what are you feeling the tug to let go of?
There were several things I thought about writing about this week, but randomly, as I sat down to write today’s blog, I learnt that today is National Let It Go Day. The 23rd June is hashtag-let-it-go.
The concept behind this wonderful mini-celebration (who on earth comes up with these things?) is that we get the actual calendarized opportunity to let go of those nagging regrets, fears, mistakes and hurts from previous seasons. How ideal. It seems that the only thing that has held us back from doing so earlier was that we didn’t know when the specific date to do it was. So now we know, it’s easy, right? Just let go of all that stuff. It’s the 23rd of June so now’s your opportunity. Let it go. Look, see, it’s gone.
OK I am being facetious. The real reason we don’t let go of hurts, disappointments, mistakes, resentments and fears is because it isn’t that easy to do so. These trophies of discomfort become who we are, how we are defined, what we carry around with us all day, like a favourite cardigan (thank you Taylor Swift for that excellent lyric). And so taking it off is like losing an old friend. An old friend we feel comfortable with but isn’t really any good for us.
So, rather than telling you what you need to let go of, (but here’s a quick checklist of important things to let go of and you can play bingo with how many you need to eject from your life: Fear, Disappointment, Regret, Excuses, Toxic People, Unforgiveness & Grudges, Comparison, Jealousy, Accumulating Stuff, A Career You Hate, Guilt, The Past, et al), I’m going to give you a few tips on how to give it a good go, whether you do it today or any other day of your choosing.
1. Know what it is
We have to stop and diagnose what is going on. Why do I feel like this? Why did I respond like that? What is triggering my behaviour that possibly has nothing to do with what is happening in this actual present day moment? It’s a true sign there’s something there to get rid of.
2. It takes bravery
It is not easy to depart from a tried and trusted path. I’m working with an incredible woman who recently made such a brave choice in her personal life. It was the harder option in the short run but the absolute right choice for her health, future and fulfilment. You can do it with knocking knees. You don’t have to feel courageous. You are being courageous. Find someone to walk with you and double the courage.
3. Practise it
Annoying truth: you let it go and it bounces right back at you. You think you’ve done this great work of moving on, accepting, and then you open your phone or watch a show or read something or whatever and bang it smacks you round the face or bites you on . I remember a personal disappointment of my own, that I thought I had let go, but there were certain triggers that showed me that I hadn’t really. I had to keep letting go, refusing to pick it back up again. Oh that lovely comfy cardy or self-pity. You’re off to the charity shop. And then a day comes and you realise you don’t feel that pang. Freedom. You really have let it go.
4. Do something creative
Be creative: don’t mean you need to get an easel and paints out. But you can if you want. It might be that you write it down, draw, make, play, sing, pot (is that the verb?). But afterwards it’s quite important to do something with it cathartic. Like burn it, screw it up, smash it etc. About 6 years ago I was deeply hurt by a colleague (long story). Resolution wasn’t coming. I wrote a letter, with full force of the pain and full force of the forgiveness. Of course it wasn’t sent. I ripped it up and put it in the bin. Important note: this wasn’t magic, it was symbolic. Don’t go putting the shreds back together when you’ve made a commitment to move on.
5. Talk about it
Processing with others is important whatever your personality type. You might be able to do this in a few sentences whereas others of us need to have a good old half-day debrief, but there is healing and release in talking about something, honestly and wholeheartedly. Make sure that friend has your best interests at heart and also knows that letting go is what’s best for you. You don’t want to be dragged down Gossip Alley.
6. Mark it
Make a change of some sort to mark the fact that this is a new moment, without that particular fear or hang up featuring centre stage anymore. Maybe a fresh journal, screensaver, phone background, meal out, seed planted, candle lit, new item of clothing (um no, dear reader, I am not justifying new purchases every time we do this) but having a signifying moment is more beneficial than you might realise – it’s why we have always had rituals in our societies.
So, on National Let It Go day, what are you feeling the tug to let go of?
As I said, doing something like this is brave. It’s going against the grain of *doing whatever you feel like and taking the option that feels best to you*.
It also takes reflection, self-knowledge, and a recognition that letting it go on the 23rd June doesn’t mean that it won’t come knocking on the door trying to get back in, making itself at home in your head.
That’s when you remind that particular hang up that you’ve changed the locks.
With love and letting it go,
P.S. The creators of this interesting micro-merriment are Thomas and Ruth Roy. It is one of many peculiar and pleasing holidays (that are indeed copyrighted, FYI) that have featured in the Chase Calendar of Events. Other dates include Bad Poetry Day, Dear Diary Day and Be Bald and Be Free Day. Full list can be found here. You’re welcome.