THE ART OF LETTING GO

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20 January 2023

Writer: Raven Gavino
Researcher: Raven Gavino
Editors: Rafael Reyes, Richardson dR Mojica
Graphics: Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio, Sarah Mondoy
Tweetchat Moderator: Aiah Osano 
Spaces Moderator: Kyra Ballesteros 

 

“The damage has been done. It is rooted in my heart, the wounds may heal, but the scars remain there forever.” I often heard this statement from my teacher way back in junior high school. It’s a reminder that every action that we do can greatly impact the people around us, and it cannot easily be erased from our memory. If our actions, experiences, and feelings can take root in our hearts and leave scars, is it possible for us to forget them? How can we possibly let go of it?

Letting go comes in different forms. It can be applied to our bad habits, our dreams that aren’t feasible, the painful memories and good memories that become sad ones after a while, and relationships that didn’t work out, whether it was one of friendship or one of romance [1]. 

You know, letting go can be scary because it isn’t easy. Memories are part of what makes us human. What we feel and what we experience become memories that shape who we are. That’s why choosing to get rid of those experiences in our lives can be really hard. How many times do we hear from other people the advice “Kalimutan mo na yon”, or “Matagal na yon, kalimutan mo na”? Or maybe we are that individual who advises others to do so? Is letting go influenced by how much time has passed? Is it really something that can be done by simply thinking, “I should forget this“? While forgetting can guide the process of letting go, it is not always the solution.

Why let go?

There are many reasons why we choose to go through the process of letting go. We let go of areas in our life that cause stress to free ourselves from toxic relationships and unfulfilling situations we are stuck in. By choosing to let go, we choose to nurture our sense of well-being, our mood, self-esteem, and confidence [1]. Our desire to experience relief, away from what’s giving us negative emotions, pushes us to choose better for ourselves. 

Psychology Today presents five (5) reasons why letting go helps start our journey to recovery [2]:

  1. The past cannot be changed. Constantly thinking about our pasts can drain us, and it can easily trap us into fixating on the negatives. Focusing our mindset on the lessons learned and wisdom gained from the undesired pasts can be a stepping stone toward the future [2].
  • Self-limiting beliefs prevent us from letting go. Believing that the circumstances we are experiencing are the only choice we have can limit us from growing and letting go [2].
  • Letting go creates space for something new to happen. When you clear away the debris of the past, you create a vast space for anything to happen. [2]
  • Your past is not your identity. Our past is only a part of our history; it is not totally who we are. Having experienced our past helps shape who we are for the future, so we don’t have to lean on it that much [2].
  • Letting go is the cornerstone of change. It’s easy for us to move if we are only carrying important things in our lives. An athlete who runs towards the finish line always makes himself lighter because wearing and bearing so much weight can hinder him from completing the race. Like an athlete, we cannot move forward if we do not know how to let go of what burdens us.

How to let go?

Now that we see the importance of why we should let things go, the next question is how we are going to apply that. The Founder of MindOwl suggests four (4) different ideas that can help us go through the process of letting go. These ideas focus on the area of meditation:

  1. Self-reflection. This will help us recognize the things we are holding on to that need to be let go [3].
  2. Acceptance. Closure is important for us to move forward, but if circumstances make it, so we never reach closure in that situation, then the only route forward is acceptance [3].
  3. Forgiveness. It goes hand-in-hand with acceptance. Forgiving someone is not easy, yet in order to free ourselves from that painful experience, we must learn to forgive [3].
  4. Living in the present. Oftentimes, being stuck in the past is what holds us back. Even when thinking about our future, it is rooted in the past. Living in the present means focusing on what we are today with the lessons gained from yesterday [3].

The Art of Letting Go

It is so much easier to hold onto something, to love someone, and to hope for our expectations rather than to let go of something we really wanted or someone we really loved. None of us knows how to completely let go or not fall back from time to time, but it is possible [4].

As Paulo Coelho put it in words, “If we’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward us with a new hello.” Let’s not be afraid to let go of things, especially those that trap us in a cage. Life never stops; it is never stuck in the past. What we are experiencing today is life. We should learn to be selective about what to bring to tomorrow and what to leave behind. The end isn’t always bad because it is not really “the end”. It’s a bridge that connects us to our new beginnings.

Pre-session Activity: 

Share a short story of you letting go.

Guide Questions:

  1. Why do you think it’s important to let go?
  2. What are the signs that we should let something/someone go?
  3. Write a note of encouragement to someone who is currently letting go?

Post-session Questions: 

Make a personal note when you should stay, and when to let go?

 

References

 

[1] Noonan, S. (2019, December 2). The art of letting go. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/view-the-mist/201912/the-art-letting-go%3famp

[2] Brenner, A. (2020, December 25). 5 Reasons why it’s important to let go of the past. Psychology Today. Retrieve from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-flux/202012/5-reasons-why-its-important-let-go-the-past

[3] Bastos, F. (2021, June 20). Why letting go is important. Mind Owl. Retrieved from: https://mindowl.org/why-letting-go-is-important/

[4] Naim, R. (2021, August 14). The art of letting go. Thought Catalog. Retrieved from: https://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2015/10/the-art-of-letting-go-2/

 

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