Two recent incidents. Same concluding suggestion: “Let go.” But how? The first situation was in my yoga class. The session was almost over. As we were lying on our mats, breathing in and breathing out, our instructor said, “Breathe in light, energy, abundance, and joy.” That’s a nice thought and image. Then she said, “As you exhale, let go of anything that you need to let go of.” Another good image. But how do you really do this?
The second circumstance involved a friend who was not invited to a wedding. Apparently half of the dinner club was “in,” and half of the dinner club was “out.” She was in the out group. Her own advice was to let go. But how do you really do this?
Maybe you can relate to some of these I-need-to-let-go scenarios. Or how about these? As a meeting chairwoman, you said something you instantly regreted. Or, you sent an e-mail and wish you had not shown your anger. You made a faulty assumption. Even after you resolved these situations, you’re still fuming, contemplative, or judgmental.
Here are some suggestions we all can try to “let go” in order to move forward.
According to Sylvia Crane in her book “The Art of Letting Go,” “Becoming fully immersed in what you’re doing, called mindfulness in Buddhism, is a very good way of letting go.” In other words, concentrate on the present.
Separate from reality by becoming a telescope attached to the ceiling. Look down at the situation that drives you nuts. Ask yourself:
- Is this worth my aggravation?text-align: justify; Do I really care about this?
- What’s really going on here?
- How can I fix this?
- How can I make this better?
- Will this matter in six months?
Congratulations. Now you’re detached enough to maneuver through possible hurt feelings and figure out a course of action.
In a recent movie I saw, the mom tells her adult son to laugh about something he is unhappy about. She reminds him that laughter is the best medicine. He responds, “Well I must have been the placebo in that control study.” Is there anything funny about the issue you’re trying to let go of? If so, laugh. If you feel like the placebo group, try to find the humor. It is the best medicine.
Sometimes, you just have to move forward without a resolution or justice. What do you need to accept to let go?
Ouch. As much as I hate to admit this, letting go means admitting when I’m wrong, I have erred, or I have helped create an uncomfortable situation. Ask yourself:
- How did I help cause this problem?
- What responsibility do I need to take?
- What can I learn from this fiasco?
Crane suggests in her book, “Letting go is simply making a decision. Life is a series of choices of how to behave. Often we make these choices automatically, without really being aware of what we are choosing or why. But no matter what anyone does in any aspect of their life, it is still a choice they have made.” Therefore, we all have the choice to dwell on or let go of circumstances.
Some age-old wisdom here: Sometimes it takes time to let go. When my mother died, I thought I’d never get over the loss. It’s been years now. Where I used to feel such pain and sadness, now I only recall her humor, gusto, and strength.
Listen to Laurie
If all else fails, listen to my friend Laurie. When I complain to her about this and that, she replies, “Get over it!” Actually, find someone like Laurie. Don’t complain to the world at large. Find some dear friends who will listen, commiserate, and then tell you, “Get over it!”
Karen Cortell Reisman, MS
Reisman, author of “The Naked Truth About Giving Great Speeches,” teaches how to speak for yourself so that others listen, trust, and buy from you. She has been a visiting faculty presenter at The Pankey Institute, a speaker at many dental meetings, and president of Speak For Yourself® for 15 years. For the “Top Ten Ways to Blow It as a Communicator,” e-mail her at [email protected]. For her other learning tools, go to www.SpeakForYourself.com.