7 Things You Should Know About Letting Go

Letting go and moving forward is never easy. But there will always come a point in our lives when it becomes necessary.

Once that moment comes, here are seven things you need to know about this difficult, yet life-changing process.

Things You Should Know About Letting Go and Moving Forward

For more inspiration, also check out our collection of moving quotes as well as these letting go quotes for finally moving on.

1. Recognize when it is time to let go.

When the pain of staying where you are, becomes greater than the perceived pain of letting go, it is time to let go.

Realizing it’s time to move forward is the hard part. Sometimes, life needs to hit us over the head repeatedly until we realize what we do isn’t working. A relationship is burned out. We have outgrown the other person. Our offers to help aren’t respected. A situation drains our energy dry.

What began as hopeful now feels hopeless. No matter how we try to reason out our situation, it doesn’t make sense. Our gut is tangled in a constant knot. Our life feels constricted. This is when you know that letting go and moving forward is the only solution.

2. Give yourself time.

So you have tried letting go and moving forward, yet you circle back? That’s okay. Each time you attempt it, you cut energetic ties that bind.

Any situation – whether a job, career, relationship, habit, or attachment – you invest energy in that creates an emotional web. Letting it go requires cutting those ties. Some people do it cold turkey. Others clip away a few at a time. Be okay with experiencing sadness, disappointment, anger, loss, grief, and fear of what comes next.

Take time to be present with each emotion as it arises. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re addicted to being busy in order to suppress emotions. They need to be released so you don’t carry them into future life situations to distort fresh possibilities.

When we have a physical illness, our body heals by fever, vomiting, chills, and trembling. Emotional illness requires a similar process.

3. Face your fear of what’s next.

Leaving the familiar, no matter how miserable it is, means an unknown future awaits. If you are afraid of history repeating itself, now is the time to honestly assess WHO you are, WHAT you believe in, reactive habits that get you into trouble, and ineffective patterns that follow you through life.

Find counseling. Take a self-help webinar. Search online for remedies, explanations, and support. Read empowering articles on Everyday Power blog daily. Find a trusted friend to talk about your fears and allow them to help you process through it. And then act on what you are learning.

You need to do things differently if you want a better result. Facing your fear is simply part of letting go and moving forward.

4. You aren’t your history…

…unless you choose to drag it along with you. You aren’t what happened in the past. Nor what is going on today a result of past choices or actions.

You are the observer-witness-wise-person in this moment who can learn, adjust, and improve. If you insist on framing today from the perspective of your past, you block new possibilities. You’re sure to attract new circumstances that repeat your history.

In letting go and moving forward, write out a vision of the best YOU that you can perceive at this time. Then commit to behaving and making choices as that person, instead of who you have been in the past.  

If necessary, choose a trustworthy role model to emulate until you find new footing. Each time you act from this new self-image, you weaken historical patterns, and reinforce new, preferred results.

5. Learn the lesson.

What went wrong? Why are you in a situation that requires letting go and moving forward? Is there a pattern of behavior that follows you? Are you reacting to a childhood that is long since gone? Are you trying to change everything around you to fit a pre-conceived perfect life?

Blaming an undesirable situation on others doesn’t offer solutions. The only person, the only life, you have control over is YOU. Every situation offers a lesson. The sooner you recognize what the lesson is, the sooner you can extricate yourself and move on.

When you do, if you haven’t learned this lesson, you’ll face it repetitively until you learn it. So buckle down and get to work on yourself. You’ll be delighted with the changes that unfold!

6. Failure is a natural life process that enlightens future successes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Inventors fail more times than they succeed. Yet with each failure, they refine their thinking and improve the process.

When we know what doesn’t work, we can adjust in a different direction. Just as a sailor adjusts the sails according to the wind, by constantly adjusting, we eventually reach our destination.

As a professional motivational speaker, I gave keynote talks at formal dinners where I was seated at the head table with the organization’s leaders. Early in my career, I was invited to speak at an annual gathering of civic leaders in a large city.

In this ultra conservative city, the group I faced was all male. They sat out in the audience in all shapes and sizes, including one in tweeds with a pipe, and one wearing a bowler hat.

Standing at the dais at the center of the head table, I began my planned talk. But it was obvious the men were not engaged. Some were checking their planners or watches, and others were talking at back tables. I deepened my voice and stood straighter, trying to look more important, but to no avail.

At which point, I used a technique that had worked in the past – moving closer to the audience. Unfortunately, I forgot that I was on a six-inch platform, so I stepped forward into thin air and fell to the floor in a heap.

The man with the bowler scrambled out of his chair and ran forward to help me to my feet. Three more men rushed up to be sure I was alright.

Red-faced, I scrambled to my feet, desperate to find a way to save my pride. At that moment, a quote from Dale Carnegie that I had heard popped into my head. I graciously thanked those who had helped me, and faced the group of men who now, finally, gave me full attention.

“I’ve heard that if you lay an egg, you should stand back and admire it. I think I just laid a whopper of an egg!”

Laughter rolled across the room. These important leaders suddenly became just a group of men, sharing a moment of life with me. They teased me and I teased back, as I would with any of my friends. My fall broke down the room’s formality.

I learned that I didn’t need to impress a stodgy audience; I needed to be REAL. That fall, and the ensuing warm reception from the men, released my belief that I needed to impress, making room to be someone eager to connect. I let go and moved forward.

7. Holding on to where you are leaves no room for new to come into your life.

There is a universal Law of Vacuum. Nature does NOT allow a vacuum – an empty space.

When a space is vacated, something will rush in to fill that spot. Remove a bucket of water from a river, water rushes into fill that space. Remove a diseased tooth, the surrounding teeth will move in, trying to fill the gap.

So if you want something new, you need to make space for it by removing what is currently holding that space in your life. If you insist on holding onto anything undesirable, there is no room for the desirable. If you toss out two old coats you don’t like anymore, you’ll find the perfect coat hanging on a rack – maybe even on sale.

Release toxic relationships and new people show up with fresh potential. Remove a limiting belief that you aren’t good at your work, and feel new energy to develop your expertise.

Holding on to where you are now, while you simultaneously try to move forward, keeps you stuck.

While reading this, one or more situations in your life are probably popping into your thoughts. Choose one. Learn the art of letting go and moving forward. Experience something better that is waiting to come into your life!

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