How to Let Go and Be Happy

sad girl with hand on face clip art

Are you wanting to let go, but find it hard? Holding on and being stuck in our upset can cause much unhappiness. Learning to “let go” and “be happy” is easier than we may think. So what does it mean to let go?  Here is a summary of my take on what it means to let go and make room for happiness to come into your life.

First of all what letting go is not about. It is not about letting others be abusive or treat us badly and decide it is ok.  It is not about letting a situation continue that is unhealthy.

Letting go is about – CHOOSING to let something not be the “focus”and move on to a different place, CHOOSING to let in the good, CHOOSING to be happy, CHOOSING to live in the now.  It is about focusing on OUR response. 

 happy couple looking at each other on a lawn clip art

What do we need to do to get to the place where we can feel we are ready to let something go? Here are a few things to consider as you think about incorporating more “letting go” into your life.

  1. First of all, acknowledge and give honor to your upset feelings. Your feelings are important and your guide posts as to helping you know what needs to be addressed and possibly not addressed. Regardless, how you feel is important. You have a right to your feelings, all of them.
  2. Consider what you are upset about. Is it worth your time and energy to carry it with you? Our upsets can be put on a very wide continuum. For example: A store clerk is rude. Traffic is extra tough and you get home 15 minutes later than normal. Someone does not agree with your idea in a meeting. Your husband forgets to tell you about a change in plans. Your child does not study for a test and gets a bad grade. Your cat throws up on your carpet. Most of the household chores are being done by you and you are not happy about it. All work and no play. Your partner is depressed and not responsive. You need more connection with your spouse or significant other. The doctor’s appointment does not go well and you have a serious diagnosis. Your mom dies and you are devastated. So, yes we  have a spectrum of what may be upsetting us.
  3. Are the small irritations and disappointments worth our time and focus? Probably not. We can acknowledge our feelings and decide to let it go. If it increases as a problem, we can choose to do something different. If your upset is moderate to big, we will have some additional steps to work through.
  4.   Larger upsets may require some action on our part. CHOOSING what to do after some thoughtful consideration is a part of this plan. Here are some possible things to consider.
  • Would it help to talk to someone? A neutral or supportive party? Or the person who is involved in the upset?
  • Simply talking about our feelings and acknowledging them helps to begin to lessen the power of these feelings. The intensity of how we feel can lesson and we can begin to see more clearly. 1) If you are choosing to talk with a supportive friend, consider one who is more of a listener opposed to telling you what to do.  2) If you choose to talk with the person who is involved in the upset, then try to do it when you are not in a high reactive state, but one on in which you feel you can talk in a low, calm thoughtful way as much as possible with a respectful tone. This will help to create an atmosphere in which the other person will be able to hear you without becoming defensive and be able to respond in a thoughtful way.
  • Deciding what you need to feel better and taking action to make that happen. If this involves another then it may mean exploring ideas that will work for both of you. This may be a process, but just beginning this interaction will take you where you want to go. It may mean letting go of rigid ideas of what has to happen to make it better. Seeing both sides and coming to a point that peace and what you both can live with may be the answer. This said, there may be some things that do not have a middle ground. For example a third-party involvement in a relationship or an ongoing drug or alcohol issue.  A decisive stance or action on your part my be part of what is needed. If this is an individual issue, it may involve deciding what is best for you and then moving toward this action.
  • Forgiveness may be a part of the plan. This is a letting go process and one that is not always simple. But it is attainable. Forgiveness is not saying you are ok with a betrayal or a hurtful interaction, etc. It is about choosing to come to a place of letting it go to let the good come back in. And beginning the process of re-building and healing.
  • Shift to a happier place. Begin to focus on what makes you feel happy. You can build on this, creating more of what you want in your life.

We all have to decide how much power we want something to have over us. Sometimes we may need to have a time of grief, especially with a significant loss. This is normal and part of what we may need. At some point with small or large things we can come to a point of deciding if we are ready to let go or at least partially let go and let the good stuff back into our life.  Happiness and joy is something we all deserve. We have the power to create the life we want.

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