The feeling in your chest just won't go away, and it's starting to
slowly eat you up each day.
repulsion, bitterness, heartbreak, sadness, volcanic rage - so
many emotions mixed together.
So much pain.
So much pure and
When will these
When will you finally
feel calm, grounded, and happy again?
It all seems like too
much for one person to carry.
You just want to enjoy
life again without the tormenting weight of anguish and bitterness
in your chest.
You just want to feel
If you're currently
facing betrayal, abandonment or unfathomable loss, I want you to
know that you're not alone.
If you've been wandering through the
Dark Night of the Soul feeling
totally separate and alone, I want you to know that this
experience won't last forever - and there is a way out and
I know what it's like to
carry so much pain inside of you that you go physically and mentally
I know how it feels to
carry a shattered heart and a deep void of emptiness within. I know
what its like to be on the bleeding edge of despair and utter
And I have seen this
struggle countless time in other people too.
But although everything around you may have lost its color, although
you may be struggling to make meaning out of what has happened to
you, there is hope.
Like the moon and stars in the night sky, there are still beacons of
light to be found in your darkness.
And one of these beacons is the practice of letting go.
What is Letting Go?
Letting go means,
being willing to
release one's attachment to past events and future imaginings,
and live in the present moment.
Letting go doesn't mean forcing yourself to get over something
horrible or making yourself forget what happened.
Instead, letting go
is a process of surrendering painful beliefs and emotions, and
welcoming in love, understanding, forgiveness, and
There is no easy
quick-fix or five-step-solution for letting go of feelings such as
anger, fear, and grief because letting go is a process.
It can take a while. But
the good news is that letting go is a process that helps us to grow,
mature, and find more happiness and inner freedom than we thought
Sometimes your heart needs to break a little for the light to get
What is the
Opposite of Letting Go?
The opposite of letting go is attachment...
The simple reality is that when we attach to or identify with our
thoughts, we suffer, but when we stop attaching to our thoughts and
simply see them for what they are: energy that we assign meaning to,
we experience freedom.
Essentially, letting go is at the very heart of the spiritual
journey of awakening from the false self (or
ego) and recognizing our True
Nature beyond thought.
Common thoughts that we attach to that create emotions such as
anger, rage, disgust, disappointment, anxiety, fear, grief, and
She should have
been a good mother.
If he hadn't
cheated, I would have been happy.
have gone differently.
I should have a
much nicer life by now.
My boss should
have promoted me.
If I stay a
little longer, he will stop his drinking.
If I did that
differently, I would be much happier by now.
She has to change
or I won't find peace.
controlling my life.
much better in the past.
I will be happy
in the future when I get what I want.
As self-inquiry teacher,
Byron Katie writes,
When you argue with
reality, you always lose - but only 100% of the time...
But what does this mean?
When we attach to our
beliefs about how life should go, we suffer each and every time
because we are resisting what is right here and right now.
When we resist
reality, we also tend to adopt the role of the victim (or
persecutor), which causes even greater suffering.
In reality, how can
we 100% know that something is completely good or bad for us?
While something like a divorce or death may immediately seem
like a terrible thing, how do we know that it is completely bad?
Can we see every
possible future outcome and consequence of such an occurrence in
the present moment? Of course we can't.
Is it possible that
such an experience could actually give birth to good things as
well? Of course!
Yet we continue to
believe and insist that such an incident shouldn't have happened
when the reality is that it is what it is.
With or without our
thoughts it has still happened...
Of course, experiencing a
loss or trauma doesn't mean that we should ignore how we feel.
It's perfectly normal and
important to allow ourselves to feel the anger, confusion, grief,
fear, hatred, and bitterness within us. But once we start attaching
ourselves to these emotions, we experience suffering.
It is our attachment and identification with our thoughts that is
the sole cause of our suffering.
I'll repeat that sentence again:
It is our attachment
and identification with our thoughts that is the sole cause of
Ways of Letting Go
As I mentioned previously, letting go is a process that takes time
There is no quick and
immediate way to let go of all your painful feelings.
However, one of the
fastest ways I have personally found of letting go is questioning
and disbelieving thoughts, and to find who you really are
beneath all of the inner chatter.
This method is known as
self-inquiry and helps you to get to the root of your
suffering. Even so, there are dozens of other practices out there
which can help you start the process of letting go.
