“Just let it go.”
We’re a year into COVID, and, quite frankly, those words couldn’t feel more annoying. How the hell are we supposed to just “let it go” when this year has changed our lives forever? How are we supposed to just “let it go” when many dreams we picture ourselves pursuing are just...not possible?
I’m guessing that, a year in, a lot of shit has come up for you. Beyond the external everything we’ve had to navigate, all of this time inside without hugs and company has had a huge impact on our internal wellbeing and mental health.
For many, this has been a time to reflect on past experiences, traumas, relationships - and that hasn’t always been a good thing.
If there’s anything we haven’t let go of, this time with ourselves is bringing it the eff up. Maybe you’ve felt depressed. Maybe you’ve ached physically, emotionally. Maybe you’ve dived so deeply into your mind you’ve almost forgotten where you were, slipping away from the present moment and sliding back into memories of the past.
I know I’ve experienced that.
So, I’ve taken this as an opportunity to work on letting go, and here’s the theme I keep coming back to:
You know the internal battle. That fight in your head when you disagree with yourself; the part of you that says “no” while the other is saying, “Yes”; the part of you that tells you you can’t while you have to remind yourself you can.
The real meaning of letting go is releasing that battle, and that means connecting with every part of ourselves. So, how do we do it?
We are constantly avoiding sitting with ourselves. We feel afraid of what might come up, of what we might have to face. What we want to do is show our parts we’re not afraid of our feelings, thoughts, and experiences. We want to create space for our parts to know they’re held and protected. As you connect more deeply with your parts, you won’t feel the need to engage in the very things you’re letting go of now. (Think reaching out to that ex, drinking too much, no-showing your job.)
Start with just a few minutes a day. Set aside distractions (your phone), take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself a question like, “What do I need to hear today?” or “What’s coming up for me?”
The difference between this and a standard silent meditation is that the goal here is to think, rather than to release thoughts. Journaling, dancing, taking a walk, movement, and music are all great ways to connect with yourself. This exercise is subjective: Whatever makes you feel most connected is where to start.
You and all parts of you deserve to trust each other. The more you create space to hear from them, the bigger foundation you build to let go of what you’re holding onto.
Note: As someone who has experienced trauma, I’ve found meditation can feel really triggering. Don’t push yourself, love. Ease into this exercise in the way that feels best for you.
Forgiving ourselves is about releasing shame. When we feel ashamed of ourselves, this is the message we’re telling ourselves: We did something “wrong.”
We think if we tell ourselves, “You shouldn’t have done that,” we’ll become “good enough,” we’ll change for the better, we’ll behave differently the next time.
But in admonishing ourselves, we need to come back to the key principle:
Every part of us is trying to protect us.
When you took the action that led you to feel shame, a part of you thought that it was the best action to take under those circumstances. We start by acknowledging that part of us so we can forgive them/her/him for the way they tried to protect us.
Remember, too, that a different part of you placed the shame on you, and we need to forgive them, too. In acknowledging that every part of us is trying to protect us, we can acknowledge that the act of shaming ourselves is also a form of protection.
In opening up the space to forgive all parts of us, we can finally begin to let go.
Babe, I am celebrating you SO MUCH! Everything you’ve done, felt, built so far has led you right here, right now, and you are so fucking incredible.
I know you. I know you don’t always give yourself enough credit for how far you’ve come.
Every part of you has made decisions to protect you along the way, and at the end of the day, you’ve soared to get yourself here.
This has been an unreal hard year. Making it through this at all is a victory.
Take out a journal or pen & paper and write out 20 things you did that you’re celebrating this year. Jump up and down with joy, pour a glass of champagne, and really embody that celebration. You. Deserve. It.
Ready to let go and step into an even higher version of yourself? Send me a DM on Instagram to let me know how these practices are working for you!