Declaration of Letting Go
The idea of “letting go" is a well known concept that we hear about all the time. We're often told to be strong and move on.
"Just let it go! Let go of that bad relationship or that old flame. Let go of your resentments, your fears, and even your household items!"
There are countless books, songs and articles written about it. Fortunately, it's a positive approach that has permeated our modern culture because it encourages us to release unhealthy attachments and find peace within ourselves. That's a great thing! But I'm half Anxious (on my mother's side,) and I don't know about you, but whenever I hear "let it go," it just makes me want to hold on tighter.
Instead of throwing my hands up on the roller coaster and enjoying the ride, many times I clasp tightly to the bar in front of me, eyes clenched shut waiting for it to be over. Lately I've realized though, that I enjoy the ride more with my hands up.
We hold onto things because it represents some kind of stability; something we can depend on when we feel out of control in the midst of constant change. Recently I've found that the appeal of "letting go" works best for me when I'm focused on letting go of ONE thing in particular; my inner critic. That overpowering voice that second guesses or judges; that evokes shame or guilt. The gnarly and negative self-talk that is my own internalized bully and man ... does she beat my shit UP!
So when well-intentioned people tell me to "just let it go," I actually feel worse for holding on to something that's bad for me. I begin to identify as someone who “has issues with letting things go" and then the criticism loop begins. Downward spirals are not as fun as roller coasters.
In an effort to change this, I recently decided to be present with myself during the start of a loop of negative self-talk. I witnessed as really awful sentences formed in my head. I held onto one of them as it came up, and took out my journal. Then I opened up to allow the negative thought to form into a sentence in my mind. I looked down at the empty page in my book, closed my eyes, and started to draw the negative thought down. I was pulling it out of my brain and into a different mode of perception. I brought it down to my heart so I could FEEL it better. As the idea integrated further into my heart, I found myself writing “I let go of the feeling that ..” and followed it with the negative thought that had formed in my head.
I continued on and wrote about 20 of them, then read them over in full meditative truth in order to truly channel this idea of letting go into every cell of my body. I wanted to inject this energy into my physical being and do it with intention and resonance. The results were pretty powerful.
If you've ever felt that negative voice take over, Id like to offer this simple process to help shift out of the loop and into self-love.
When you're in the midst of a spiral or obsessive loop, do your best to throw yourself a "life preserver." I think of a life preserver as a tiny voice inside of you that 1) recognizes the loop objectively 2) witnesses it with love and understanding and 3) tells you you're ok (it’s your heart’s voice btw.) You have to cultivate your life preserver; visualize it in a way that really works for you, and then grab onto it for a gasp of air when you’re spiraling. Practice makes perfect. That voice will grow in strength and it will continually become easier to hear.
Once you have that air, take pause. Start identifying one of the negative thoughts you are having and formulate a sentence in your mind. For example "I'm not good enough." With your pen (or keyboard), write down "I let go of the idea (or belief) that I'm not good enough."
After you write the first declaration, take a deep breath, and read it back to yourself with power; actively programming the words into your body. Continue the process with every negative thought that comes up. Identify and formulate the negative sentence, write it down converting it into a "letting go declaration," read it back with the loving intention of really anchoring it within yourself.
Remember, any process you try will not completely change your world. It will however, shift your focus and intention. Give yourself permission to start small and have patience with your OWN pace and process.
Let go of the idea that you can control anything outside of yourself. Throw your hands up, feel the wind on your face and ride that roller coaster.