Letting Go – How to Have More by Carrying Less

Letting go of memories and emotions can be challenging when we hold on to things from the past.  We’re going to talk about letting go of different things like experiences and people to help you move on.

Letting go is important to maintaining our well-being and moving on with life.  We all have experiences, things, relationships, and emotions that we hang on to that prevent us from moving on.  Letting go of these things can be hard but it’s possible.

What have you experienced that you can’t stop thinking about?  Are you in need of processing emotions and improving your coping skills to move on from loss?

What Is Letting Go?

Letting go is taking a feeling, an experience, or a memory that has affected you in some way and choosing to not let it occupy your mind any longer.  This can also refer to objects, belongings, and even people.

Letting go is releasing attachment and moving on from something or someone that is no longer needed in our lives. It involves being aware and letting go of emotions, thoughts, beliefs, relationships, or situations that may be stopping us from progressing.

Soaring birds in the sky - Letting Go - Gone Minimal
Soaring birds in the sky

Letting Go of Common Experiences

There are some common themes when It comes to things that we should let go of.  It’s not always something big, something traumatic, or even something momentous-it’s often the need to let go of the past, or of objects and things.

Letting Go of the Past

We all have a past, and good and bad things that have happened to us.  Sometimes we think about the “good old days”, how things “used to be”, even times when we were different somehow.  We’re no longer in high school, not as young as we used to be, and just not as fit.  We’ve got to let go of these things from the past because they will never be again.  Let go of the past and focus on now-you’ll appreciate these times more if you’re more present for them.

Letting Go of Objects and Things

Things are difficult for many to let go of-we tend to assign feelings, emotions, and memories to objects, making it even more difficult to let go.  We don’t need objects and things to remember good times and special people, we only need the memories.  When you let go of these things you can declutter, destress, and save yourself time in the long run.

Let it go! - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Let it go!

Letting Go of Relationships

We’ve all had to say goodbye to people who were important to us, and from different types of relationships.  It’s not always easy, but sometimes we just have to let people go.

Letting Go of Someone

Sometimes you have to let go of someone because they hurt you, they moved away, our lives changed, or someone died.  When you hang on to someone you leave a part of yourself behind, stuck in an unhealthy pattern, and can become unable to change things.  It’s important to your mental health to let go of someone and move on. 

Letting Go of Someone You Never Had

There will always be those people you can’t have.  They don’t want you, they don’t like something about you, or they project their own insecurities and create a flawed opinion about you.  You shouldn’t get hung up on what others think because it just doesn’t matter.  Be confident, be you, and let them go.

Couple standing in the sunset - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Couple standing in the sunset

Letting Him/Her Go and Moving On

You share your life with a special someone, and sometimes you’ve got to move on.  Feelings change, situations change, and people get hurt.  You’ve cherished feelings of love for someone, and it’s difficult to let that go.  Don’t get stuck on what that relationship used to be-you’ve got to let them go and focus on yourself.  When it’s time to move on, move on.

Letting Go of Emotions

Something most people don’t think of when we talk about letting go is emotions.  Emotions can have a huge effect on our memories, our mental health, and our ability to keep going.

Letting Go of Fear

What are you afraid of?  Fear is an emotion that can really get a grip on you and make it difficult to do anything.  Fear of something bad happening, fear of pain and loss, fear of loneliness and more.  When we experience fear, it can be a crippling emotion.  It’s time to take that fear and let it go. 

Man free jumping rocks - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Man free jumping rocks

Letting Go of Grief

Why are you grieving?  We experience grief when we lose a special someone, we lose our health, and when we experience any kind of loss.  We feel grief because we think of how things used to be and probably never will be again.  It’s best to come to terms with what you’ve lost, learn to adapt, and move on.  Let go of the grief and keep going.

Letting Go of Anger

What makes you angry?  Anger is an infectious emotion that changes people.  Anger is the result of someone hurting you, experiencing something you perceive to be unfair, when things don’t go your way, and many other things.  When you express anger you can change someone else’s mood and even their day-and that’s not healthy for anyone.  You can’t change things, so let go of the anger and move on.

Meditate in nature to release - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Meditate in nature to release

Letting Go of Love

What or whom do you love, and where have they gone?  Love is hard to let go of because of love.  There’s joy, happiness, and experiences only associated with love, rather than coworkers, friends, and strangers.  When feelings change, you must be apart, someone leaves or dies, you can’t allow yourself to be stuck in that time.  For your own health and sanity you’ve got to let go of that love and love yourself.

Letting Go and Moving On

It’s been said several times already, but letting go and moving on is the best route to success.  You’ve got to learn to accept the change or loss and keep going.

Letting Go and Acceptance

Everything changes, and you have to accept change.  Acceptance of this is the key to letting go.  Things will never be as they were before even if they may seem the same-we must adapt and accept in order to move on.

Barefoot walking on the beach - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Barefoot walking on the beach

How to Let Go

There is a process to letting go, with just a few steps that should be practiced in order.  Let’s look at this process:

  • Identify the source of fear, grief, anger, or love.
  • What feelings do you experience when you think about the person or event that brought on the emotions?
  • Forgive the hurt, accept the grief, control the anger, recognize the love lost.
  • Use breathing exercises to work through any anxiety or pain associated with the memories and emotions.
  • Repeat the process until any anxiety, negative emotions, or reoccurring thoughts subside and you can let go.

This process can help increase well-being, improve mental clarity, and assist with letting go in a healthy way.  You can do this.

This super helpful video explains the unstoppable power of letting go.

Related Insights:

Is Acceptance the Same Thing as Letting Go?

Acceptance is not the same thing as letting go, however acceptance is required in order to be able to let go.  We accept that things have changed, people have left, experiences have passed, and things have been lost, then we are able to let those things go.

Why Is It So Hard to Let Go of Someone?

It’s hard to let go of someone because for a period of time they brought us joy, love, and happiness.  We don’t want to lose those feelings, just as we don’t want to lose a special someone.  But sometimes we must move on and let them go to preserve our own identity and health.

waterfalls in the middle of green trees during daytime
Free flowing waterfall

 How Do I Accept the Relationship Is Over?

It can be painful, but accepting the ending of a relationship is important to your mental health.  If you are unable to be with someone, identify what changed (work, distance, feelings, etc.) and you may just find it a little easier to accept that change and let them go.  Learn to be happy on your own and something better will come along.

Why Is Letting Go So Difficult?

Letting go is difficult because there are feelings, emotions, and experiences involved.  It’s left a mark on your life and brought you where you are today.  It’s easier to focus on the memories and relive them than to let them go, but let them go in order to move on is what you must do.  There are new experiences awaiting you if you’re willing and able to let go of certain things.

Don't forget to smile - Let It Go - Gone Minimal
Don’t forget to smile

A Few Things Real People Have Trouble Letting Go Of

I asked some family and friends to list 5 emotions, relationships, things that they’ve had trouble letting go of.  Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:

High school sweetheart3
Favorite job2
Best friend3
Childhood toy2
Children’s belongings4
Bad/traumatic experience2
Serious illness3
First home3
First pet5
Pregnancy loss3

Other Resources:

Letting go can be difficult, but it’s a part of everyone’s lives.  It’s a process identifying those feelings and emotions tied to things and memories, but the process can help you move on.  Letting go and living your life is much more fulfilling and enjoyable than living in the past!  Your future is waiting for you.

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