The beauty and simultaneous tragedy of life is that it is always changing.
Everything is in a constant state of birth, death, growth, and decay. Understanding and accepting this reality causes us to live at peace with life. But resisting this ever-changing reality causes us tremendous suffering. To let go and move on, when all is said and done, is the wisest way to live.
Because when we surrender our attachment to emotions, thoughts, beliefs, people, and experiences, we are actually flowing with life. Think of life like one big river: you can either be a rock within that river constantly battling the current of water. Or you can be a leaf that gently floats on top of that river. Which approach is more peaceful?
So much changes within the course of our lives. We fall in love. We fall out of love. We have children. Our children move away. We study. We graduate. We get a job. We start hating our job. Or, we love our job. People come and people go. Relationships blossom and wither. Dreams burn strong and then fade. Hate can turn into love, and love into hate. We become healthy, then we fall ill. And on, and on, and on.
Life can change in the blink of the eye. Your reality can change within a second. To surrender to this reality and accept it is the beginning of true wisdom. Have you surrendered yet?
Signs of the Inability to Let Go and Move On
Understandably, change can make us comfort and safety-seeking human beings feel extremely vulnerable. If we did not learn how to let go and move on while growing up, a number of issues can arise, the most common of which is depression and anxiety.
Other signs of the inability to let go and move on include hoarding, being possessive, rigid, clingy, and stubborn.
Letting Go and Potty Training
Famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed there was a link between our ability to let go and move on, and our parent’s approach to our toilet training as children.
The anal zone, as Freud pointed out, was a battleground for two conflicting impulses when growing up: that of eliminating and retention. If we were rewarded for evacuating our bowels as young children, it was likely that we grew up being flexible and adaptable people. However, if we were punished (such as with a smack or scolding such as “not here!”), it was likely, according to Freud, that we grew up to become overly “anal retentive.”
9 Ways to Let Go and Move On
Regardless of what result you get in the test, it’s always important to develop healthy habits. Here are nine effective ways to let go and move on:
1. Distance yourself from the situation – Mentally and emotionally untangle yourself from a situation and keep it at arm’s-length for a few days. Often, this simple practice will help you to get a bird’s-eye view of a problem and allow you to develop more objectivity.
2. Accept responsibility and avoid blame – Blame and self-victimization deepen attachment to any person or situation. Accept responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, choices, and behaviors and step away. It is not your place to try and change other people. People will only change if they consciously make the decision to change.
3. Express how you feel – Don’t keep your emotions bottled up inside. Find a healthy way to express how you feel. Various forms of ‘emotional catharsis’ include journaling, making artwork, intense exercise, crying or screaming (in a safe and private place), dancing, boxing, singing, etc.
4. Do a release ritual – Rituals help the unconscious mind to find closure. Create a ritual that will help you to let go and move on, such as writing down the situation, memory or feeling and burning it in a candle, burying it, or throwing it into the ocean.
5. Make a conscious decision to move on – Reclaim your personal power. Understand that moving on is a choice and decision that you make. Remember that you have the power to choose what you dwell on.
6. Focus only on what can be changed – What is within your power to change? If you can’t change something, change the way that you think about it.
7. Ground yourself through mindfulness – If you keep finding yourself dwelling on something, ground yourself in the present moment. Use mindfulness to connect with your breath, body sensations, or the noises and surrounding environment around you.
8. Show gratitude for what you have – Gratitude may sound cliche, but it is actually an extremely powerful practice with many scientifically proven benefits. Every day, focus on finding at least three things you are thankful for. Take a moment to close your eyes, breathe in the gratitude, and let it fill your heart.
9. Ask for help – Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage. If you continue struggling to let go and move on, find an online counselor, or speak to a trained therapist. There are many affordable options out there. Investing in your well-being is worth every cent.
If you would like more guidance, check out my article on letting go (it has over 40 recommendations).
Take the Test!
Note: if you get equal scores, this means that you have a fairly balanced approach to life. So there’s not too much to worry about!