The techniques I have shared below can help to both indirectly and
directly assist you in letting go.
Letting Go of Anger and Rage
1. Allow yourself
Find a private place to unleash your emotions.
If you're too
embarrassed to scream out loud, get your pillow and bury your
head into it. If you have a pool, jump in and scream at the top
of your lungs.
something that makes you cry
Sadness is the emotion that often forms a sandwich around anger.
In other words, anger is often a form of sadness and vice versa.
To access this anger,
watch a movie (or listen to a song) that makes you cry.
3. Write an
Let out your rage through writing. Detail every little thing
that you're angry about and don't hold back your feelings.
Curse, condemn, and
threaten the person or situation as much as you like until
you've exhausted your feelings. Once you're finished, rip up or
safely burn your letter.
On a small piece of paper, write down the name of a person who
has provoked great anger inside of you. Light a candle and drop
the piece of paper into the flame, watching as it burns and
curls up into ash.
assertive and take no sh*t
Anger is often the result of not speaking up for ourselves and
feeling oppressed by another person. To avoid repressing this
emotion, learn how to negotiate and be assertive.
doesn't mean being aggressive. Instead, assertiveness is a
healthy style of communication that kindly but firmly honors
your needs, as well as the other's needs.
6. Do some
kicking, punching or intense exercise
Rage and anger are fiery forms of energy that can be healthily
expressed through exercise. Try some form of intense workout and
make your objective to feel your anger to the fullest.
responsibility for your happiness
Often, anger tends to be accompanied by blame and criticism that
is directed towards another person.
Remember that no one
can take away your happiness. As hard as it is to accept, the
problem isn't the other person, it is how you react to that
Realize that anger is
a normal reaction, but it doesn't need to define you.
how much energy anger burns up
It takes so much of our effort and energy to hold onto grudges
and bitterness. Notice how forgiveness and letting go of
resentment actually increases your energy and fills you with
Understand that anger harms you more than anyone
Staying angry at someone hurts you the most.
In some cases, anger
actually empowers the other person because you're showing them
how much energy and effort you're putting into hating them.
(This is why internet
trolls thrive so much.)
people say and do says more about them than you
Whenever another person is mean, unkind, or cruel, their
behavior is secretly a reflection of how they treat themselves.
This sad truth can help you feel better and also practice
disarming and letting go of intense emotions.
Letting Go of
Anxiety and Stress
Water symbolizing the Chinese concept of Wu Wei
(literally ‘non-action') or mindfully aligning your actions
with the cycles of nature and not fighting
against the currents of life.
the belief behind your fear
All forms of anxiety and stress are linked to the thoughts in
belief is causing you such great fear? Remember that thoughts
are just thoughts: they don't mean anything about you or your
life until you give them meaning by believing in them.
So what core belief
is triggering your anxiety? Take a moment to reflect and
into your breath
Mindful breathing is such a simple technique yet one of the most
powerful out there.
When you focus on
your in-breath and out-breath (without trying to control or
change them) you're essentially drawing yourself back into the
present moment. Anxiety and stress develop when our minds get
lost in past or future thoughts.
So mindful breathing
is a simple way of grounding you in the here and now.
You can also
experiment with specific forms of breathwork techniques that
stimulate the vagus nerve which sends signals to your brain to
calm you down.
natural soothing herbs
Herbs such as damiana and holy basil are effective
herbal remedies for anxiety that help to calm down your nervous
Once your body is
relaxed, you can then begin the process of letting go of
anxiety-provoking thoughts. If you're struggling with extreme
muscle tension and feel physically crippled by anxiety, you
might even like to consider medication for a short period of
I have nothing
so long as it's a
temporary method that is accompanied by proactive natural
is to use psychedelic plant medicines such as small quantities
of marijuana or psilocybin mushrooms if they are legally
accessible in your country.)
that you cannot control your thoughts
The reality is that we cannot control our thoughts, otherwise,
don't you think we would always choose to think positive and
spontaneous and uncontrollable like the waves in the ocean.
Yes, we can force
ourselves to think happy thoughts, but that is not a true
merely a practice of superimposing one thought on top of
that you can't control your thoughts may be a little shocking,
ultimately it is liberating! You no longer have to shame
yourself for thinking a certain way or fear that you're "not
good enough" because you can't think positively.
