How to Let Go: of People and Things

Letting go: It’s hard isn’t it? As humans we have a tendency to hold onto things, particularly things we think we need. There are those shows on TV now where people hoard things and their houses get filled with layers and layers of junk and clutter until the places are uninhabitable.

I always find these shows quite sad, and horrific. There was one I saw where the professional ‘de-clutterer’ was also a psychologist who wanted to counsel the hoarding lady through the process of clearing up her home. The hoarding lady was holding on to so much stuff, including several old, broken vacuum cleaners which she had scattered around her yard.

She didn’t want to let them go. The counsellor asked her why she needed them and she told the counsellor that she intended to fix them and sell them. “How long have you had them?” the counsellor asked.

“Probably about 25 years,” was her reply.

It’s important to be able to let things go. I have always been very good at this. As a kid we moved house a lot because of my father’s job, including several moves to other countries. I became great at letting go of houses, backyards, favourite climbing trees, groups of friends, teachers, schools… you name it – I could let it go. There’s only one thing I became really attached to: my family.

It’s the same now. The only constant in my life is my family and friends. I change jobs, houses and the state where I live frequently, but I refuse to let go of my friends. I am a very loyal person and most of the friends in my life have been there for over a decade. I am still friends with many of my exes as well. But the time has come for me to really let go of a person in my life, and I am having trouble doing this. So, here’s some research on how to let go.

peace and joy

Keep busy

Don’t mope around the house – get on your bike and out of the house. Keeping busy will help you to focus on your other needs and what needs to be done. Don’t let your responsibilities go.

Let go of anger

Well, I don’t feel angry, but perhaps I am anyway. It’s hard to let go of anger when you’re not sure if you are angry. Still, any negative thoughts I have been getting, I am trying to combat with positive, healing ones.

Rant and Rave – but only for a minute

Tiny Buddha has a great post on letting go – including this great idea of giving yourself a “rant window”. Have an allotted time to get angry, deal with the issues and obsess, and then let it go.

Don’t get all romantic

I am a hopeless romantic. Give me a rose, a cupcake or a kiss and I’m yours. I have a tendency to over-romanticise things, which is not helpful when you are trying to let someone or something go. Be realistic about what was, rather than idealising it and it will be easier to let go.

Imagine yourself in the future

I am trying to visualise a strong, healthy, happy me. Someone who is comfortable in my own company and who can fulfil her own needs. By imagining this person, I feel closer to her.

Reward yourself for the tiny victories

Each time I let go I pat myself on the back. Each day I get closer and closer to letting go, and I need to remember that this is a journey, not a switch I can flick. I am human. But I can learn to let go.

How have you let go of things in the past? Any tips for me?

Photo credits: Sky by (Mick Baker)rooster, Peace by Diane Nassy

  1. April 22, 2013

    Letting go is so hard for me most of the time. Lately, when I try everything and it isn’t enough, I think of what I would say to someone I love going through the same thing; like I’m being my best friend. Because I understand my pain best, better than everyone else. I might write about it to myself and maybe address it to me as an outsider. Reason with the pain or even look at it in a different light sometimes helps.

    1. April 22, 2013

      Thanks Viola. I am trying to imagine myself as my own knight in shining armor – what would I say to rescue myself? I have decided that I don’t need anyone to rescue me this time – I will rescue myself.

    2. That sounds like a great idea! I think sometimes, actually most of the time, we need to tell ourselves what our parents or others were unable to tell us. I’ll look forward to reading it. Best wishes!!

  2. For me, the Bible takes care of helping us let go. I love this verse
    3 John 1:2 King James Version (KJV)
    Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
    God wants us to let go of all things that hold us back from living his perfect life.
    Thanks for the post.

    1. April 23, 2013

      Thank you so much for this great quote. I am trying to let go with love, for myself and the person I am trying to let go of. I know I don’t “own” anyone or anything – but we get so attached to people, places and things.

      Thanks A Mom x

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