I missed yesterday’s Day of Happiness CALM meditation. I don’t have a good excuse, and am taking responsibility for not making the time for this important practice. I am back on the horse today, which led me to day three of the seven days of happiness! This one involved how “letting go” of certain things in our lives, like guilt, embarrassment, anger, sadness, a bad relationship, etc., can actually help to increase our happiness level!
If we had to identify some words or phrases that were the opposite of letting go, they would likely be “control” and “holding on.” If we had it our way, we would control our parents, spouses, bosses, the weather, the past, etc. There also may be things that have happened to us in life that we have held on to, wishing we could at any moment jump into a time machine and go back and change how things played out.
The reality is, we can’t… and this can often be frustrating, disappointing, or [insert any other negative feeling here]. When we dwell on or ruminate about the past, we get “stuck” and are not allowing ourselves to be fully present in our lives. By not being fully present, we miss out on opportunities for pleasure, joy and contentment. However, shifting our thoughts to focus on what we CAN control can be pretty powerful! What we CAN control is OUR thoughts, emotions, behaviors and impulses. The great news is, we can CHOOSE how we respond to others/situations/events when they don’t go our way!
Letting go of what we can’t control can actually be pretty freeing. But how do we learn to let go?
If we start out with practicing letting go of the little things, then we can work up to letting go of some of those bigger things. For example, if someone cuts us off while we are driving, we can choose to take a deep breath and let it go, instead of riding their bumper, flipping them the bird, or swearing (all negative actions which can increase negative emotions). By letting go, we can instead choose to focus on something positive, like that sweet kid we see a few blocks down helping that old lady with a walker across the crosswalk! Or the beauty of the autumn leaves as they change colors (I love Fall!).
For help letting go of the bigger things, like anger, or that grudge you have held for years, or regret… well, this can be certainly be trickier. And still, IT IS POSSIBLE TO LET GO of these bigger things too. You have to dig deep, and sort through some really uncomfortable and painful memories and feelings. But you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help with letting go of something you have been harboring, or even with the “small” stuff, consider calling 630-797-9192 today and scheduling an appointment with me.