When It’s Not So Easy To “Let Go”

If you’ve been to a yoga class – or if you know a child who loves “Frozen” – chances are, you’ve heard the term “let go” or “let it go” a few times.

It’s usually said to us with good intentions – perhaps a loved one sees that we’re struggling with a dilemma, and after listening to us verbally rehash the problem, they gently prod us to “just let go.”

Yet, we continue fighting these bothersome situations with our minds, emotions, and yes, even our bodies.  (Ever feel super tense in your shoulders after a long day at work or a stressful argument with a loved one?).  Somehow, we think we can do something about the problem if we just think about it more, agonize over it again, or replay the frustration just ONE more time.

So if you find that you truly don’t know what it feels like to let things go when they bother you, don’t worry – you’re not alone!  (Yes, even you, seasoned yoga student!)  Part of the reason this phrase is uttered so often (so much that Disney felt the need to incorporate it into its canon of children’s songs) is that we ALL struggle with it.  Letting go is hard – period.  It can involve situations that vary in magnitude – from a hurtful comment someone said behind our back that got back to us, to the loss of someone incredibly dear to us.  Regardless of the form, it usually involves a loss of some kind – such as the loss of a loved one, a friend, a marriage, a relationship, a job, a sense of identity, or a sense of confidence or self-trust.  It often boils down to a need to reconfigure who we are in the midst of the loss – and it can take time.

So next time you are tempted to beat yourself up for struggling to get the “letting go” procedure down pat, remind yourself that it is a process – one that takes most of us decades to ease into.  And if you want some immediate relief, even if it’s just a little bit, try breathing in and out a few times while watching your inhales and exhales.  Yes, even just a brief meditation can help us detach, even if only microscopically, from our grappling with the issues bothering us.  Practiced over time, those microscopic changes, coupled with the larger breakthroughs we inevitably make, will add up to huge steps in our growth.