In one of my cup-of-tea conversations with my husband, we got to a point where we talked about the reality of separation or death. This was in 2020 when the pandemic hit the world and it was inevitable to talk about the fragility of relationships and life.
I still vividly remember him telling me that I should not feel lonely about it. “You won’t be losing me because you don’t own me.”
It was a hard pill to swallow at that time, but over the years, I gradually understood it. Life is a series of acceptance and letting go. It’s just that when we hear the phrase letting go and letting things be, feelings of sadness come up.
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We think of loss and nobody wants to think of releasing something or someone that you cherish the most. We are afraid of detachment because breaking up can be emotionally challenging, especially, if they have already been a part of our habits and routine.
We feel nostalgic of memories we once shared and the value we have assigned to them. We are apprehensive of change because it means it is necessary to do it. Letting go often means stepping into the unknown and we fear this territory.
But it’s true, we cannot lose something that we do not own. Nothing and no one is ours to keep.
So this year, I’m letting go some more. I started this practice last year as part of my healing journey. It was liberating! This year, I will do it more fluidly. I’m letting go and letting things be!
Here are what I’m releasing from my life of slowly this year:
✅ Limiting Beliefs
I’m letting go of beliefs that slow down my growth and affect my happiness. Because of my early childhood experiences and social conditioning, I made decisions that were based on a wrong sense of duty. As the eldest in an Asian household, I’m expected to carry the weight of everyone else around me.
In the beginning, I was doing my responsibilities arising from a personal commitment. Later on, it shifted to carrying out my role out of fear. I did not want to damage my relationships and I felt obligated to perform my duties.
I didn’t realize that I was already building up resentment and frustration within me because of it. I was upholding this belief thinking it was the right thing to do, but I wasn’t aware that I was neglecting myself in doing so. I’m now practicing the act of striking a balance between meeting my needs and fulfilling my responsibilities to others.
Another limiting belief that I want to remove from my system is overcommitting. Growing up, I earned this belief that I should always be busy and productive. It was something that people glorified and being an eldest daughter, I thought that I would be perceived positively if I’m not lazy. This led to increased levels of stress. Now, I know how to say no and I’m more aware of my personal boundaries.
✅ Damaging habits
It took me almost 2 years to trim down my intake of soft drinks, sausages, ham, bacon, and other cold cuts. I can now confidently reject these items in my diet. As for sweets, I’ve been taking less supply of brownies, cookies, cakes, and pastries and somehow I’ve succeeded.
What I’m finding difficult is cutting down on coffee. It has been a habitual behavior of taking 4 to 5 cups per day. Coffee gives me psychological comfort and an energy boost and so, it is hard for me to part ways from it.
To manage this damaging habit, I’m gradually reducing my intake to just 2 cups per day, staying hydrated, and finding alternative sources of energy and comfort to help ease the process for me. Rather than cutting it out completely, what I’m trying to attain is moderate consumption of it.
Attachments to bad memories of people, situations, and experiences are also part of what I want to slowly release from myself. I’m accepting that these memories are a part of my past but they do not define my present or future. Instead of reminiscing about these things, I reframe my mind by acknowledging what I learned and how I’ve grown from it. I’m practicing forgiveness as a way to release the emotional burden associated with these bad attachments and I express my emotions through creative outlets such as writing, art, or music.
✅ Material Consumption
Since last year, I’ve become more aligned to my core and I’ve become more certain of my values and priorities in life. I’ve embraced the idea that less is more fulfilling. I’ve shifted my focus from accumulating possessions to accumulating experiences. I’m investing my resources in activities, travel, and relationships that bring joy and fulfillment.
This year, I want to have a more mindful and intentional approach to my belongings and spending habits.
Now that I’m reducing clutter, unwanted beliefs, distractions, attachments in my head space and in my living conditions, I feel that I’m gaining more mental clarity little by little, day by day. I have less things demanding for my attention and I’m able to focus on what truly matters to me.
Having lived in Sri Lanka for the last 8 years, I’ve been exposed to some of the pertinent teachings of Buddha such as lessons on impermanence, suffering, and balance. Buddha emphasized that everything in life is impermanent. This includes emotions, thoughts, material possessions, and even life itself. Attachment or clinging to things, desires, or outcomes is seen as the root cause of suffering. Buddha taught that by letting go of these attachments, one can achieve freedom from suffering.
Although letting go and letting things be can trigger sadness and apprehension at the onset, I’m sure that I will also be experiencing feelings of relief and growth in the process.
In my own practical ways, these are the strategies that I’m using to help me let go:
- Creating a letting go ritual
- Dedicating a time for decluttering
- Connecting with nature
- Mindful coloring and journaling
- Streamlining work processes
- Setting boundaries from people
- Focusing on the present moment
I strongly feel that letting go and letting things be effectively involves a combination of practical actions and changes in mindset. Once I’ve identified what I needed to release from me and why I needed to let go, the process of embracing it became easier to handle.
What about you? What are you letting go this year? Here’s a Create Your Letting Go Ritual freebie that you can use!