One of the things that can really make me lose my temper is when I’m trying to deal with something, I’m angry or stressed, and someone tells me “Relax, just let it go”. Not because it’s not a good idea, many times I know that it’s the best thing to do. More than that, most of the times I know it comes with the best intentions. BUT, if I knew how to do it, I would have already done so, wouldn’t I?
In those moments I am so full of energy, of wanting something, of anger or loss that “letting go” sounds like I have to calm down and erase all this energy. It feels like I should give up something that is a part of me.
And yet, I often find myself asking my clients in the sessions to let go while I accompany them through their challenges and search with them for the best way to get empowered again.
So what is “Letting Go”? Or, what do I ask from my clients and help them achieve by doing so? Sure, I am not the first one writing about this subject but I here’s my take on it.
In what situations we talk about “Letting go”?
We often want to let go when we feel that we are stuck in a certain behaviour or mood we suffer from, or a certain emotion that doesn’t flow and change and we can’t get on with our lives. Sometimes it’s a grudge that we can’t let go of, a situation that keeps coming to our mind or a person that though he or she hurt us in some way, we still feel emotionally attached and we can’t fully separate from them. We can feel as if we are held back and want to create movement and flow in the aspects we feel stuck.
Letting go comes hand in hand with accepting reality as it is and accepting our personal experiences and feelings as they are.
I often find with clients and myself, that the reason we get stuck in this way is the effort to control ourselves and the reality around us. We try to control our emotions, our body and our mind, we try to control others to behave in a predictable way that will accommodate our beliefs and needs and we try to control the future to fit our plans and opinions. And especially we want to know; we want to know what will happen, when and how.
But except of controlling ourselves, usually with very disappointing results and at the cost of great efforts, all the rest is just impossible. As such, it only leads us to useless efforts, conflicts and disappointment.
Letting go of these attempts of control mean that we can accept ourselves as who we are, acknowledge the reality around us and let the future unfold at its own pace.
Letting go of emotions
Emotional transformation is achieved when we allow our emotions to be felt and flow and naturally change them into something else. The more we try to resist and control emotions the more they get stuck and increase their presence. But when we let them to be felt, the energy changes and transforms and we will have the capacity to feel other emotions and have other perspectives of ourselves and reality. We can feel, for example, what we want, what we love, who we can trust and more.
So when I ask my clients to let go in this respect, what I actually ask them is to let go of the control and the effort to avoid their emotions and allow themselves to feel whatever is there. I totally trust that if they fully feel what they anyhow feel and are aware of it, their emotions will change and they would be able to move on.
Take for example holding a grudge; a grudge is an anger we keep, that was provoked in the past and comes back every time we talk about or meet or even think about that person. It might not be noticeable, but it affects how we relate to this person. In order to “let go” of this grudge we need first to accept that it is there, that we are still angry, to fully feel the a hurt and vulnerability. And then we can feel if we also still love this person, if we can forgive and trust this person. Sometimes we need to talk or do something with this person before and sometimes we can just go on with our lives without them and without that emotional attachment.
Letting go is to go with the movement that we already have, not to try to calm it down or erase it.
From of the active and controlling attitude we might think of letting go in a practical way and of something we should do. “I hold something. Oho, I better put it down…” Theoretically it sounds good, only thing is that our feelings and ways of being are not a grocery bag. And when we relate to them as such, we lose our self-respect and patience.
Letting go of something is not about stopping all the “bad” feelings and certain behaviours and instantly becoming relaxed and happy. It is a process and it starts with noticing what is there right now, paying attention to the efforts, the feelings and experiences we have, and allowing ourselves to experience them intensely.
Body awareness is extremely helpful practice in those moments. With attention, movement and breathe we gradually let go of the physical efforts that come with the personal and emotional feeling of being stuck. We can feel our emotions and let their energy flow, while staying grounded and expanding our perception to other emotions, our wishes and capacities. We can invite transformation on all levels of experience.
There is a passive energy to it of allowing things to happen. In terms of time, it doesn’t need to be slow, but it comes with an attitude of patience and almost lack of ambition. We are aware and we have a direction but we don’t go there yet. We let it happen.