The Art of Letting Go – Successful Techniques for Happiness

There is an art to letting go-of belongings, feelings, memories, even people.  Until we know what it is that is hurting us, we cannot effectively move on and live a fulfilled life.

The art of letting go involves developing a practice of processing emotions then letting them fade away. This allows us to experience growth and development, while feeling open and free. One can identify the who and what, remember the emotions, then go through the process to let them go.

We have all experienced love in some form, as well as loss.  Have you experienced a loss that makes it difficult to cope?  We can help you process those feelings and regain those coping skills.

What Is the Art of Letting Go?

The art of letting go is the developed and evolved process though which one becomes better and processing emotions and then letting them pass. Learning how to do this can take time, and as with any practice, it often becomes more effective and easier to do, the more one does it.

Definition of Letting Go

Letting go means you take a memory, a feeling, or an experience that affected you personally and you choose not to let it occupy your thoughts anymore. It’s important to understand and feel emotions, learning from them, then allowing them to go so that new emotions can fill one in the present moment, and be truly felt.

A feather released in the wind - The Art of Letting Go - Gone Minimal
A feather released in the wind

Why Is Letting Go important?

It’s important to let things go because otherwise they cloud our judgement, our emotions, and our everyday thoughts.  Not letting things go can contribute to loss of sleep, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even suicidal thoughts in some.

What Does It Mean to Truly Let Go?

To truly let go of something is to acknowledge a thought/feeling/person, identify how it has made you feel, and make some action to get rid of it.  This can be done through mindfulness, self-care, and changing thought patterns to name a few.

Does Letting Go Mean Giving Up?

Letting go is not about giving up-it’s about regaining your inner peace.  But it is in a sense giving up-the negative thought processes and self-talk that you’ve probably used in regards to this feeling. As an example, giving up might be perceived as not being stong enough for or dedicated enough to something.

Letting go is being strong enough to know one deserves and believes in something better, and is grateful for the lessons of the past. As a visual, if one played catch and never let the ball go, the game wouldn’t really work. It’s in letting things go that we can try, do, learn, advance, and continue to let new things pass through us in a positive way.

Why Is Letting Go So Hard?

Letting go can be hard since we often develop habit or emotional reliances on patterns of thought. Like any habit, they become easier the more we do/think them, and so letting go also takes the energy one might use to develop a new habit.

That’s great though, since letting go also opens us up for new things, things that will likely be much more fitting for us, and better, since one now has the knowledge from the experience they have let go.

Is Letting Go a Good Thing?

It’s a good thing to let go because it allows us to take care of ourselves and find inner peace and strength.  Sometimes it’s not just feelings, it could be people or belongings.  This is all part of decluttering your mind to live more intentionally and meaningfully.

Is It Ok To Let Go of Someone You Love?

 Sometimes we have to let go of those whom we love.  People move far away, their lives change, OUR lives change, and people die.  If we don’t let go, then a part of us is always left behind or stuck in a pattern that isn’t healthy.  We have to let go in order to move on and maintain our mental health.

Why Is It So Hard To Let Go of Someone You Love?

It’s hard to let go of loved ones because we love them.  They have brought us joy, pain, happiness, love, different feelings and experiences than random people on the street.  We cherish those feelings and fear losing them, as well as our loved ones. As people we also tend to form an identity around loved ones, so letting go might mean losing your identity.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Why Is It So Hard To Let Go of Someone Who Hurt You?

 We associate loved ones with positive feelings, in addition to hurt feelings.  If someone hurts you, you either don’t want to let go because of those positive feelings, or you are angry that they hurt you and are struggling to let that pain go.  Some may even feel that a reciprocal pain might make them feel better, but that’s not usually the case.  As a loved one once told me, “don’t let them live in your head rent-free”.  

How Do You Master the Art of Letting Go?

Mastering the art of letting go takes awareness, and practice. Usually, being aware of something we need to let go allows us to focus on that. Through that awareness, we can practice our unique ways to process and let go of it.

As we learn more and do that over and over, in different areas of life, it becomes easier. Our ability to let go becomes stronger, and we learn and feel the benefits this technique offers.

Balloons flying high in the sky - The Art of Letting Go - Gone Minimal
Balloons flying high in the sky

What Is the Process of Letting Go?

There are a few steps involved in letting go, best practiced in the following order:

  1. Identify who or what hurt you.
  2. Examine the feelings you experience when thinking about that person or event.
  3. Forgive the person who hurt you, or realize the odds of the event happening again are slim.
  4. If you experience anxiety when thinking about the person or event, practice breathing exercises to calm.
  5. Repeat until reoccurring thoughts and/or anxiety have subsided.

