27 April 2022

Letting Go

At some point in our life, someone will have said to us “you’ve got to let it go”.  Although the idea of “letting go” may seem easier said than done, it is an attitude that we can all cultivate and doing so can be liberating.

The last two years have been extremely challenging.  The almost total removal of the certainties of life was the equivalent of having the rug pulled from beneath your feet.  Everything was thrown up in the air and we had no idea how bumpy the eventual landing would be.  Every aspect of life – health, family, profession, finances and even human interaction – was filtered through the lens of the pandemic.  The constant uncertainty meant a lot of projection and anxiety as we tried to navigate experiences that were troubling and beyond our control.

We continue to live in a world of global uncertainty, regularly facing realities that we wish were not happening.  But resisting our reality feeds and endless cycle of stress, rumination and even despair as we rail against that which is already here.

In life we are always encountering uncertainty, in large and small ways.  The pandemic magnified the inherent uncertainty of the human condition but perhaps amongst all the difficulty, it opened a door to a more progressive way of approaching these challenges. Perhaps it is time to simply “let go” of that which is beyond our control.

When we face things beyond our control we often spend large amounts of time ruminating. This serves to increase stress without resolving anything. Instead, we can train our minds to accept our reality and let go – to respond with choice and self-care.

It is important to clarify that “acceptance” and “letting go” are not passivity.  It is not a mental shrugging of the shoulders, but instead a more thoughtful and nuanced response to meeting difficulties.

When we face a challenge in our life, we can begin the process of acceptance and letting go by asking ourselves a simple question:

Do I have any agency or control over this situation?”

If the answer is “yes”, then you can decide how you want to respond to it, giving you a sense of engagement.

If the answer is “no”, then you can decide how you support yourself through this challenge – to let go of that beyond our control. In doing so we do not give up on ambition, progress or affecting change, but we let go of those moments that compound stress and rumination, instead increasing our sense of calm and equilibrium. 

“Letting Go” is an attitude that is cultivated.  Mindfulness, anxiety management and consciously shifting our mindset are all effective ways of practicing acceptance and letting go.  They allow us to observe our difficult experiences without the need to fix or avoid them.  We nurture a mindset that allows the difficult to arise without it triggering behaviours that sustain stress and unease.  These approaches (that are further explored in a variety of workshops and courses by Wellbeing Partners – see below) can be easily woven into our day, giving us many moments to practice acceptance and letting go as the day unfolds, strengthening the habit.

This is the bedrock of an approach to life that ultimately gives us more choice over how we meet demands and challenges.  Each time we encounter experience with this attitude, we create new habits, behaviourally and neurologically, that become second nature over time. In doing so we expand our comfort zones and increase our resilience to difficulty. Letting go means growth, not retreat and the implications are massive.

To learn more about our workplace workshops such as Introduction to Mindfulness, and Navigating the New Normal, or our courses such as Facing Anxiety and Flourishing or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – please get in touch

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