Editor's note: Given that it's a holiday week, we'll only have one post this week. And, given that the holiday we're celebrating is Independence Day , we decided that this would be the best single post we could share. Enjoy.
Sometimes it feels next to impossible to let go of the things that we need to in order to move forward, even when we know we must.
There’s a funny thing about a lack of letting go of something. Whether we’re harboring ill will toward another human being, holding onto something from our past that we can’t return to, giving up control, acknowledging we never had it in the first place, or self-forgiveness, this act of not releasing blocks us from other successes we desire in our lives.
I know this from experience. Many years ago, I started the process I’m going to share with you today. It has proven tremendously beneficial in my own life in releasing things that held me back. It all started with a list.
In the middle of a conversation with a trusted advisor, I was asked the question, “Who is it that you need to forgive?” I was baffled by the question because it had quite literally nothing to do with the topic at hand. Or, at least I thought it didn’t. You see, I had been trying to achieve something great in my life and I kept failing. I truly couldn’t figure out why. This question started me down a path that not only aided in me winning in that particular area of my work and life, but it has become a new life-pattern that carries with it far less anxiety, anger, resentment and judgment. I’m rather certain that none of us need more of any of that in our lives!
At that time, I topped my own list and there were a litany of things I needed to let go of and forgive myself for before I could move on to others. That may or may not be the case for you. Either way, the first thing to do is to make the list and make it comprehensive.
- What are you really holding onto? One way to get at this is to take a good look at your days and your negative feelings, judgmental or angered responses to people and situations in your life and think about what has caused you to react that way.
- Is there anything or anyone there that you need to release? Write it down and be specific. Who, when, why and what feelings come about when you think about this.
Of course, the act of putting the list down on paper is hardly enough. You must intentionally think about and walk through whatever it is associated with this event, act or person that caused you pain and make a decision to put it in the past and leave it there. One of my favorite quotes associated with this is, “Don’t ruin a good day today by thinking about a bad yesterday. Let it go.” — Grant Cardone
I recognize that this is far easier said than done. There were items on my list that I needed to intentionally state I was letting go of and then I needed to proceed with letting go of again the next day. Other items, I was able to reflect on, acknowledge them and move on. The most important thing is and remains in knowing where my (and your) emotional triggers come from and being able to much more rapidly walk through them in my mind and put them where they belong rather than bringing them into the present.
Before I was truly facing these things, I had allowed days, weeks, months, even years to go by where I remained trapped and frankly wrapped up in the things of yesterday. There were things I simply couldn't achieve because I would literally shut down ideas, stop communication, or talk myself out of something before I started it. I think we would all prefer to make today's decisions based on today's circumstances, and yet, we hold on. The act of holding on absolutely prevents us from seeing today's challenges or opportunities at face value and confronting them that way. Unfortunately, you must often make a return visit to things of the past in order to move forward in the freedom that accompanies release.
The act of intentionally releasing yourself and others can truly be a first step in setting yourself free to achieve what your heart desires. Make your list. Reflect on each item. Decide what’s next. Take action. You can do it – we can help!