Not only can this help you let go of something or someone, it can also increase your well-being and improve your mental clarity!  This is also a process to help rebuild your coping skills.  The ability to self-calm is absolutely priceless-especially when there is no real threat.

How Do You Let Go of Someone You Can’t Be With?

There’s a reason (or even a few) you can’t be with someone.  It could be distance, work, conflicting opinions, or differing beliefs.  Whatever the reason is, it creates conflict with that someone.  For your own mental well-being, let go of that someone who creates conflict and practice mindfulness. 

You might even try making a list of the reasons why you can’t be with that someone, and it could just surprise you how easy it becomes to let them go.  You must be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else.

Another reason you can’t be with someone is due to their passing.  In order to continue on with our own lives after a loved one’s passing, we must let them go.  Remember the good times, shared experiences, and how they made you feel.  Share their stories with others to keep their memory alive. 

But take the time to go through the grieving process and take care of yourself in order to move on and let go effectively.

How Do You Let Go of Someone Who Doesn’t Want You?

If they don’t want you, that’s THEIR loss.  Remember that!  That someone might have identified something they don’t like about you, or created an opinion about you that was basically them projecting their own insecurities on YOU. 

Be confident in yourself and who you are.  Be happy with yourself and don’t preoccupy yourself with what others think of you-it doesn’t really matter.  Let them go because they don’t deserve you!  YOU deserve so much more.

Letting Go of Lost Loved Ones

Focus on the Good TimesGood memories bring us happiness and joy.  Focusing on these helps us remember the relationship we shared with someone special and let go of them.  We must do this in order to find some type of peace.  Make a scrapbook, photo album, or video montage of some of the good times that were shared.  Post it to social media to share the memories with others, and once a year you’ll be reminded of them and the good times.
Remember what You Learned from ThemThere is something to learn from almost everyone who enters and leaves our lives.  It could be something complex like how to build a chicken coop, or even something simple like how to easily thread a needle.  Using these things we’ve learned and passing it along to others helps share the memory as well as the experience we gained from the special people who have graced our lives.
Celebrate Their LifeDon’t focus on the bad times or experiences, rather on the lessons learned from those times.  Celebrate what has been learned, what was accomplished, and who they were in life.  They brought something special to your life and the lives of others-so celebrate that!
Focus on Your FutureYou know the old saying, “hindsight is 20-20”?  Learn from the past and focus on the future having learned from those experiences.  Don’t dwell on the past, because “sailboats don’t sail on past winds” but on current and future winds.  Learn and grow from what you’ve learned in the past to grow an amazing future.  

Helpful Insights:

Don’t get hung up on “what might have been”.  You’ll only torture yourself with hanging on to someone or something and this will affect your mental health.  It’s so much better to let go and focus on your future.  You may not be able to see that now, but you will in time.

Here is a helpful TED Talk on The Power of Letting Go:

What does Buddha say about letting go?

Letting go of attachments and desires allows us to experience happiness.  Experience love and life fully but don’t cling to it for survival. The four noble truths: there’s suffering due to impermanent nature, attachment leads to suffering, giving up those grasps can end suffering, and we can end suffering through living with balance in the present.

Books About Letting Go

The Art of Letting Go – Bianca Sparacino, Kovie Biakolo, Maris Bagnato, Beau Taplin, Ellen Nguyen (2020)

Advice on love and relationships based on interviews and blogs written by people who have experienced a breakup.  This title can help you discover ways to let go and move on as you read others’ stories and identify with situations similar to your own.  Available in paperback and audiobook.

This is Me Letting You Go – Heidi Priebe (2016)

A cathartic text on losing love and letting go despite difficult situations and feelings of sadness.  This book will help you identify how and when we personally need to let go, along with permission to feel emotions related to the loss.  Some call it the “antidote” to depression, heartbreak, and abandonment.  Available in paperback and audiobook.

Big Heart Problems – Marisa Donnelly (2016)

Essays about falling in love as a twenty-something and losing that love.  You’ll identify with some of the stories as you laugh and cry at the stories and remember your own love and loss.  Available in paperback and audiobook.

Words of Wisdom – Some Art of Letting Go Quotes

 In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

 The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” -Steve Maraboli

 Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you.” – Shannon L. Alder

 We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

 I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.” – Robert Downey Jr.

 Life moves on and so should we.” – Spencer Johnson 

Other Resources:

Letting go can be hard to do, but it’s part of life.  Once we learn how to let go, it makes the process a little bit easier.  They say it takes time, and it does, but that time period is different for everyone.  Taking the steps to identify the loss, experiencing the process, and truly letting go is what helps us to move on and live life to the fullest personal potential.

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