Letting go is hard because it means that you need to free yourself from some aspects of your past. Things that have become a part of yourself – of what makes you who you are today. Most people understand this as getting rid of that ‘thing’ resulting to a change in who you are. You can find letting go to be scary.
According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist that explained there are five stages of letting go: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
- Denial – It is the avoidance of a personal problem or reality by refusing to accept the existence of the problem or reality.
- Anger – As you accept your unfortunate reality, you will start to question yourself: ‘Why me?’. For example, you caught your partner cheating on you. The first thing that you will do is to deny it by saying: ‘This is not true’ or ‘That’s not him. He won’t ever do that to me.’ Then as you begin to realise that your partner is really cheating on you, you become angry with your partner and maybe to all men in the universe.
- Bargaining – This can be characterised by your inner dialogue or prayer. In simple words, it is what we call the ‘what ifs’. With the given example, this is when you start saying these words to yourself: ‘What if I have forgiven him?’, ‘What if I went home late that night and didn’t see it?’
- Depression – This is the stage where you feel that you lost but haven’t fully accepted it yet. It is when you realise that there’s nothing you can do but you are not prepared to accept it yet.
- Acceptance – The last stage of letting go is acceptance. It is a stage characterised by inner peace as you start to create your “new reality”. It is because you allowed yourself to go through the process and express grief, anger, depression, and regret. This is now the time where you finally understand and accept what you’re going through and decided to move forward.
Once you have recognised the need to let go, let’s understand how to let go of your past/past events:
- Ask yourself: What I’m holding on to also holding on to me? Why am I still holding on? Does it truly feel good or is it just familiar? Answer honestly.
- Recognize when it’s time to stop holding on to your past and the pain caused by it. Learning when it’s time to let go is often the most difficult part of this process.
- Remember: It’s okay to outgrow people, places, and things. It’s okay for them to outgrow you too.
- Allow yourself to grieve the loss of what you’re letting go of. You can’t heal what you don’t let yourself feel.
- Forgive yourself for your part in how things ended, just like you forgave them so many times.
- Remember: Relationships don’t need to last forever to serve their purpose.
- Sometimes the only closure you’ll get is accepting that the past can’t change, and that’s okay.
- Remember: Letting go is also letting in. Making room for something new is always hard, but it’s worth it.