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Let It Go

Let It Be.

Let That Shit Go.

Let Go of What Does Not Serve You.


You've heard it before. But are you now ready to go inside of yourself and do the work to release what is weighing you down?


I polled my Facebook friends list last month and asked this question: What do you wish you could let go of in life?


 

MINDFULNESS EXERCISE

I invite you to sit for just 5 minutes, close or soften your eyes, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and let your foundation settle into the ground. Take a few slow but deep breaths and allow yourself this time to just be. Set the intention to pinpoint what is holding you back in life, in love, from contentment. What repetitive thought, emotion, or pattern is no longer serving you? Take a step back and become a witness to what comes up. Whatever comes up is valid. If it comes easily, that's great. If you're grasping for the answer, that's good too. This is the work. Even if it's not immediately clear, just by setting the intention, that thing you're asking for clarity on will come into your awareness very soon. Or you can come back to this exercise until it does.

 

NAME THE CULPRIT


First things first. We need to name it. What is the person, place, thing, thought, emotion, or pattern that you are hoping to release?


Notice how I didn't say memory. A few people have reached out about letting go of pain from the past. You can't erase your memories, but you can take back control of the emotion around the memory that creates your perception of the past. You can become aware of the stories you hold onto about what happened. You can also take back control over how you react when that memory pops in to say hey.


The most popular responses to the Facebook poll were Guilt, Self Doubt, and Expectations. Does that resonate with you? If we look for the root of a lot of these unproductive states or patterns or blocks we get stuck in, it all really comes back to expectations. Expectations are standards set outlining how you "should" live your life often conveyed by your family, your friends, your job, or society. Hear me out.


Much of what holds us back in life starts with programming. From very early on in life, we are programmed to elevate the importance of other people's expectations to gain love and acceptance. These are things that we all crave innately. We all naturally crave connection. Some would say it's the meaning of life.

When we are called to do something new or different that would require stepping outside of the expectations set for us, we feel self doubt. There is an inner voice that will tell us we can't do that thing that we so desperately want to do. We will disappoint, we will fail. What will they think? Self doubt goes hand in hand with fear of failure.

From a childhood of being judged, guilted or shamed every time we stepped outside of the expectations, or more likely became "unmanageable" to our caregivers, our inner child becomes wounded. It has now become your adult inner critic voice. Thriving off of old stories and limiting beliefs, this voice loves telling us about all the things we just cannot do and all the ways we "should not" be. Basically, every time you try to step outside of these perceived expectations, the inner critic will come in and outline all the ways in which you suck. Nice, right? Think of him or her as an old, angry person, cynical and jaded by the challenges life has sent them. If it makes you feel better, we can respond lovingly with an: "Ok Boomer."

The worst part of self-doubt ? The more power we give to this inner critic, the more it will stifle our power and self worth. It's also the killer of self trust and intuition, since we are constantly second guessing and even ignoring entirely those truths from within us, the nudges telling us to follow our heart and fulfill our soul's purpose.


When and if we finally DO step out of the "norm", and possibly disrupt other peoples' expectations, what we often feel next is guilt - as in that feeling of "I did something wrong". Guilt will stifle our ability to live authentically and enjoy life if we do not actively work to release this emotion and the belief system around it.


If we keep ourselves in this box of expectations, many other common negative emotions arise. We feel insecure as we compare ourselves to everyone else in that box, or category, or others with that same label. Who is doing it best? We may feel anger towards someone for not fulfilling the expectations that we placed on them. We also might experience bitterness and resentment around why these expectations even exist and why they are being forced upon us.

 

YOU'RE NOT TO BLAME


So why do we place such importance on the expectations of others? As I mentioned, we are programmed to do so. So at this time, please release any shame you may be feeling around caring what others think of you. It's not your fault. It's inevitable.

We are biologically programmed to want to fit in- it's in our DNA. Long ago, the "outcasts" didn't make it very far in life. The weird ones were discarded, literally. I will give you three examples.

Cave men: I am certain they probably killed the first guy to show up with fire. Because it's scary shit when someone wants to evolve. It was most likely the second or third guy who got all the credit for fire.

Witches: These were women embracing their feminine gifts. Storytelling, song, intuition, sensuality. The "witches" stepped outside of society's expectations. Their hangings were a public spectacle.

Jesus: Crucified. End of story.

We learn by watching what happens when people "step out of line". Fitting in is a trauma response embedded in our DNA.


