Marilyn Monroe said, "...sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
Both quotes speak directly to letting go of attachment, yet wise words are not usually enough to inspire us to change our unresourceful behaviours. Sadly, this leaves us at the mercy of our habitual ways of thinking and being in the world.
The truth about human beings, is that someone could spell “it” out for us and chances are we wouldn't believe them - even if it was crystal clear. Why? Because we are hardwired for negative thinking, which means we are quite comfortable with suffering.
And by suffering I mean:
not getting what you want.
getting what you don't want.
feeling upset when things don't go as planned.
Basically, any time you feel thwarted in your desire, have unmet expectations, or experience failure of some kind you will experience suffering. And when there's suffering, there is no peace. To make matters worse, you will have set yourself up for it due to the eons of negative thinking that got us here.
A few eye-opening facts about negative thinking:
You have about 60,000 thoughts per day.
95% of the 60,000 daily thoughts you have are the same ones you had yesterday.
On average, 80% of your daily thoughts are negative.
Math doesn't lie, which means that you have more than 45,000 negative thoughts each day. These statistics make it clear as to why it takes us such effort to break our limiting patterns.
So at this point you may be thinking, “if we (as humans) are stuck with this because this is how we've evolved, then what can we do about the suffering that keeps us stuck and unmotivated in life?” Simply put, we have to train ourselves to think and act in new ways. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s absolutely essential if we want to experience peace in our lives. Of course, this takes some effort and it requires us to let go of old stories, limiting beliefs, and excuses that have us stuck suffering and separate from a peaceful, resourceful way of being.
Let's take a look at how you can begin letting go and shifting to a more peaceful, productive way of living.
1. “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell
This doesn't mean not planning at all, which is often why we ignore this wisdom. It means, go ahead and make your plans, and then do your best. Hanging on keeps you firmly rooted and stuck, while letting go gives you back your energy and paves the way forward.
Action: Think of something that is keeping you stuck. Inhale deeply and feel the emotions that come up around feeling stuck; frustration and disappointment are common. Intensify and even exaggerate the feelings, and as you exhale, imagine them flowing down and out of your body. Repeat two to three times, each time feeling the emotions fully and then letting them go.
Result? Room to breathe, more energy, and clarity around the issue, all of which will lead to a more effective action.
2. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu
All of those old stories that you have about yourself and why you can't do what you want in life are like anchors weighing you down. It's time to let them go, and the best way to do that is by starting with a clean slate.
Action: On a blank piece of paper, write down all of the negative chatter in your head about who you are. These thoughts are not actually who you are, so get them out of your head and onto that paper. Take that paper along with a pack of matches and set that sheet of paper on fire. Cathartic? Yes! Freeing? Absolutely. Then, grab another sheet and start creating who you might be.
Result? A new sense of spaciousness in which you can create and declare who you really are.
3. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” - Herman Hesse
Listen, if there was a prize for holding on I'm sure we would have been notified by now! There is no prize, but there is absolutely a cost, and that is your well-being, vitality and life-force. Do you really want to keep paying that?
Action: Think of the thing you're hanging onto. Where is it living inside of you, and how does it manifest? Anger, resentment, relationships? Where's the source? What triggers it? When you can see clearly where it all began and how very little it has to do with your present and your future, you'll find it much easier to let it go.
Result? Lightening up, and even gaining some humour about the very thing that has kept you stuck all along.
Given that we've been hardwired for negative thinking since prehistoric times, this isn't an overnight process. But, with time and attention, you really can transform your thinking. Day by day you develop that muscle, creating a new experience of life that is peaceful, and yet more powerful than you've ever imagined.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” - Eckhart Tolle
Sandi Amorim is a Deva-Lutionary coach and writer committed to unleashing your freedom from limiting beliefs and ‘someday thinking.’ She does so with over 15 years of training and development as a Solution Focused Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Harmony Integration Coach. She can be found sharing her passion for love and freedom at DevaCoaching.com.