Understand that you
cannot control your thoughts, but you CAN become aware of them -
this helps you to disidentify with them, and therefore, stop
fighting how you feel
Resistance to your fear creates even more tension and fear.
Instead, allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling.
Stay grounded through
your breath or feeling into other parts of your body that feel
solid, and gently allow whatever is arising inside of you to
come and go.
grounded in the present moment
Practice mindful awareness exercises to take you out of your
head and into the present.
Notice the colors,
sounds, smells, textures, tastes, and different feelings in your
body. Anchor yourself in the Now by noticing what is happening.
anxiety as a teacher, not an enemy
When we demonize anxiety, we tend to increase our anxiety - this
is because we are resisting what we're experiencing and labeling
it as "bad."
Try to change your
perspective. Understand that everything in life can be a teacher
if we let it.
Anxiety may just be
your greatest teacher in life, helping you to develop
self-awareness, mindfulness, compassion, and ultimately the
ability to surrender to that which is beyond your control.
18. It's OK
to feel scared
It's completely normal to feel afraid and anxious.
So many people out
there share your struggles. Being vulnerable to life isn't a
failure, in fact, admitting that you're scared is actually a
form of strength.
also normal to feel anxious about your anxiety!
experiencing is totally OK and, in fact, part of the shared
time alone to recuperate each day
Relaxing in solitude is so vital for our mental health. Our
thoughts tend to go a bit wild when we have no time to sit down
Make sure you spend
time alone, preferably in nature!
20. Find a
There are so many amazing relaxation techniques out there.
Whether it be EFT
(emotional freedom technique), PMR (progressive muscle
relaxation), meditation, yoga, or something else, ensure you do
Letting Go of
Toxic People and Relationships
21. Journal about
Pour out your feelings and regrets in a private journal. Let
writing and expressing your innermost thoughts be a balm for
Learn more about how
that you did the best you could
When a relationship ends we tend to obsessively dwell on the
past and all that we did wrong.
Be kind to yourself
and realize that you did the very best you could with the
knowledge and maturity you had at the time. There's no need to
beat yourself up.
If you don't feel like forgiving someone, don't force yourself.
There's no need to be
disingenuous or quasi-spiritual about what you're experiencing.
Allow yourself to feel royally pissed! Give yourself space to
rage and vent. You'll forgive when you feel ready to forgive,
and not a moment before.
So let go of the
guilt and honor how you feel right now.
If you're not comfortable with something or someone, respect
yourself by creating personal boundaries. Don't let anyone abuse
you or ignore your limits. Be firm but kind.
Preserve your energy
and only use it on those you feel comfortable having in your
regrets and live in the moment
When relationships end we're often filled with intense regrets.
While regret is normal to experience, realize that the past is
Pining over what
"could have been" or what you "could have done differently" only
creates more suffering.
regretful thoughts, but don't attach to them - just let them go.
If you must, create a mantra that will help you live in the
present such as "I live here, now."
gift is this experience trying to impart?
Every experience in life holds a secret and sacred gift, even
the most heartbreaking circumstances. Explore what the painful
circumstance or person has taught you willingly or unwillingly.
What gift do you now
possess that you didn't before?
the core issue
Often times, we find letting go impossible because we're still
confused about what happened. In order to help you find peace,
think about why your relationship crumbled.
Try to avoid blaming
yourself or the other person:
stick to the
facts as much as you can.
For instance, you
might discover that your relationship burned out quickly because
neither of you learned how to love yourselves - or perhaps the
central issue was being too busy or distracted.
28. Let go
of the need to be right
The monkey mind (aka.,
the ego) hates being wrong and
is addicted to feeling right.
One way we stay
locked in the past is by trying to desperately prove that we are
the victim, and the other is the perpetrator. In order to get
past this, realize that what was done was done. There's nothing
that can be done about it now.
The healthiest thing
for you is to move on and practice letting go.
the mind's tendency to romanticize
It's much easier to let go of a human being than your "one true
love" or "prince/princess."
In order to let go,
remember the good as well as the bad. Our minds have a habit of
seeing the past through rose-tinted glasses, conveniently
blocking out whatever caused us suffering.
Notice this mental
trick and realize that happiness cannot ever be found in the
past, only the present moment.
