cheek with the words 'fuck you' in light over and over again on them

Learning to let it go

Generally speaking, I am a happy person. I enjoy things in my life, and I find that it doesn’t take much to make me smile. I have a loving family, a great job, and wonderful friends. You name it. All of these things are important to me, and it’s because of that and my love for myself that I decided I needed to make a change. This was the most important decision I ever made – learning to let it go. Without specifics, we all have our traumas, fears, reasons and toxic people in our lives. Although we can not change the past, we can absolutely shape our future. We can make the decision to linger on misery no longer and to find the light once again. How? Let it go! That’s right, free yourself from the restrictive binding that is suffocating you. At face value, this sounds like a bandaid on a gunshot wound for some, and honestly, it used to be for me. Pretending I wasn’t still angry, that I didn’t have any resentment. It’s all a very heavy weight that keeps pushing you down farther and farther. If you feel like I am calling you out right now, it’s because I am! I’m looking at you and all of that pent-up anger. As humans, we can only take so much pressure before we crumble, and I can not express enough how life-changing a simple mindset shift has been in this regard. I consider myself to be a pretty level-headed individual, and everyone is different, but if you are letting things you have no control over run your life, you will never be able to shed that weight that’s holding you back from real happiness, no matter how much of a trooper you are.


Recognizing that you are holding on to this bundle of hate can be difficult. I blamed my bad moods on being tired, stressed at work and so on. I didn’t realize I was exuding my cold outlook onto those who didn’t deserve it. I denied it, masked it, ignored it and more. It was taxing, to say the least. I began seeing that all of my anger was turning me into just the kind of person who would cause such resentment in others, and I didn’t like that. This took a very long time for me to see, and making the changes I did was not easy at first. Not everything is forgivable or forgivable, but I made it a point to forgive those who did not know the damage they had caused if I found that the reasoning was not with poor intentions. I looked at the bad memories for face value. Did they intentionally hurt me? Did they know how I felt? Most of the time, the answers to these questions were “No”. For many reasons, I never spoke out against toxic individuals, no matter who they were. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but people are not mind readers. Things may have turned out differently had I spoken up and expressed my feelings. Instead, I chose to sit under a dark cloud without a word because, at the time, it was easier. People grow and learn, but if nobody calls them out on their bad behavior, why would they even think it was damaging? I do not blame myself for the actions of others. I do, however, hold myself accountable now for not speaking up if I feel the need. This was the first step I took to shed the unwanted weight of anger I was holding. It truly allowed me to not only prevent unintended anguish in the present but also begin to forgive the damage from the past. It’s something I continue to practice and will never again abandon for the easy way out.


The next step was recognizing just exactly what I was so mad at. This is the hard part. Am I mad that an ex didn’t try harder? Am I still upset that my old boss didn’t give me the major promotion I wanted? These are, of course, light examples, but all things that can creep up the sad ladder to the top on occasion. In reality, my ex didn’t try harder to keep me because I was so concerned that they weren’t trying that I had stopped trying myself. Communication could have helped that situation. There, of course, is always more to it than that, but that’s the nutshell version. That promotion that I thought was a make or break for me? It wasn’t that my boss thought I was incapable of doing the job, it was that someone far more qualified had applied, and I took it personally. The point is many of the little things that cause us sadness or anger in our lives continue to affect us mentally. It is so important to look at these smaller pieces of the puzzle first and not allow them to have victory over you. That being said, those who have hurt you intentionally do not deserve the time of day. These issues are, of course, harder to work out, but recognizing them and why they keep a hold on you is the start of the healing process. People will also try to bring you down with them, even unintentionally, but you have come far and long in this journey. Have faith in yourself. Just because misery loves company doesn’t mean you have to fall into the rabbit hole you were invited to gander. Appreciating what you have, what you have built despite the bad things that have happened to you, is the first defence against anger. This isn’t to say you should flaunt your newfound light in the faces of others, who are clearly dealing with issues of their own, but it will certainly help you help them if that’s the direction things are going in. But that’s a conversation for another day. 


Now, this doesn’t mean “sweep it under the rug” because dealing with things is an important part of being a person in general. If you are struggling or feel the weight is too heavy, ask for help. This also doesn’t mean that it’s an overnight change. It took me years to realize that things from the past that I’ve held onto for so long have not only shaped me in the way I conduct myself and the decisions I make but have taught me that there will always be consequences for my actions. Actions of others, actions of myself and so on. When I find myself slipping back under the rain cloud, I remind myself that I can’t control what other people do, only myself. I am not responsible for the behavior of others. What helps me even more is remembering that someone who hurt me in the past is exactly there. In my past. I learned and moved on from them, one way or another. Again, this is not to say that you should just ignore the things that bother you (whatever that may be, we all have different experiences) but to acknowledge them. Give it the time it deserves to allow you to really heal. This will mean different things to different people. Many times the situations we hold in contempt in our minds have hindered us from doing or saying what we really mean or otherwise. Don’t let the past rob you of happiness. There is so much joy to be had in this massive experience of a world we have. Celebrate the good times, appreciate the life that you have made for yourself, and as usual, take care of yourself!


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