Are you trying to let go of something, like a behavior that no longer serves you? Do you need help with that and need help figuring out where to start? Here, I provide five keys that serve us well in letting go. This is especially helpful for people who are healing from chronic pain.
1) Why am I holding on?
The answer to the dilemma of letting go is in the term ‘letting go.’ Ask yourself, why are you holding on in the first place? As soon as you address whatever has you holding on, you may release it.
How do you identify what is keeping you holding on to this behavior?
2) Where is it in the body?
I always like to start with the body. So, I notice what sensations arise in the body when I think about what I am holding onto. I usually feel tension or tightness in my body associated with my penchant for holding on.
3) How is it serving you?
How does it help you to hold on? You wouldn’t be spending energy with all that holding on if it wasn’t serving you somehow. For example, say you have a behavior of people-pleasing that you want to let go of. We continue to use a behavior like this because it was a strategy that served us by keeping us safe – when we first adopted it. So, notice that you are holding onto this people-pleasing behavior. But now, you are aware that this has become an unhealthy behavior. The people-pleasing served a long time ago, but now it is getting in the way of having a healthy relationship. Realizing this, you can now find a new way to live beyond the need to please everyone. You can set healthy boundaries for yourself. This serves you and everyone else.
4) Whom would I be without this old behavior?
We can grasp a way of being so tightly that we identify ourselves by that behavior. In our people-pleasing example, we might identify with ‘being nice.’ You might ask yourself, “Now, how do I identify myself if I am not ‘nice?’” The question you can ask next is, “Whom would I be without my identity of being nice?” Well, you might be a badass who stands in her power with grace. You might be someone who rises to the occasion in a healthy way, depending on what the moment calls for. Here, you ask, “Whom would I be without the story of my identity?”
A natural process of letting go
You can let go of some things immediately; other behaviors take more time. Once you know what is keeping the original behavior in place, you can begin shifting to a new way of living. Letting go can be a process rather than a one-time thing. You may have developed a habit around this behavior, as in our people-pleasing example. You will need to choose a different way to live in the world. Try replacing the old behavior with a new one. Your nervous system accommodated the old way of doing things. You will need to rewire your nervous system by practicing your new behavior. This is an apt example of putting the five keys of letting go into action.
5) Stay in integrity with yourself
So, you realize it’s time to rebuild an old behavior into a new healthier one. Make sure that your new behavior aligns with your values and integrity. By staying true to yourself, the process will be a natural one. By using these five keys to letting go, you can release an old unhealthy behavior and build a new one with confidence.