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To ask HOW do you 'let it go'?

(25 Posts)
Butterly Thu 08-Sep-16 09:26:33

I hear this all the time: 'Just let it go.' Like it's the easiest thing in the world. But I don't know how to do it.

I'd really like to know from people who can let go of past problems, bad times, mistakes etc, how you do it. Do you not allow yourself to think about it? Do you write it down and burn it?? Do you say out loud, 'I forgive you/myself/the cat'?

For example, I moved to a smaller house recently and a friend who styles herself as the British Marie Kondo said she'd help me declutter. I had a large box of DC baby clothes which she convinced me was just taking up space so I got rid of it (I kept first shoes and two cardigans). Obviously she didn't force me to do this but now I'm so cross with myself (and her) for getting rid of these and can't stop wishing I hadn't. Which is totally time-wasting, serves no purpose and makes me feel bad.

So, HOW do I just let this go?

LittleBearPad Thu 08-Sep-16 09:29:23

Resists urge to post Elsa YouTube video. Sorry OP.

I just tell myself to let it go repeatedly until I do indeed let it go.

LittleBearPad Thu 08-Sep-16 09:30:17

Equally if I feel I've made a mistake I make sure I don't do it again

R2G Thu 08-Sep-16 09:35:44

With regards to the clothes just think of all the pleasure you had out of them and someone else will now have. Then distract yourself say 'what can I do right now that's more positive now I've made this space in my life'

Runningoverthefields Thu 08-Sep-16 09:36:06

Right now you're still cross with her and yourself, which is normal. You did something that you regret. You are telling yourself that you 'shouldn't' be cross, that you should 'let it go' when it's only just happened. Nonsense. It's fine to be a bit cross about something, and it's a lot easier to let things go if you let yourself be cross in the first place. It's only after allowing yourself to feel it that you'll be able to let it go.

For the DCs baby clothes - I would make something to replace that box. Maybe a collage of baby photos.

By the way, I'm a big Marie Kondo fan and have a clutter free home but I have one of my son's babygros (and he's ten years old). Just one - hardly takes up any space. Other people don't always know what is clutter and what is important. I expect your friend meant well.

panad317 Thu 08-Sep-16 09:38:43

Just think about what would happen if you didn't let it go.
Avoid feeling stressed and down about it. You've already thrown the clothes, you still have some to keep. There's no point going back to your friend to say you wish you hadn't listened to her because you'll feel worse and she'll feel awful.

Lottapianos Thu 08-Sep-16 09:45:04

Yes I know OP. So many people say 'let it go', as if its just like flicking a switch. I think what they really mean is 'please stop talking to me about this' confused Its not helpful.

I think the way forward is acceptance of your feelings. Often what makes it so hard to move on is getting stuck in 'should', as in 'I'm turning this over and over in my head and feeling angry, but I 'should' just let it go'. Feelings just are what they are, you can't switch them off. There's no 'should' when it comes to feelings. Acknowledging them and accepting them is what you need to do (not always easy!). I find it helpful to think about why I am feeling what I'm feeling - this seems to function as giving myself permission to feel that way by justifying it to myself. You feel how you feel for a reason. Then allow yourself to feel it. I sometimes have a good rant at the bathroom mirror or a cry or whatever I need to let the feelings out. Then moving on and 'letting go' seems to happen quite naturally from there - it can take time of course.

I guess what I'm saying is that it sounds like you're being very hard on yourself. You're allowed to have your own feelings

Mommawoo Thu 08-Sep-16 09:54:04

Breathing exercises work well for me. Take a deep breath through the nose then visualise a black smoke leaving your body as you exhale full of doubts, fears, anxieties and anger. Imagine inhaling a pure, white light that calms, soothes and heals your mind. Sounds a bit woo but it works for me.

Also finding a way to put your life and struggles in perspective is an excellent way to stop sweating the small things. Volunteer at a charity for those in need, watch documentaries or just read up on world history. Read spiritual quotes, motivational videos and positive stories. I'm obsessed with astrophysics and quantum physics. Learning just how incredible the universe is just brings me peace for some reason. Dp reads philosophy when he wants to destress.

Basically find a passion and explore it. If you occupy yourself with positive thoughts you will have less time for the negative ones. Good luck op flowers

RJnomore1 Thu 08-Sep-16 09:56:25

Ok what did having the whole box of baby clothes do for you that having cardigans and shoes doesn't? What did it add to your life? What ar you actually missing (because it's not the actual clothes)

If you can acknowledge that then you can deal with it and move on.

DeadGood Thu 08-Sep-16 09:57:41

Interesting post OP.

I agree with Runningoverthefields and Lottapianos. Allow yourself to feel those feelings. Maybe run through a mental list of what was in there, thinking about each item and when your baby wore it, where it came from etc. Write them down. Stick the piece of paper in the baby book. And let the feeling fade over time.

Nabootique Thu 08-Sep-16 10:01:10

I used to be hugely bothered by everything and dwell on things all the time. At some point I realised what a waste of energy it is and that is was wearing me out. Now I ask myself "Is it something I can do something about?" and "A year from now will it matter or have affected anyone?".

c3pu Thu 08-Sep-16 10:02:01

Every time I catch myself dwelling on something negative, I ask myself "is this healthy?"

