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Daily Leadership Thought #184 – Learn To Let Go

August 1, 2011

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One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn as an adult is the importance of “letting go.”   When life gets hard, you feel wronged, or things do not go your way, it is easy to harbor resentment and anger.   The problem is that unless you are careful, these emotions can well up inside you and become part of your identity.  It’s one thing to have a brief period of grief or bitterness; it’s quite another to let it define you.   We all know far too many people who have embraced the victim role and who make themselves and others around them needlessly suffer as a result.

The only way to move forward is to release what is holding you back.  I know it’s not easy, but it is mandatory if you want to be happy and healthy.  Sometimes we can easily achieve physical and emotional distance from a situation but not always.  There are many times where the source of our pain is an ever-present reality.  Unless you can completely pick up and go, you are forced to confront the situation – it just does not go away.

If you feel you need it, seek professional help.  If not, then you need to learn how to cope on your own because avoidance will never work.  An emotion that is repressed will only resurface later and with greater intensity.  It will also carry over to other parts of your life and ironically hinder your ability to find the very thing you are looking for.  Misery does love company and you will attract and/or repel people in your life based on the energy and vibes you are creating.

Here are some coping tactics that I have found useful:

  • Find a constructive physical outlet for your negative energy – exercise is good
  • Seek out people who are good influences and who make you feel good about yourself
  • Avoid people who are bad influences
  • Tap into whatever spiritual resource works for you – I pray and go to church
  • Read books on positive psychology that inspire you to be proactive about your own happiness
  • Look for opportunities to make a positive difference – find a cause that helps others
  • Lean on other people when you need to – be honest about your feelings and let them comfort you, although avoid becoming an ongoing burden
  • Keep a journal and make it a daily practice to write down what you are experiencing both good and bad
  • Write the other person (who offended/hurt/frustrated you) a detailed, uncensored letter about your feelings towards what happened but don’t send it, read it aloud to yourself and then burn it
  • Look for other positives in your life and use them as a lever to keep you going and focus your attention accordingly
  • After some time, reflect on your experience and try to learn from it – allow yourself the opportunity to become a better and wiser person because of what has happened

You must move on and let go of what is holding you back if you want to truly heal.  I have not mentioned forgiveness yet, but it is the last piece of the puzzle.  This doesn’t mean you forget what happened, but that you no longer let it own you.  All human beings are flawed, and we all make mistakes, sometimes they are terrible ones, so allow others their humanity and set them and yourself free.  They will have to live with the consequences and account for their own actions.

You are either moving forward or going backward in life.  Don’t let someone or something else weigh you down for too long or hold you back from your true potential for growth and contentment.  Learn to let the negative energy go and allow the positive energy to return!