At some point in our life someone will have said to us “you’ve got to let it go”. Well-meaning as the advice may be, the idea of “letting go” can seem challenging, even unrealistic, but letting go is an attitude that can be cultivated by all and doing so can be liberating.
The pandemic saw the removal of the certainties of life, leaving us with an experience akin to having the rug pulled from beneath our 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 human interaction – was impacted. Anxiety rose as we tried to navigate experiences that were troubling and beyond our control.
As the pandemic recedes we find ourselves facing many new uncertainties. Adapting to the new normal of hybrid working, the cost of living crisis and political unease are part of our landscape, a reality we naturally try to push back against. But rather than helping, resisting our reality feeds an endless cycle of stress, rumination and even despair.
Recent experiences have magnified the inherent uncertainty of the human condition but amongst all the difficulty, they opened a door to a more progressive way of approaching these challenges. Perhaps it is time to “let go” of that which is beyond our control and get back on track.
When facing things beyond our control we can endlessly ruminate. This serves to increase stress without resolving anything. A more compassionate response is to 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 nuanced response to meeting difficulties.
When we face a challenge, we begin the process of acceptance and letting go by asking ourselves a simple question:
“Do I have any control over this situation?”
If the answer is “yes”, then you can decide how you want to respond, giving you a sense of engagement.
If the answer is “no”, then you can decide how you support yourself – 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 behaviours that compound stress and rumination, instead increasing our sense of 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 rather than avoid our difficult experiences. We nurture a stance that allows the difficult to arise without it triggering behaviours that sustain stress and unease.
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.
Wellbeing Partners are committed to helping people develop the techniques needed to cultivate “letting go” and offer a variety of workshops and courses that introduce and deepen these skills in a range of contexts.
Back on Track, Wellbeing in Hybrid Working and Recovery from Burnout look at developing resilience, choice and adapting in the professional context, whilst Mindfulness Sessions, Facing Anxiety and Flourishing and Managing Change look at the wider context of letting go and the emotional intelligence needed to find the strength to face uncertainty with courage and confidence.
If you would like more information on any of these sessions, please get in touch or enter your details below.
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