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Why is it important?
Let‘s be honest, for the most of us life is not a beautiful journey, but a pretty bad trip full of unpleasant experiences. Sometimes days, months, and years feel like we are consistently traveling through places called “degrading conversations”, “dishonest judgments,” and “painful breaks”. We often think of ourselves as unlucky, undisciplined, or not good enough for something better… However, changing our travel experience has nothing to do with discipline or weakness; we just need a little trick called “the art of letting go”. This blog describes five simple steps to integrate the art of letting go into your daily life.
Step 1. Recognize what bothers you
Do you know where your wallet is? Do you remember where you parked your car or left a bicycle? Normally we carry inside a lot of useful information, which enables us to move around, maintain our life, and look good. Interestingly enough, we might be totally puzzled with the questions: what is in your heart right now? What dominates your thoughts? Who can move you emotionally and in which direction? The ability to pose and answer these questions is essential. The sooner we recognize the answers, the easier it might be to let it go, if needed. Therefore, we should be mindful.
Mindfulness enables us to track what is going on in our minds and hearts. How to be mindful? Take a couple of quiet minutes to observe your breath, as you do so you will feel arising emotions and thoughts; track their connections and notice your reactions. Disturbing stuff is very annoying, you will notice it quickly and easily. The outcome of this observation is the next step:
Step 2. Understand why it is so disturbing
Let’s suppose you have a discussion with someone that does not make you happy because it does not fit your expectations or involves too many negative emotions. Please note, with this approach we do not create “a war” with a particular person in your private or professional life. Your expectations are your personal choices as well as your emotions are your own cognitive events.
Always reserve the right for someone else to have expectations, beliefs, and wishes in dissonance with your views: this is the basis of letting go. If you do so, you might act with kindness, while still keeping your own healthy boundaries and not letting the views of others degrade you.
Step 3. Cut it off with kindness
This step is normally a painful one. It does not matter how much we have developed self-knowledge and a loving-kindness attitude, we tend to stick to the persons and situations that reach us emotionally. To leave one’s mind without an object of unpleasant and/or pleasant thinking is the same as taking a toy from a child: it will protest and cry. So be prepared for lots of thoughts.
By cutting off I do not mean to splash a glass of wine into someone’s face. There are far smarter strategies to “cut it off”:
- a self-readiness to disconnect emotionally from the situation you are in (to feel this readiness you need to establish a connection with your own self – again you need mindfulness)
- a reorganization of communication with a person: it might be a change of roles, attitudes, or breaking up the usual way of reacting
and of course, the most radical, but sometimes the only possible solution:
- a full-stop of communication normally, this does not work in professional situations, so, at work try to practice the two above listed ways. It is important to note that as you cut off, do not blame a person.
Look at the process as your conscious choice, a chance to grow and increase your comfort zone. Childish behavior decreases our self-esteem, but conscious choices make us confident.
Step 4. Let the aftertaste run on its own
The trick is, the less mess you create leaving a situation, the less bad aftertaste you have. Explanations are very helpful. Whatever cut off strategy you have chosen, explain with kindness to a person what you plan to do and why you are doing so. Let’s say you decide to cut off an employer who did not meet your expectations. Explain your decision while avoiding any blame or offences.
Whether you write or speak, try to go through the following steps:
- begin with a positive experience you have had so far (there is always some positive experiences, even if you want to hate it all!)
- thank a person for this experience
- explain why your expectations have not been met and that you feel sorry about it
- be friendly, but confident while saying your decision – your conscious decision is a way to take care of yourself in a kind manner
This simple way of breaking up and cutting off will help you to avoid unnecessary inside burden, which might last much longer than any unpleasant situation and conversation to finish it. As you feel an aftertaste of the cutting off experience, try to observe it in the way you observe what is going on in your mind and heart. It is an ongoing process. The bad aftertaste will fade away with time and you will feel confident about your behavior; it was not childish blaming, but a respectful approach to one’s own life.
Step 5. Practice further with thankfulness
You will learn this by doing it. Life will give you further chances to let something go. Take care of your connections, cherish them, keep the doors open longer, but if it drives you down – let it go.
Try to memorize the 5 steps and to not slip into an unhappy mess. Remember to reserve a right for others to have expectations, beliefs, and wishes in dissonance with your views. It is not about shutting down your feelings and emotions but about letting them flourish in another favorable situation and leaving a painful one in an intelligent way.
Be thankful for the experience, it is always a precious gift. Back to travel experience As you learn to let go you will see that “degrading conversations” might be re-named to “misunderstandings”; “dishonest judgments” could be so often called “a speaker’s loud thoughts about themselves”; and “painful breaks” turn into “a chance to discover a brighter future” and “a release from the past”.
You don’t have to improve anything artificially to become “good enough” for a great life, the improvement will take its place with your mindful attitude towards yourself and others.
I would like to trigger and challenge your thinking with questions of selfishness and self-love.