By Aisha Beau
The phrase “let it go” gets a bad rap these days. feel
It can often be a hasty one used to silence someone else’s feelings, especially when they’re standing up for themselves or others. But it can also be your biggest asset.
Letting go isn’t about giving up or throwing your feelings to the side. Instead, it’s about preserving your energy to clearly assess the worthiness and best mode of action in a situation.
According to Psychology Today, letting go is all about facing reality. It’s recognizing that we don’t have the power to change or fix other people or things that happened in the past. What we do have the power to do: Look realistically at a situation and figure out what we can impact, and then act on that. And if we can’t act on anything, we can give ourselves permission to put less mental energy towards it.
For example: If despite your hard work, dedication, and contributions to a company you’re still going back and forth with a boss on a raise to no avail, it might be time to let it go. And by letting go, you should look at whether or not this opportunity is truly worth it. Maybe it’s time to look for a new one? When you step back from the conflict, you can assess it with fresh eyes to figure out what it is you really need.
Or, more simply, in an argument—if you’re going back and forth with someone on a topic and they just aren’t seeing your point of view, it’s time to let go of the thought that they will. They may not at that moment, or they may not ever—though your intentions may have been good, your peace of mind is just as important.
Letting go isn’t a passive act—it’s an intentional one. And when we actively let things go, we demonstrate self-confidence and compassion.
Breathe Into Letting Go
When you take a moment to simply breathe slowly and deeply, in and out, it sends a signal to your nervous system to calm down. When you’re in a calmer state, you can more easily assess a situation.
Intentional breathing can be done anywhere and anytime—in a quiet space, on the bus ride to work, before replying to an email or text, or even mid-argument.
To start, take a deep breath in. Hold it for a few seconds. When you exhale, visualize yourself letting go of the tension a circumstance has caused not only your mind but your body. Repeat this a few times.
Once you feel more grounded, you can mentally start assessing the ways you do and don’t have control over the situation. You can take a moment to show empathy and compassion to understand the person you’re up against. You might realize they’re not even be an opponent at all.
Ask yourself: Do I have control over this situation? If yes, think about how you can turn that energy into action. If no, ask yourself: How would it feel to let this go? Would it put me at ease? Would it help me move forward? Would it help me protect my energy?
So often we feel that protecting ourselves means putting our guard up and playing defense, but there is so much power in giving yourself the space to breathe and explore letting go. When we feel more connected to ourselves, that’s when we can really do the work of figuring out what’s best for us. And sometimes, it might be to actively release what we’re holding onto so tightly.