When the answer is invariably a Big Fat No, I move my thoughts onto something more positive instead.

misscph1973 Thu 08-Sep-16 10:18:02

For me it was just hearing the right words, and "just let it go" were never the right words! I started receiving a psychologist's newsletter (not in English), and the way she phrased it really did it for me. It was something like "decide what you want to spend your energy on", "don't you think you deserve better than being bitter?" and "decide to give yourself a great day", "don't let things you can't change decide your life" .

So to sum up, you need to find the right words ;)

TheStoic Thu 08-Sep-16 10:24:24

Look into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Stoicism (the philosophy).

Something there may speak to you. :-)

BeMorePanda Thu 08-Sep-16 10:30:06

I visualize stuff in a balloon & actually letting it go and floating off. Some days there are many balloons.

For tougher and more immediate or invasive thoughts I have a mental baseball bat and I give things a huge wack with it and they fly off through the sky into the never never (inspired by the ending of Dr Seuss's "I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew"). As soon as they come back I hit them again - thwack!

FreddyFireflyCanFeckOff Thu 08-Sep-16 10:32:38

Ask youself these questions:

What am I annoyed about?
Is there anything I can do about it? If yes, do it. If no, this is when you "just let it go" and think about what you can do to prevent the situation in the future.

Letting it go may mean having to remind yourself when it comes into your head that there is nothing you can do to change the situation. Distract yourself when you think about it. Think about something else.

In the example you give, I think there is nothing you can do as you made the choice to get rid. Blame won't get you anywhere, it's just making you pissed at your friend. As the saying goes, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

FreddyFireflyCanFeckOff Thu 08-Sep-16 10:33:33

Bemorepanda - Love it. Going to give this a try.

Mypurplecaravan Thu 08-Sep-16 10:35:42

Why do you regret throwing away the clothes? What do they represent?

Why did you allow your friend to help with decluttering? Did you ask for her help or did she impose?

Why are you angry? It is done. What does the action of being persuaded to throw away something that has little to no intrinsic value mean to you?

I try to regrade things that bug me and look for the positives in my choices. I try to make active choices at all times (I don't always manage it) and recognise where my choices are. Even when I don't really like any of my options there is a best (or least bad) option.

It can be harder to do this retrospectively.

But you have kept a few bits for sentimental reasons

And you have more space now for your child to play in

And you spent time with a good friend laughing over the good times

Lottapianos Thu 08-Sep-16 10:35:51

I love listening to Graham Norton on Radio 2 on Saturday mornings. There's a part of his show where people write in with problems. If its's something trivial, like where the neighbours put their bins or whatever, he says 'put this in a little bin-shaped balloon and let it go'. It always makes me laugh grin I have tried it myself and it works quite well, but only for stuff that's mildly annoying rather than genuinely upsetting or hurtful

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Thu 08-Sep-16 10:37:47

I just keep telling myself I can't change it. Own the decision and move on. I did, I'm annoyed, that changes nothing.

I'm dithering about getting rid of baby clothes as well. Might sort them and try to get them into a smaller box!

gabsdot Thu 08-Sep-16 10:40:41

I had a sort of similar experience, our house was broken into and my jewellery box was stolen.
I didn't have anything expensive but a few sentimental bits, my engagement ring and a very special neckless I wore on my wedding day.
Anyway I was pretty upset about it.
I decided to let it go as you say. I had one final think about the items I'd lost, I said to myself, they're only things, you have the memories if them and photos and it's time to move on. I let myself have a cry and that was it.
I have closure and i don't think about it at all anymore.

BeMorePanda Thu 08-Sep-16 10:47:03

To clarify I don't use these techniques to dismiss my feelings (I don't think), but to stop playing things over and over in my head, or dwelling on things I can't change, or as a method to process and release anger, or as a device to move on from a relationship etc. To let go of unhealthy stuff mostly.

blueshoes Thu 08-Sep-16 11:53:32

I think some people are better at letting things go and not looking back. They are usually people who compartmentalise easily. If you are the sort of person who is quite sentimental and hangs on to the past a lot, it will be more difficult to let go.

It is a personality trait but people do change. I was more sentimental in my youth but quite hard nosed now.

I don't know how to let go but it helps to have no time to dwell. I've got a lot busier now I am older. At least I think that is what happened for me. Sorry, I guess I am not helping.

Lorelei76 Thu 08-Sep-16 12:04:41

well you can't flick a switch
just a word of advice on the Kondo thing - I live in a small flat and I don't do kondo but I have got rid of things and regretted them, usually in a fit of "OMD I must create more space".

It's not good. Unless you are living in a hoarder hovel, think carefully before you get rid of it.

Butterly Thu 08-Sep-16 18:40:08

Thank you so much for all your replies; some really interesting and helpful suggestions.

gabsdot sorry to hear about your jewellery, I'm going to follow your example. Closure is exactly what I want!

I will take on board everything people have said and acknowledge my feelings about this before using some of these techniques to move on. I don't have any baby clothes from my childhood and I genuinely don't give a shit, so I've no idea why I got my knickers in such a twist over this.

Off to look up Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Stoicism now (plus will listen to Graham Norton on Saturday!)

Thank you flowers

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