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The Art of Letting Go

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The Art of Letting Go - Find Your Feisty Podcast, Episode 31

Highlights for The Art of Letting Go

  • Let’s talk about letting stuff go… (0:20)
  • Letting go: 1-2-3 and A-B-C (2:50)
  • Let go of unhealthy patterns (6:05)
  • Let go of relationships (7:30)
  • Let go of expectations (11:30)
  • Let go of the idea that you need to be healed or that you’re broken (14:35)

The Art of Letting Go

Let’s talk about letting stuff go!

I’ve been accused more than a few times of holding on to shit. There have been times when it served me to hang on and other times when I was desperately clinging to stuff that was clearly dead.

Being able to let go has always been hard for me. I was a grudge holder and an emotional hoarder when it came to some stuff.

I held grudges because I misunderstood forgiveness. I thought if I let things go, then I was giving people permission to treat me badly. I held on to things to hold other people accountable, but that was like drinking poison and expecting the person to die. I was so wrong, and I wasted so much time!

And that’s why I’m writing about this – so you don’t have to.

Holding on to the hurt didn’t protect me. Learning to let go of the pain, forgiving myself and others, and being willing to move forward has been the best path for me.

I’m getting better about that and cleaning up my environment – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and it’s felt like freedom!

Letting Go: 1-2-3 and A-B-C

Overall, we hold onto shit patterns, relationships, thoughts that no longer serve us, and visions of who we think we are or should be.

The art of letting go involves—

  1. Knowing your worth
    1. You are worthy and whole!
    2. If a relationship or a job or a situation doesn’t work out, don’t make it mean anything about you. You still rock!
    3. Live with your own integrity and by your own code, and always be true to yourself.
    4. Say what you want and ask for what you need.
  2. Not investing what other people think
    1. Other people’s opinions about your life are irrelevant – they get to make their own choices for THEIR life.
    2. You can’t live your life and your values while waiting for someone’s approval.
  3. Doing things in your own time and in your own way
    1. Let go when you’re ready and not because someone told you it’s time to get over it. Don’t let people rush you!
    2. I’m always horrified when people say to someone who’s grieving, “It’s been 2 months since you broke up. You need to stop crying and get back on the horse and start dating again” or “ You need to stop crying; it’s been 6 months since they died” – WHAT?!?!!?
    3. You will get over your pain when you are damn well good and ready. It takes the time it takes, and everyone’s process is different. There is no timetable for letting go, just your willingness to do it.

Here are some common areas for letting go from my experience and the experiences of other people.

Let Go of Unhealthy Patterns

Most people hear the words “unhealthy patterns” and think about eating or exercise.

Yes, there are unhealthy patterns in those areas, but I’m talking about letting go of treating yourself like crap!

One of the biggest unhealthy patterns I see in people – and surely myself – is the way we talk to ourselves. This is such a bad habit!

We say, “I can’t do that,” or “I’m so stupid!” or “I’m so lazy.” The way we speak to ourselves matters, so let that go IMMEDIATELY!

If you always feel like you’re being slimed when you engage with someone – disrupt that pattern!

Don’t treat yourself like shit, and don’t let others treat you like shit, either!

Let Go of Relationships

We’ve all had our hearts broken. Relationships can be amazing, but sometimes they’re hard, and they don’t always turn out the way we want them to. Sometimes we have to face the reality that a relationship is falling short of our needs or expectations.

We can’t control other people – as much as I would like to 😉 – and that means we have to be prepared and respect ourselves enough to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves us or someone who doesn’t respect us.

Just like outgrowing our clothes while we grew as children, we outgrow our relationships, whether that’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, or even a family relationship.

There comes a time when some people who are in our lives have served their purpose, and they move on … it happens. People change; it’s inevitable.

Everybody is changing all the time, and we don’t always change at the same time or in the same ways as others. Growing apart, becoming divergent, and things being different is unavoidable.

I know that I’m changing as a person. I feel like I’m the same person at my core, but I have definitely changed what I allow around me and how I react to people and situations, and I’m sure that doesn’t work for everybody.

I was recently having a conversation about how some friendships fizzle out. Sometimes, there’s no huge blow out – things just change, and people go in their own directions. There are no hard feelings, but the closeness you once felt isn’t there anymore.

Now, if that person needed me and called me for help, I would be there in a heartbeat. But on a day-to-day basis, the relationship is different – and that’s okay!

Here’s my stance on outgrowing relationships or people growing apart—

  • I’m in the same place where you left me, and I’m not going to chase you down to be my friend (or insert another relationship here).
  • I’m not going to change who I am to fit who you’ve become.
  • I’m going to stand in the same place as when you backed away, so if you want to come back and be friends, I’m here, and I’m waiting, and I will welcome you back with open arms.
  • BUT I will not move away from my place of peace or from my own well-being or from my values to chase you down and be friends with you. I will not do that!

