It is very common to feel attached to past experiences, even if they’re no longer helping us.
But if we want to attract new experiences to our life (a new relationship/job/friends/money), we need to make space for it.
It is literally like making space in the wardrobe. If we want new clothes and shoes, we need to throw away the old, useless items. How many times have you looked at that pair of shoes that you never wear because they give you terrible blisters and thought: “It would be a shame to throw them away, they’re new!”
But they remain there, unused and taking up space in the wardrobe. So you don’t have space to store the ones you actually need to buy: the comfy pair that goes with everything! 🙂
Something similar happens in other areas of life. What happens if we have our ex-boyfriend in our head and we keep thinking: “well, maybe we will make up eventually, in the future, you never know…”?
Emotionally and energetically these thoughts will be taking up the space of a potential next partner. Same with an old job, house or friendship…
It gets even more complicated when we have to say goodbye to a part of ourselves. Like a limiting belief. Or the victim role. The inner critic. But we have to remove those blocks if we want to grow and make good progress.
This doesn’t mean we have to detach from everything and everyone or not care about anyone. Letting go is about identifying what is taking up space in our life that is no longer useful and saying good-bye to it. This way, we will be ready to start new relationships, acquire new beliefs and welcome new opportunities.
It’s not about deleting our past or denying who we are either. We are just detaching from a bad experience or a part of us that is not helping us in the present moment.
Saying good-bye is a natural part of life, it is a cycle, to welcome new things we need to say good-bye to others first. However, it is very common to remain attached to toxic relationships, bad influences, limiting beliefs or unfinished projects… why?
Why is it so difficult to let go?
- When we have a bad experience or we realise we don’t like something there is a tendency to deny it. We don’t want to accept it. We use logical arguments as a defense mechanism: “He doesn’t want to break up with me, he is just confused. I’ll give him a bit of time”. It is difficult to deal with a loss so we prefer to act as nothing happened and deny reality.
- Feeling sad is unpleasant. This is probably not what you want to hear, but it is almost impossible to say good-bye to something without feeling sad. Sadness helps us integrate the loss and completely let go. The good news is that once you accept that feeling sad is perfectly normal and fine, it is extremely liberating.
- We might have fears about what will happen next. When we close a chapter, it is completely normal to feel scared of what the future might bring. “Will I find another job? Will I find someone who loves me? Will I be able to deal with the new situation?” It is very common to feel that way when things are changing. But if we know how to deal with the process of letting go, it can open many doors to new experiences and opportunities. If fear is the one taking control, we will feel it is “easier” to remain attached to past experiences to avoid change.
How do you actually let go?
Letting go is never an easy process. It will also depend on the intensity of the attachment, the length of the relationship or the emotional implications. Depending on the complexity and depth of the situation, it might be sensible to go through this process with the help of a professional coach or therapist. For “easier” situations, you can try the following exercise:
Spend some time thinking about the relationship you want to say good-bye to. It doesn’t need to be a romantic relationship, it can be an old job, a difficult period of time or even a part of yourself. Look for pictures or memories from that relationship. Connect with it. Describe it in detail.
Answer the following questions:
How was that relationship?
What was its function?
How did it start?
How did you feel at the beginning of it? And near the end?
How did it finish?
What did you learn from it?
What are your reasons to say good-bye to it?
Take your time and write about it. Let your emotions out in a healthy way. (Read this article!)
When you’re ready, write a good-bye letter. Say everything you need to say.
It is totally fine if you feel angry and feel like using politically incorrect words. No one is going to read this letter. You are doing this for yourself and your emotional well-being only.
Say thanks for the positive things and what you learned.
When you are ready and feel like you don’t have anything else to say, finish the letter saying “good-bye forever”.
You can bury, break or throw the letter away, whatever feels good for you.
I know the process of letting go can be a bit overwhelming, so why not try to work together with a Coach?
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