For the past week I have seen the phrase “letting go” to a ridiculous amount. Perhaps the universe is sending me a message or it’s because I’m obsessed with the James Bay song (listen to it, it’s amazing). Regardless, I’ve gotten the message loud and clear so let’s discuss the art of letting go!
In my perception, letting go can mean two things – letting go of grudges/negativity, or the action of letting go of emotions. Letting go of grudges or indignation is difficult, especially when people tell us to. When it comes to any grievance (whether it be a loss, a mean comment, someone cutting you off in traffic, etc.) we have to experience the emotion first in order to release the hold the grudge has on us (and then we let it go). If you are upset, be upset. If you are angry, be angry. Then after experiencing the evoked emotion, it will pass naturally over time, and then you can let it go. If we don’t experience the emotion (or suppress it due to social politeness) then we can never let go and it bottles up inside us wrecking mental emotional and physical havoc (and then 5 years down the road we end up yelling at the person that “wronged” us inappropriately at the littlest provoction). We have only truly let go when we start to see the lesson we gained from the experience, and appreciate the situation for it’s lesson.
The steps are then to: Let out (the emotion), let go (the grievance), and let love (yourself)
So we do we have such difficulties “letting go”? I think it’s rooted in society’s negative perception of expressing emotions. The only “accepted” emotion is our culture is anger (as it is regarded as a powerful emotion, where sadness and fear are more regarded as weak emotions), making us a more frustrated (or qi stagnated in Naturopathic terms) society. Allowing others and ourselves to be expressive is healthy. Emotions make us human, allowing us to connect to others and ourselves. This is why art, dance, music and creativity are such therapeutic tools – they allow us to express ourselves in a constructive way. Hence, why adult colouring books have become so popular as a stress reduction tool and outlet for emotions. By trying to control our emotions (especially if we feel like we have no control in our lives) we create anxiety and worry, which is rectified through art and communication.
Others steps to letting go are: Being expressive (through emotions), creative (through art) and communicative (with ourselves and others).
Attached is a colour book page I created to help cement the mantra of letting go. Feel free to share with others!