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Claim the Life and Relationship You Want by Learning to Let Go

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re having a letting-go movement. The Japanese decluttering specialist Marie Kondo has elevated the concept of letting go to levels so high, we’re now using her name as an actual verb. There’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with purging the stuff we no longer need or want. After all, when we lighten our load and get rid of what’s no longer working, we open up space for what is.

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All of this seems fairly simple when it comes to cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer. But when it comes to letting go of people, relationships, and even intangible letgoables like beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and ideas, it’s hard to know where to even begin.

To help you get started, I’ve created a letgoables hit list. As your awareness, and your own list, grows and you begin to release stuff, you might feel like your possibilities for love will get smaller. To the contrary, as you begin to prune the weeds, you’ll finally see where the flowers are—and where it will be worth your while to spend time tending the soil. And you’ll move closer to finding the Big Wild Love you’ve always wanted—the kind you were afraid to ask for, or thought you didn’t deserve, or believed was out of reach.

Let Go Of…

Taking Things Personally

Especially other people’s bad behavior, because that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. We are mirrors for other people, always reminding them of what they are and what they aren’t. We can’t control how they respond to us or whether they’ve done their own work cultivating Big Wild Love, but we can choose to disassociate ourselves from their actions, words, and behaviors so we don’t get distracted from our own goals.

What Other People Think

Not everybody is going to like you, agree with you, support you, want to be with you, etc. Learn to be okay with that. Because what they think of you or want for you doesn’t matter. As long as you’re not intentionally hurting someone else, it’s your life to do with as you please. At 56, I’m finally coming to understand this fully myself and it’s utterly freeing. I only wish I’d gotten it sooner!

Being Something You’re Not

Because who you are is awesome! You’re one of a kind, so flaunt it. Besides, it’s impossible to be something or someone else. Oh sure, you might be able to keep up the façade for a while. But one good stomach flu, sleepless night, or disappointing email from the IRS, and the real you is bound to emerge.

The Need to Be Perfect

You’ve got a 100-percent failure rate here. Instead, just do your best. And remember that perfection is not only impossible, it’s also overrated. After all, would you want to be friends with someone who was perfect? Nah, me neither.

The Need for Closure

Even if the guy or gal who dumped you or cheated on you sat you down and gave you a bullet-point list of why they behaved as they did, would you believe them? The truth is, you may never know why people do what they do. And unless you’re trying to solve a bona fide crime, find the space in your mind for it to no longer matter. Instead, rely on yourself for the closure you need to keep moving forward.

Unproductive Fear

We need some fear to keep us safe in the face of life-threatening danger, but we don’t need the kind of fear that keeps us stuck in non-life-threatening situations that aren’t serving us well. Like, for example, the fear that if we leave our dissatisfying relationship, we’ll be doomed. Or that if we’re older than 40, our best years are behind us. The good news is that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 90 percent of what you fear is insignificant; and 60 percent will never take place, anyway.

Regret

So, I never got to be on the Oprah show, looking fabulous in a sequined catsuit, promoting my bestselling memoir and naming all the men who’d wronged me while they each sat in the front row, crying and mouthing the words, “I’m sorry.” That’s okay. I also didn’t have children. Didn’t become a reporter for Rolling Stone. Never had a town house in Manhattan. Or worked stages as a concert pianist. None of that happened. But so many other wonderful things did! And that’s where I put my focus. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had flux capacitors to transport us back in time so we could do a few things over? Sadly, that only happens in the Back to the Future movies. Barring that, regret is a waste of precious time. Instead, focus on gratitude for all you have and all that is ahead of you.

Doing Other People’s Work

This one really gets my goat. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve coached who’ve spent hours pontificating on what their significant others said or didn’t say or do, and why. “But then he said this . . . did this . . . he’s scared . . . I think he just doesn’t remember or is too worried about or . . . ” Blah, blah, blah (sorry). Any time you find yourself starting a sentence with any of the above, stop talking and redirect. Start the next sentence with “I feel, I am, I want . . . ” Stay focused on your motivation and not the other person’s. That’s what really matters.

Not Yet

What are you waiting for? Take the risk. Love yourself. Leap. After all, we only have this moment. What are you going to do with it?

Excerpted from Big Wild Love: The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go Copyright © 2020 by Jill Sherer Murray and published by She Writes Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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