We are also conditioned to "fit in" by absorbing tons of information about what we "should" be doing or how we are "supposed to" live as taught by voices of authority in childhood. Your parents, aunts, uncles, older cousins (the elders) are the people we depend on for learning about life, and we give great authority to the information they provide us. Here's the problem. When we are young we are like a sponge ready to absorb every bit of information that comes our way, especially that guidance tells us how to gain love, friendship, and acceptance. So we are vulnerable to taking stories and opinions from our elders as the "truth", when in reality most of it is just their own stories, perceptions, and even responses to stressful challenges. I like to call this game: HERE, Would you Hold My Trauma? We end up with a mess of stories and anxieties (that aren't ours), and limiting beliefs that do not serve us in anyway.


And there's more! If absorbing all of this didn't cause enough pressure to conform, you can add in the media continuously plastering images of what "normal" is in your face as well as those people in your life who may be actively and intentionally pressuring and judging you on a regular basis.


SO do you see how we are all just beautifully individual souls battling so much of the same struggles, desperately wanting to break free of the box of expectations we set for each other and ourselves in order to live a fulfilled and authentic human experience on our own terms?


Here's the moral of the story... have you guessed it yet? Get out of the box! Let That Shit Go! Here's how.


 

DOES IT SERVE YOU?


Once we have named the culprit, ask yourself honestly: Is this thing in some way contributing to my happiness or productive to my growth? Does this serve me in anyway? The answer isn't always clear.

For example, it may be instantly clear that the emotion of guilt whenever you leave your children to do something for yourself is not enhancing your life in any way, only if you truly believe in the value of prioritizing your own wellness and feel deserving of the opportunity to do so. However, Guilt's job as an emotion is only to tell you "You did something bad." So if you're self worth and self trust are not in a good place, you may be attaching a great deal of value to the feeling of guilt as it's validating the existing negative thoughts you have about yourself.

So sit with this one for a bit, and evaluate if you are honoring your truth or just allowing the emotion to reinforce false stories and limiting beliefs.

 

COMMIT


Will you let it be or let it go? Setting an intention, whether you are on a healing journey or launching a business, is paramount to your success. Truth is - if it's not helping you live optimally in some way, it's taking up space in your mind and body and contributing to the decline of your wellness. We need that space for more love, compassion, and abundance. We need the energy you're devoting to the negativity for healing and self love. So be intentional about releasing that which does not serve you. It won't happen overnight, but let the intention be your guide when the negative thought or emotion arises.

 

NON-ATTACHMENT


Not so easy is it? Is this thing stuck to you like glue?

Ask yourself again - How is it serving you? What story are you holding onto about your life that this person, place, thing, thought, belief, emotion, or pattern is validating? There may very well be a purpose it's fulfilling, even if that purpose is actually hurting you. Do you deserve to hurt?

Storytime. Recently I set an intention to release the urge to control my husband's attempts (or lack there of) at improving his health. What I intended as helpful nudges, he was interpreting as nagging, and it was hurting our relationship. So I resigned to stop the pushing, since like all of us, he is on his own journey. But something wouldn't let up. I was still annoyed that we wasn't doing what I thought was necessary, and I was still so concerned for his health that it was stressing me out more than him. So I asked myself - why are you attached to this pattern? Eventually it came to me.

In order to be considered a good wife, I was "supposed to" take care of my husband. This tendency to control his health was my way of fulfilling the expectations I had been taught about what wives "should" do. By being the good wife, I was also validating that I am good in general, that I am enough. My healing work has taught me that, regardless of what I do for my husband, or provide to my family, I am already enough as I am just for living and being. We do not have to prove our validity by doing. We are worthy now and always, whether we fulfill these expectations of the world or not.

Once I was able to pinpoint that connection, that the purpose of my attachment to this was to secure the title of the "good wife", I was able to see clearly the glue holding me to this recurring emotion.

Shine some light on your demons. They scurry really fast.

There is a weight attached to anything you hold onto. Re-evaluate your attachment to your stories. The weight of them may be holding you back from living your truest, most beautiful life. Choose You. Not the story.

 

I am so grateful for the friends who answered the poll with their open heart, and let me gain insight on what the weight is that's holding most of us back. We are all in this together and struggling in a lot of the same ways. Good news is, we don't have to do this alone.


 

Samantha Long is a yoga instructor and Self Care Mentor for Women. She is the founder of Aligned Heart Yoga & Self Care. She is a mother of two from Northern NJ.

Check out the YouTube Show and Podcast - Self Care Is My Job. April's episodes are all focused around Letting Go, hence the topic of this article.


If you'd like to chat with Sam about one on one coaching or join my waitlist for group coaching, please visit my site below or email selfcarewithsam@gmail.com.

Self Care coaching and mentorship: https://www.alignedheart.net/coaching


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