A Formula for Letting Go

DSC06366Emotional pain arises from holding onto past issues.

Letting go bring peace and contentment.

How do you do that?

Follow the 5 step formula below.

Know this before you begin: you have to go through the process. You have to do the work. You have to dedicate the time for yourself to do this.

Holding on keeps you stuck. Letting go frees you.

Step 1: Awareness

If you feel emotional pain on a regular basis, there’s a strong possibility you are holding onto some issue. Start with this post to increase your awareness . Decide on one issue to work on at a time – it always helps to narrow the focus and give yourself time to process the steps. Remember letting go is a journey, not a single action. Write down the issue you have identified in clear and simple words. Be specific.

For example:

  • I am not good enough.
  • I can’t live without my ex.
  • That armed robbery proves that I will never be safe.
  • I know the best way to bring up the kids.
  • I am better than my spouse.
  • I will never pass these exams.
  • I am fat and ugly.
  • I hate my marriage.
  • I’ll never get all my work done.
  • I don’t deserve a rest.
  • Younger, smarter people will take my job.
  • etc

Step2:  Process

Give yourself the gift of reflection. You need about two or three hours to really work through this step. You will need  journal and a pen that writes easily and smoothly.

Start by calming yourself down. You may want to stare at a lit candle or listen to soothing music. Breathe deeply and slowly for a few minutes. Now begin to write. Answer these questions:

  • How does holding onto this thought play out in your life?
  • Make a list of 50 to 100 examples in your life that disproves the thought. Do not move on until you are finished. Yes this is tough – believe me the evidence is there – open your eyes.
  • Acknowledge that there is some truth for and some truth against your thought. Acknowledge that the thought is jut a thought. See the devastating way that holding onto this thought impacts your life.
  • Write down an opposing thought. For instance, if you wrote “I am not good enough”, swop it for “I am absolutely ok”. Describe your life if THIS new thought was the one that occupied your mind on a regular basis instead of your original destructive thought. How would this play out in your life?
  • If you never ever thought this thought again – how would that be?
  • For more on this part of the process visit Byron Katie

Step 3: Identify learnings 

Take a break of a few days after Step 2.

Now schedule an hour of your time for journal work. As before, get yourself calm and quiet before you begin.Answer these questions:

  • What are the lessons that you have learnt from completing Step 1 and 2?
  • What have you learnt from your experience of holding onto this issue?
  • What have you learnt about in your whole life that will hold you in good stead as you move forwards?
  • Look at all the lessons you have written down. Which three lessons will make the most difference for you as you move forwards into your future?

Additional exercise: Become calm and quiet. Write a letter to your Future Self ( your self in twenty years time). Tell your Future Self about your experience of letting go. Ask him/ her anything else you need to know. Ask for some advice on how to proceed in the future. When you are done – take a twenty minute break.

Come back. preferably sit in another chair, write with another pen and if possible write with your other hand. Now write an answer from your Future Self back to the Present You.

Spend some time contemplating the advice from your Future Self as well as your three most important lessons. Picture yourself moving on.

Step4: Closing Ritual

Once again, make time for yourself and become calm and quiet. Reflect on the process that you have been through.

Tear out the pages in your journal from Step 1 and 2. Briefly read through them and remind yourself that this era of your life is past.

Commit to letting go and moving on.

Tear up those pages or burn them (if you have a safe way of doing so). As you do this, tell yourself repeatedly that you are closing this chapter so you can move on.

Tidy up your space. Put things away. Spend some time in gratefulness and hope for your future.

Step 5: Move on

 It can take a while to train your thoughts on this issue to stop arriving. For a while they may continue to pop into your head uninvited. Thoughts do that. This step is crucial so apply your determination to work with dedication for a few weeks.

Here’s what you do: every time a thought about that issue arrives in your head, notice it, say “Oh well” and then purposely focus on what you are currently doing. Don’t shout at yourself or get upset. Just notice, comment and shift focus. These thoughts will soon fade away due to the lack of air-time they receive.

That’s the formula: Awareness; Process; Identify learnings; Closing Ritual; Move on

Guess what? It’s work. It’s a process. It’s necessary.

Give yourself a better future: commit to following the steps and taking the time for you.

Now let go and move on.

Stand up and walk out of your history.
Phil McGraw

 

 

 

About Kirsten Long

Coach. Toastmaster. Prison-worker. Wife. Mother. Friend.
This entry was posted in awareness, Feelings, Happiness, Life Mastery, Thought Patterns. Bookmark the permalink.

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