It’s spring! And with spring comes glorious weather, patio parties, the daily hum of lawnmowers, the laughter of kids playing in nearby pools and the return of a large hummingbird crowd that I gladly feed all summer and fall.
Spring also ushers in the one time of year when I do spring cleaning. I don’t hang onto things; it’s easy for me to weed out stuff I haven’t used in a while and probably won’t in the future, giving it all away to friends or charities.
Letting go of stuff is easy.
Letting go of the intangible isn’t always as easy.
It’s the emotional baggage, including pain, disappointment, anger, shame, control, and expectation that can keep us tethered to a less than joyous life.
While it may be tougher for some to let go of physical stuff, the emotional weight of negative baggage can take up just as much room, if not more, crowding your life and leaving less room for the good stuff.
I’ve always felt you can’t pick up the gold brick until you let go of the crap that’s currently in your hand.
Challenging times can create emotional hoarders out of many of us.
The more our emotions are tied up in current events, the longer it takes for us to let go. We have, after all, our friends and family right there with us strengthening the bond of antagonism, and we can talk about this stuff F-O-R-E-V-E-R! It’s socially acceptable to do so. What isn’t obvious is the emotional toll it takes on each of us, this never letting go of all the hostility, anger or pain.
For me, it’s important to check myself regularly, not just during the spring to see what I can let go of. I am constantly surprised at the emotions from years ago that still come forward and beg to be released in order to create greater well-being.
How to let go
Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you. But how?
This is the routine that works for me:
~Sit in quiet contemplation and think of what emotional baggage exists in your life
~Make some notes of those issues, how long they’ve been in your life and how they are no longer serving you
~Identify the benefits of letting go
~Forgive others and yourself for creating or hanging onto any of the negativity
~Repeat this process, if necessary, until you’re free.
Keep in mind, once you let go of something, if you think about it again in the future, you’re just picking it up again and confirming that you really didn’t finally disengage the first time.
Letting go of worn out relationships
I have been guilty of being in relationships that no longer serve either party, but neither of us was willing to let go. We never see each other, we no longer have anything in common. I feel guilty if I forget their birthday/anniversary/pet’s names/ kid’s graduation, etc. What made us such fast friends in the first place – raising kids together in the same neighborhood, shared experiences, or some other bonding event – no longer applies.
Hanging on after the thrill is gone becomes a burden. Some people systematically begin complaining about the people in these relationships as a way of justifying ending them. Instead of being up front, they must create antagonism in order to liberate themselves.
If the strength of a past relationship is nonexistent, let it go. Do what is necessary to gently disengage. Honesty is best. It can be painful, but you’ll feel freer once you’re up front with them and yourself.
What do you have to gain by letting go?
Good Morning Antonia,
As always, when I read your blog, you inspire me to “take stock” of my thinking and my actions. Thank you for doing so.
Learning to forgive others was a challenge because I thought forgiving them meant I was condoning their behavior. Once I realized that is not the case, I then had to learn how to forgive myself. And that, I have found, is the hardest task of all.
You just gave me a great idea! I am going to practice visualizing each piece of baggage as a cobweb in the corners of my mind and sweep it out just as I do the cobwebs on my balcony…. HA!
Fantastic visualization, Fran! I’m going to try it too!