Letting Go after Change and Loss

There are always things that no longer serve us well: Routines, photographs, tee shirts. We hang on to them because, well, they aren’t necessarily bad for us. We’ve simply outgrown them. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, a feeling or a relationship, letting go can be really, really hard.

I think it’s particularly true following a period of change or loss. Holding on to parts of our former identity is what helps us cope. Transition is difficult and familiarity comforts us. We grasp things that remind us of the stability we’ve lost.

Sometimes, we get lost in the reeds, though . A sigh of relief is welcome, once the dust starts to settle and the major change is behind us. Our reprieve is extended and we lose our momentum. We might become complacent and even believe we deserve the break. Without even realizing it, we are stuck.

What can we do?

It might be a good time to take inventory – Examine those things to which we are holding on that are just good enough. It could be a relationship that has helped us through a difficult time. Or, perhaps a household item that we’ve kept just because it has been with us for so long. It might even be a perception about ourselves that is no longer accurate or useful.

We bring things with us that we believe we will need in that magical place called the future. But we need to stop and consider that we could have been wrong. Once we arrive at that new place in our lives, we should reassess.

One thing that prevents us from moving forward and getting ourselves unstuck is something that is traditionally thought of as a good thing. It’s the very foundation of what likely kept us going in the first place: Hope.

Let me explain. Maybe we hoped that things would work out with that new guy. Perhaps we hoped that we’d lose the weight and wear that dress again. We hoped that our new place would have room for the box of sentimental nick-nacks that were Mom’s. But he didn’t, we didn’t and it’s not!

Holding on to things that no longer serve us blocks the way of new and better things entering our lives. We want to avoid the emotional pain and fear that comes with letting go. Truth is, that pain will ease over time. Holding on, however, will continue to hurt forever. If we desire peace, then we must be brave enough to let go.

I found peace in the most unlikely place – right in the middle of the most chaotic time of my life. I was letting go of so much – things, places, relationships – the pain was unbearable at times. I often marveled at the irony of feeling an incredible inner peacefulness among such chaos and ruin.

Then, the dust settled. I sat back and allowed myself to relax. After all, I had certainly earned it. It had been a turbulent year and I reveled in the opportunity to sit back and do nothing. The result was stagnation. Without negative energy flowing out, there can be no good energy flowing in.

Anytime is a good time to take inventory and identify those things that no longer serve us. That time following change or loss is crucial. You’ll feel lighter. You’ll find peace amid the turbulence. Determine when hope might be destructive. Let go of the things that no longer serve you and anticipate the flow of good things that come to you!

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