And when I think about my relationships in those terms – my working so hard to get to a place of peace and living my values and standing in my own well-being – there are most certainly relationships that don’t fit that …  and those people are just going to move away.

And there’s no paperwork for the dissolution of a friendship; there’s no signing, it’s not a divorce – actually, for some people, maybe it IS a divorce! – but there is a change in the relationship.

The more you solid you get with yourself and your well-being and what works for you … sometimes your relationships aren’t going to be the same – AND THAT’S OKAY.

Because if you’re choosing yourself and your well-being, that’s all that you can do.

Let Go of Expectations

Letting go of expectations has been one of the best things I’ve ever done! It has changed how I react to certain people.

I had very high expectations for some people, and they were constantly disappointing me because I’d made a list of my expectations for how they should be and how they should act and how they should show up – and that’s just not who they are.

And so, I was constantly being disappointed … but I did that to myself when I made the list of criteria. And I had to learn to let that shit go!

I try very hard not to have expectations for other people; that way, I can’t be disappointed.

But we also have expectations for ourselves – we are our own worst critics and hold ourselves to ridiculous, insane standards that just aren’t fair to us.

We mistakenly believe that we should be thin and rich and have a six-pack. We should always be organized, and the house should always be perfect, and we should always have everything under control … and still have time to bake brownies for our kid’s classroom.


We can be a mess and disorganized and miss an appointment and forget to our kids their lunch and STILL be awesome!

Maybe today wasn’t your finest day but look at everything you DID get done. Stop focusing on all the ways you failed! Celebrate all things you did well, even if that’s just brushing your hair or getting dressed!

10 gold stars for you!

When we let go of comparing our insides to other people’s outsides, life just flows easier. You have no idea what goes on behind other people’s closed doors…

Your neighbor may have a chef prepare all their meals – or a nanny or a cleaning person or a personal assistant or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

It sounds like a dream come true, but you’re comparing you doing it all by yourself with someone who has a team of people to do it all for them.

It’s like celebrities and their glam squads. They have someone doing their nails, their makeup, their hair, their eyebrows, their eyelashes, their clothes – everything!

And we compare ourselves to that when we’re trying to get out the door with our kids and our coffee and our sanity intact – all on our own. It’s not the same!

We have to adjust our expectations for other people, and more so for ourselves. You can’t compare what your life actually looks like to your expectations for it because, most likely, your expectations are not rooted in reality!

Accept the things you cannot change and live in peace.

Let Go of the Idea That You Need to Be Healed or That You’re Broken!

This is a doozy for me and a recent aha!

I’m taking a class, and at the start of the class, someone talked about how we may never be healed, that there is no destination or finality or artificial finish line. Hurt happens, and it becomes a part of us.

After I heard that, I felt this instant freedom wash over me.

Since I was 10 years old, I’ve thought I was broken or bad or not good enough. I’ve done some crazy shit chasing that magic pill that could fix all my problems, and spent decades waiting not to be broken anymore, to finally be healed!

NEWS FLASH! I’m not broken, and I never was – and neither are you!

You are whole and amazing!

You’ve met with challenges and endured betrayals and loss … we all have. And the minute we let go of the ideas that those things happened because we are broken and that we may never heal, we will feel freedom!

We have lived. We have experienced hardship or trauma or hurt, and we may always feel them although we have healed and moved on.

Our healing is an upward spiral! We feel the pain, we heal, and we move forward, onward, and upward on a path of continual work.

And as we learn and grow, we pick up new information, and we can use a fresh perspective to reexamine our old wounds. When we reexamine the old pain with new information, we achieve another level of healing, and the cycle continues…

We heal a little more, we move forward, and we learn and grow … and each time we go around another revolution on that upward spiral.

It means that we aren’t ever completely healed. The scar will remain on our soul, like the healed place on a broken bone can be seen on an x-ray. It’s there, and it’s healed, but it will never go away completely.

Our pain is a part of us; it’s made us who we are – stronger and more resilient.

I want to remind you that you can call on those experiences that were once painful and raw, and you draw them up as a source of strength to help other people.

That is the magic of the old hurt and letting it go – you can never go back to a bone being unbroken, but you have healed and moved on, and that becomes your superpower in helping others.

Putting my pain in a pretty box and never revisiting it again doesn’t work for me, and my guess is that it doesn’t work for most people. That’s avoidance, hiding, or numbing, or some form of if-I-don’t-see-it-then-it’s-not-there.

Healing is layers of upon layers of growth. We may always feel the pain. We will be on a path of continual work and continual evolution. There is no artificial finish line, and anyone who tells you that there is, is full of crap.

So let go of everything that makes you feel sad, bad, hurt, and less than, then take charge of your mind and focus on what you’re doing well!

Life has no finish line. There are no prizes at the end … the prizes appear all along the way, so scoop them up today!

Until next time, my Feisties!



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  • Denise October 2, 2019, 9:57 am

    Shawna – Yass!!! Yass!!! Yass!!!!