Understand that you cannot change anyone
No matter how hard you try, how much you dream or plan, you
cannot change anyone.
You cannot make
anyone nicer or healthier or a better person. Sometimes, we
continue to cling to hope because we're convinced that we can
change our partners, friends or family members.
But believing that
you can change someone is false hope. Another person can only
change if they first decide to change. And this decision to
change has to authentically and sincerely come from them (not
Realizing this can
help you practice letting go.
Letting Go of Frustration and Impatience
what you're trying to control
Frustration is often the result of trying to control something
that is beyond your power. What are you trying to control
outside of yourself?
expectations aren't being met?
Expectations create immense amounts of frustration and
impatience. What are your expectations, how realistic are they,
and how are they causing you to suffer?
Simplify your life
Holding onto expectations and beliefs about how life "should be"
tend to be increased by a busy and frantic life. What can you do
to release the craziness of your life?
For instance, you
might like to reduce your number of work or social commitments,
stop using social media so much, or even adopt a minimalist
34. Let go
of letting go
Are you frustrated that you just can't seem to let go?
Ironically, this expectation is a great source of inner tension.
Like any concept or
idea in life, please hold this notion gently with compassion for
yourself. Surrender takes time. Sometimes, letting go of letting
go actually helps you to, well, let go! Give yourself space and
It's all OK, really.
Letting Go of
Depression and Grief
everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.
What types of thoughts are dominating your brain?
In my article about
how to overcome anxiety and depression I explore twelve of the
most common distortions, e.g., mind-reading, fortune-telling,
self-dismissal, catastrophizing, and many others.
Learn more about the
twelve dreamlike perceptions causing you anxiety and depression.
In whatever small way you can, be kind to yourself, even if that
just means putting on an extra jumper because you're cold.
Give yourself the
permission and space to live life at your own pace. Do one kind
thing for yourself each day. Practice mindful self-compassion.
Get some fresh air and sunshine
Sometimes, simply going outside and feeling the wind and the sun
against your skin is enough to pull you out of your head. Try
going for a short walk.
If you have a pet,
take them along with you and notice how happy they are to be
walking with you. Pets have such a wonderful way of grounding
and reminding us of the little pleasures of life.
yourself to feel whatever you've locked away
Depression is often the result of shutting away and numbing too
many emotions for too long.
Little by little, try
to release the emotions buried within you. Express how you feel
through art therapy, journaling, sports, dance, or whatever
Remember to stay
connected to your breath or body as you allow the emotions to
bubble up and release.
the inevitability of change
Is resistance to change causing you complex grief? Sometimes we
develop depression because we're so resistant to the transience
We desperately want
everything to stay the same because it provides us with a sense
of comfort and safety. And when things change, we become
terrified and numb ourselves to avoid our fear.
Please know that it's
okay to feel scared. We all feel that way. Accepting that change
is inevitable can also be very liberating.
For example, how dead
and boring would life be if everything always remained the same
forever? Change is what makes life feel so alive and vibrant.
Sometimes a simple
shift in perception is all we need.
Thoughts are just thoughts: they mean nothing about you until
you believe they do.
previously in this article, we don't choose our thoughts: they
simply arise in our heads. The problems only begin when we
believe these thoughts instead of letting go of them (this, by
the way, is the essence of meditation).
Each day, try to name
your thoughts that create suffering. You can name your thoughts
on paper or mentally.
Different examples of
thought types include worry thoughts, fearful thoughts, future
thoughts, past thoughts, expectation thoughts, angry thoughts,
resentful thoughts etc.
Read up on depression and grief. Gather alternative insights
different from your own. Give your brain the space to learn and
develop new perspectives.
Reconnect with your soul
To me, depression is a clear sign of
What we're really
longing for is the infinite love, peace, understanding, and
compassion that lies at our very core.
We believe that what
we need exists within a new romantic relationship, better house,
more money, or an upgraded personality, but the truth is that
we're all searching for the home hidden within the ever-present
The problem is, most
of us have forgotten that there's more to life than what society
It's hard for us to
believe that there is more than what we see because we have been
conditioned to see life through a narrow mental lens.
Inner work is the
practice of dissolving the blockages within you that obscure
your Inner Light.
Some simple inner
work practices that you can explore include practicing inner
child work, healing meditations, and self-love (I recommend
starting with our self-love journal if you'd like a more guided