extremely hard for us. The thing to remember is that pain would not reduce if you keep holding on to it and replaying the past in our heads over and over again is not going to change it.
From my personal experience, I have seen that I tend to hold on to old clothes, small trinkets that I am emotional about, sometimes even water bottles, old broken pieces of jewellery, pair of sandals that I haven’t worn in over a year, stressful situations I’ve been through, success, failures and most of all – people in my life.
In Yin Yoga (which I practice and teach as well), there is always an element of letting go associated. We should allow ourselves to feel the pain or any emotion completely. When we try to stifle our feelings, it affects us and everyone around us. The idea is not to focus on the pain but to breathe through it. The more I try to work against the pain, the more intense it becomes. If I allow to let it be and breathe through the sensations, the intensity reduces. Same goes for my more recent experience of Cupping Therapy. The more I resisted, pain kept on shooting up. As I relaxed and eased into it, lesser I could feel it.
I am not saying it is an easy practice but the practice of letting go does help with a lot of things. In the process of letting go, you may end up finding yourself.
“Everyone wants to be a diamond but very few are willing to get cut”.
The most valued, flawless diamonds undergo many cuts to shine the way they do and every cut makes it even brighter. To shine bright like a diamond, you need to go through the tough tests life throws at you and get rid of any unnecessary baggage. Letting go is essential to the process of mental development and stability.
An interesting thing one of my best friends told me was – Unless you let go of the old stuff, how will you add new stuff in your life. An extremely good example would be a cupboard full of clothes or shoes where there is no space for anything new.
Another way to look at it is if we keep holding on to a person or our past experiences , we are not creating any space for a new person or new experiences in our lives. When we let go of our past experiences is when we start experiencing something new.
How to let go:
1. Keep the past in past: It means not to be influenced by your past experiences. If you visited a place a year back and had a bad experience, don’t think about it when you travel again. Being aware of yourself and your thoughts and pushing the negative thoughts away is a constant effort. Like everything else, it takes practice and patience. Practice gratitude (read “how to practice gratitude”) and develop a sense of trust as you progress.
2. Don’t be attached to the fruits of your actions: Your “karma” is only to plant the tree, whether you get to eat the fruits is not really in your hands. This goes for any situation and any person. Having no expectations whatsoever as there are no guarantees in life. You’ll definitely get an outcome, only it may not necessarily be as you expected. When that happens, it is important to respond rationally.
3. Believe in yourself: When a door closes, a window opens. It is up to you to look for it. Think “I can” and you will be able to achieve your goals. Do not be limited by what others think of you. You hold the power to prove them wrong. Self-love is hard. Encourage yourself the way you would a fallen child – “Get up again and play the game”.
4. Control only what you can: You cannot control other people or situations that come across your path. The only thing in your control is your response. Changing the past is not in your hands. Being present to be able to respond and make better decisions is. Only this may lead to a better future.
5. Do not look for approval: When you do something wholeheartedly, accept it yourself first. Trading authenticity for approval will not get you anywhere. As said by the famous author Oscar Wilde “To love oneself is beginning of a lifetime romance”. Do not try to “fit in” the crowd like sheep. Changing yourself for the sake of others when you are not convinced about it, is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Be the REAL YOU! Trust me, it takes time to find out!
I hope this article brings light and love to your life.
Stay fit. Stay gentle. Live consciously.