Letting it (whatever ‘it’ may be) go is important for all of us. Sadly, it is a skill that many of us lose or forget that we have as we get older. My gorgeous granddaughter in the picture was really letting it go by way of a celebration. She was celebrating getting the bowling ball to go all the way down the lane when trying her hand at ten pin bowling! Celebrations such as this are a great way of letting go – for me, a goal at football is one of the most obvious of these – the raised hands, the yell –a great release, especially if at the game rather than watching alone on television. You are part of a mass response which adds to the adrenalin rush. A way of letting go that many are missing at present.
When, maybe for some, that match provided a way of letting go of work worries, relationship concerns, whatever. Instead, such concerns are being bottled up with possible results including mental and physical health issues if that bottle of pop feeling doesn’t have its usual release at our current time when the bottle seems to be being shaken far too often.
I celebrate in a similar way if I achieve something that hasn’t been easy – from a fist pump for completing a heavy task in the garden or decorating a room to a ‘well done you’ grin and ‘yes’ for a smaller task. I am well aware of the grading I have according to task length or difficulty – as well as the degree of procrastination that took place before I actually removed my digit and got on with said task! My letting go is often reinforced with a cuppa and if I’m lucky even a piece of cake!
For some of us, acknowledging we have done something well, even to ourselves, is not an easy task especially when we are our own harshest critic. I have talked about this in another post about valuing ourselves . We are often much more efficient and ready to acknowledge when we have done something wrong. Not only acknowledge this but beat ourselves up about it and continue doing this for quite some time. Really dwelling on what we did, what we should have done, how it was the worst thing ever, everyone else would have done better, what an idiot I am, how stupid I am and onward in that horrible negative spiral of self-contempt. So much more healthy to let it go and accept that whilst you are not perfect – and who is? – you gave it your best shot at the time with the knowledge, the resources, the time and finances available to you.
I recall doing a course on sports performance some years ago and being told of golfers who have set routines for how they handle their club or hand it back to their caddy after a shot. If the shot was a good one, then the action is one designed to set the shot in their mind, to remember it and add it to their internal bank of ‘well dones’. Bad shots – well, the action is designed to have the opposite affect and wipe it from their minds. Oh that some of us had similar actions, rather than resorting to getting out the metaphorical big stick to beat ourselves with for daring to have made the mistake in the first place.
ONE ROUTE TO LETTING GO
How much kinder and also more healthy to develop your bank of actions or sayings in support of moving on from whatever it is that is weighing you down, preventing you from moving on? This is something many a client has covered in their work with me!
Step one – let it go! Sometimes this can be as simple as a shoulder shrug, or maybe something more, something deeper, is needed. Possibly a good old yell, to really let it go, let it out big time. OK, the neighbours may wonder what is happening if you stand in your garden and yell or let rip in the middle of your house for all to hear. I admit to having gone to the middle of a field when I could feel things getting really knotted up inside. I stood in the middle, surrounded by cow pats, and really let go– I just yelled. It can be anything – sounds, words, whatever feels right. On reflection, it felt like a slightly more gutteral, less musical version of the opening to ‘The Sound of Music’.
Failing this, yelling into a pillow, and maybe pummelling the pillow works too. Using physical exercise – running, swimming, power walking, a game of tennis, whatever floats your boat. At present as many of these options are not open to you, check out the many You Tube dance and exercise routines available for you to use. Or simply put on your favourite music and dance like no-one is watching, sing like no-one can hear – come to think of it, this is the way of being for many of us at present, so we are actually at an advantage. How about that for putting a positive spin on what could well be a very negative experience.
Step 2 - Having set about letting ‘it’ go. Remind yourself that you did the best job you could at the time with the information you had and feeling how you were feeling. Nobody can ask any more of you than you did your best – so why should YOU ask more or yourself? Don’t compare yourself with others – don’t compare yourself with you on what was maybe a better day, at a time when you were feeling more positive, doing something entirely different. Repeat this message and you really do come to believe it... just as you believed the negative stuff, though that probably took far less repetition.
Step three – be kind to yourself. This is so often the hardest part, with the ‘shoulds’ coming along thick and fast. How I wish there was no such word as ‘should’ for us to beat ourselves up with. For many of us, being kind to ourselves is not only difficult, but doesn’t even come on to our agenda. So much easier to castigate ourselves and reinforce what went wrong. That stonking great stick again. LOSE THE STICK!
Step four - a hug. If there is someone available to give you a hug – go for it. A hug lasting twenty seconds releases the wonderful neurotransmitter and hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is a shy hormone, so go gently with the hug and let the flow of oxytocin begin. Not only is it the hormone released when we reach the amazing heights of orgasm, it also is nature’s very own anti-anxiety hormone and antidepressant. Hug and let it work for you. If there is no human to hug – cuddle and stroke a pet, or failing that, I cuddle a teddy bear. Not quite the same as it’s very one way, but with a long heartfelt hug, I find the levels of anxiety beginning to drop. Alternatively, I give myself a metaphorical hug by wrapping myself in a soft squishy blanket, or in the enveloping warmth of a soak in the bath or standing under a warm shower imagining the water washing any anxiety down the plug hole.
Final step – back to ‘let it go’ - this time it is the Disney version. Play this loud and long – or whatever piece of music/song lifts you, calms you – or whichever feeling you are seeking, is the very one that you need at this moment in time. I have several go-to pieces and they are available on cd, lap top, phone, everywhere I may need them. I even combine this step with my soak in the bath or a shower singing along full belt – great. I admit to having used ‘I’m going to wash that man outa my hair’ from South Pacific very effectively on more than one occasion. I even imagine that I am on a gorgeous beach in the South Pacific with the waves lapping nearby....mmmm.
GIVE IT A GO
Letting it go will serve you well. No matter what ‘it’ is. Let go of the angst, frustrations, feeling of being at the bottom of a huge great mountain, at the end of a long dark tunnel.Whatever. Just like my granddaughter – forget inhibitions, and LET GO – LET IT GO. You can do it.
Let go of resentment – resenting the fact that you haven’t been able to have a holiday this year because of COVID. Resentment that your business is struggling and you are too through no fault of your own. That resentment will only serve to make moving in a positive direction more difficult. There seems to be plenty of COVID based resentment in need of release. Give it a go.
Let go of the past - maybe resentment against friends or family members. This may not prove to be easy. It’s not a matter of ignoring, rather actually rejecting the ideas, the memories and their remembering. Endeavour not to bear grudges as these can so easily perpetuate cycles of negative patterns of thinking. I admit to having worked hard to release happenings from the past. I have let go of so many of the actual events, but how they made me feel proved to be a much more difficult task. This is especially so when others, especially those who used to be close to us, are involved and they decide to have another go at prodding in that negativity that you had worked hard at rejecting. For me, it’s been a matter of having to reset my letting go, in order to let go of the newly received angst. I was kind to myself and allowed time for the releasing. Maybe a few more renditions from South Pacific are needed. It is so well worth the effort to regain emotional freedom and prevent a slipping down into depression by letting go.... and my hair is amazingly clean too! When not in the shower, my preference is for belting out half of the Queen songs, especially ‘Radio Ga Ga’ and ‘Hammer to Fall’ or The Traveling Wilburys especially ‘Handle With Care’ and ‘End of the Line’. Such renditions are usually accompanied by me flinging myself around as I sing– so another win-win musical situation as I get rid of whatever needs to be let go of, and exercise at the same time as I ready myself to move on with life and living in a much more positive way.
You can do it – LET IT GO – and feel a weight lift from your shoulders.
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