Letting go. You hear so much about it. There are self-help books, podcasts,  and even your friends telling you. Apparently, impulsive blocking and social media stalking, copious amounts of ice cream, and finally a breakup playlist are required. All of which are supposed to help you move on from your past, the job you lost, the business that didn’t quite take off, and the relationship(s) that didn’t work out.

Although all those things help in their own way, they don’t quite make the feeling go away. The sinking feeling you get when you lose something unexpectedly or even expectedly. It’s in that moment you realize that nothing will be the same, and you don’t know what’s coming next. The moment when all of your planning and fate meet at the crossroads of life. This is when you learn that all the planning in the world, can only prepare you for a little bit of what life actually brings. What you do now determines what happens next. In the midst of all the chaos, you realize the best choice… so you let go.

Letting go isn’t as simple as it seems. It’s not a simple one-two combo or magical switch you can flip that universe responds to. However, it is possible.  It’s a process and one that begins and ends with you, but you have to start. You have to remember this: it’s not going to be perfect, it may get a little messy, and even make you uneasy… but it’s a start. We’ve all dealt with some form of letting go, but I want to share the 5 steps that helped me to let go.

1. Acknowledge

The first part of letting go is Acknowledgment. Acknowledging the lesson and what it’s taught you. Not the person, situation, or the loss but the lesson.  The lesson is how to do it differently, better, and what you will and won’t allow in your life. Trust me, as easy as acknowledgment sounds, it isn’t easy.  For me, it’s been one of the most difficult parts of letting go because I had to separate the lesson from the disappointment. This takes practice because you’re choosing to sift through all the dirt, just to find that one gleaming piece of Gold.  That one piece is key even if it’s minuscule because it represents your new truth and your resilience. It’s the “Aha,” moment as Oprah would say when you realize staying in this moment, and wallowing in failure is no longer an option. It’s the feeling you get deep down when you’re able to breathe deeply and laugh fully. By holding on to the wisdom you’ve gained, you set yourself on the positive path forward. This path allows you to refocus, recharge, and remember who you are.

2. Remember

Remembering who you are post-loss, post disappointment, or post a difficult breakup can be overwhelming. Especially, if your identity and worth were tied into that accomplishment. Moving forward without that person or without that job can be uneasy, and honestly difficult, but is possible. I’ll tell you the best advice I’ve received, particularly when it comes to relationships…” You can give your time, your attention, but you never give your soul. Keep that, and never give all of it.” Just these few words during a difficult time in my life, brought light, helping me refocus, and look at relationships differently. So often we are conditioned to give it ALL, and that if we aren’t “we’re doing it wrong.” I say, forget how everyone else is doing it, and do what works for you. Now, I stay in touch with who I am, I hold me to the highest regard and put myself first, all while still loving that person. You know they say, ” you can never fully love anyone else fully until you love yourself.” Whoever “they” are this time they were right! Self-love first, knowing who you are first and what you bring to the table, allows you to operate with confidence. So how do you find that again? Spend time with you, find new hobbies to enjoy, spend time with the people who love you most, and get out there to pursue new things. Repurpose the loss and doubt & make it fuel.

3. Repurpose

Repurpose the loss, pain, and doubt.In the world of DIY, a repurposed piece is often the most sought after. People will scour antique markets, garage sales, and flee markets alike all to find one thing– the perfect piece that is restored or to restore. To some, it may look silly to go through all that trouble just to find something that is old or used. Some people may prefer the fresh finish, paint, and piece that doesn’t require any work. When in reality sometimes, it’s the somewhat old, unfinished piece that requires a little work, that’s most desirable. When you make the choice to repurpose your pain and doubt, you are actually sanding and resurfacing your life. You do this by changing the narrative. Instead of focusing on the missing “paint or pieces,” you can choose to see the beauty in your missing paint, and use it as fuel to make you better. After it’s all said and done, you’ll be thankful for the missing paint and pieces because after you’ve sanded, dusted, and reformed… you’ll be a masterpiece. A unique work of art shaped and empowered by your difficulty.  Repurposing allows your heart and mind to focus on renewal and forgiveness.

4. Forgive

Forgive them and forgive yourself. This part is the most important although it’s not the easiest. Why? Well because forgiving yourself and forgiving others is essential to you being able to fully let go. We all know that one friend, family member,  or co-worker that always talks about what they lost. This person is always talking about what they almost had, what they could’ve had, what they would’ve done differently, and mainly what the couldn’t let go of. See when you don’t let go of the past, you find yourself rehearsing the loss. In order to let go, you must forgive that person and/or people because forgiveness frees you. It frees you from bitterness and allows you to move forward. Unforgiveness is a marker, it keeps you in that place in your mind, body, and soul. Imagine being stuck in the same place, doing the same thing every day without moving forward. I remember a movie from my childhood called, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character literally relives the same day over and over and over again. Each day he wakes up at 6 a.m., and he keeps hearing the same radio program, weather report and sees the same people. However, it isn’t until about the 5th time that he realizes something is very wrong. It isn’t until he makes a change in his perspective, attitude, and who he is that he’s able to move forward. It’s the same thing with unforgiveness: it keeps you in the same place every day. Unforgiveness will keep you stagnant even after forgiving them until you decided to forgive yourself. Doing this changes your attitude and your perspective. Now, you’re ready to let go, move on, and receive.

5. Receive

Receive change and wholeness. When you let go, you are literally uncluttering your heart and your life. Anytime you clear out the old, the new can now rush in. It’s amazing how life works, and just knows when you’re ready to receive change and wholeness. It’s kind of like Spring cleaning! You go through every room in your home, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, and bagging up old things. Once all the cleaning is finished, the possibilities are endless. Your home is now uncluttered and ready for the new items, entertaining, and even new furniture if you so choose. It’s the same thing when you let go! Letting go is like Spring Cleaning. The process of acknowledging the lesson, remembering who you are, repurposing fear and doubt, forgiving yourself and others — allows you to receive change.  Change can seem disconcerting at first, but in reality, it’s a gateway to newness of life and spirit. This newness leads to wholeness because like Maya Angelou says, ” You don’t need another person, place or thing to make you whole. God already did that. Your job is to know it.”

Thank you for reading, love.