struggling to “let go”?

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    Idk apparantly I can’t quite grasp this “let go”-concept. It’s suppose to be good and make you feel good, which it does. The problem is that I don’t really know how or what it means. I’m very much a self-critical person and I find it hard to let go when there is so many problems that I need to “solve”. Sure letting go can be relaxing for the moment, but then it becomes more like a rule. And every time I make a decision, I have to account for the rule. “Ok, should I let go now, is that the best course of action to take?”… I struggle a lot with these questions and don’t know how to free myself. As you surely can understand, this keeps me from being happy. And I do believe in the concept of letting go, and have felt happier at times when I have thought about it. But my mind just keeps coming up with new problems and why the theory of letting go is not going to work. It’s very much non-intuitive for me. But I also realize that the way I am approaching life right now is not healthy, and is keeping me depressed. That is why I’m trying out different mind-sets, and I do this theory has something to do with it, I just don’t know how to apply it. It is all too vague for me and my mind keeps coming up with problems and situations where it is not going to work… Anyone know how I should tackle this? Or have similar working minds?

    Best regards


    Dear samuel:

    The Serenity Prayer may have the answer for you, it says in part: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I will paraphrase this prayer using the verb to-let-go:

    I will  let go of the things I cannot change, and attend to the things that I can change.

    “my mind keeps coming up with problems and situations”- ask yourself: is it possible for me to solve this problem/ change that situation? If it is possible- attend to the problem and situation. If it is not possible, if there is nothing that you can or should be doing about the problem or situation- then let go.

    Does this answer your question?




    Don’t criticize yourself.  Work towards a positive self image.  List all the good things about yourself and any good things others have said about you.  Spend two or three weeks really absorbing the special qualities you possess.  There is no-one else like you.  Any time you need to make a major decision on the way forward, do some brainstorming.  Divide a sheet of paper into two columns – For Decision – Against Decision.  It usually  becomes quite clear which route to take.  It may not be perfect but sometimes any decision is better than no decision.

    Letting go could have two interpretations.  1)  Letting go of past hurts and relationships  2)  Letting go of tensions and learning to relax, tensions meaning muscular tensions.  Such tensions are frequently a result of negative thought patterns manifesting in the body.

    Problems and situations are always helped by positive thinking.  Don’t focus on the problems, focus on the solutions.  Positive action will help alleviate depression.  None of us has a crystal ball that can predict the future.  Sometimes, you just have to ‘go for it’.  Things rarely work out as we think they will.  It won’t necessarily be better or worse, it will just be different.

    80% of what we worry about doesn’t happen, so what is the point of worrying when all it does is create tensions in the head, neck and shoulder area.  You can apply the ‘STOP’ technique.  Whenever you catch yourself with a thought that isn’t going to benefit you say ‘STOP’.  Literally stop yourself from thinking negatively.

    Finally, don’t dwell on the past or be overly concerned about the future.  Live in the NOW.  Be grateful for all that you have in your life today.  Think of ten things and give thanks each and every night as you settle down to sleep e.g. a toothbrush, a pair of shoes, a roof over your head, a comfortable bed and so on.

    Keep the good memories.  Always.

    Best Wishes



    I can’t quite grasp this “let go” concept. It’s suppose to be good and make you feel good,

    I think it may be unhelpful attaching concepts like “feeling good” (good or bad) to the art/skill of letting go.  I think because a aspect of letting go involves removing our labels about our experience as being this or that, and not attaching ourselves to such labels.. When we do this we gain a perspective in which we can view what were letting go of  in a new light. Your kind of looking at yourself looking at the experience without attaching your sense of self to what you see and feel. This does not mean you don’t feel but instead are in a space that allows the feelings and experience to flow.

    You might note that it is the ego that attaches itself to the experience and feelings which prevents flow.  So letting go involves ego work. If your clinging to something its likely your ego trying to fix and control something.

    To the ego ‘letting go’ feels like dying so its often fear that keeps you hanging on. The reality is Letting go is a kind of metaphorical dying as we are detaching our sense of self from the ego identity which is clinging to the experience and or feelings. If your sense of identity/self is overly attached to your ego  your going to fear ‘dying’ and cling to it for all your worth,  stop flow. (and growth)

    When we do let go you might notice that the ego has been placed into its proper place as the part of us that helps us communicate our experiences and making the unconscious conscious.  The ego not the captain of the ship but the link between the engine room and the bridge.

    Letting go is not a state of indifference or forgetting but a process of “becoming”  more conscious of our True Selves. Its a process of growth as we bravely observe the experience, feelings and identity were clinging to and trying to fix or control. We ask ourselves why we are clinging to it? What am I afraid of? How is what I find attached to my sense of identity? Should it be? And as we grow and learn we allow the experience to flow.  What might the experience teach us about ourselves if we looked at it without fear or need to attache our sense of self to what we learn. (which would be the ego wanting to be captain again)

    The paradox you might be getting frustrated by is that it takes a healthy ego to let go of ego. Meaning you need a health senses of self with healthy boundaries to realize your Self is not that. (letting go requires boundary work) A healthy sense of self with healthy boundaries does not need to cling to or attache itself to a sense of self.

    A question the lies behind all wisdom teaching though for some reason never directly asked.  How are you responding to Life as it is.  To Life wonder and horror (as life must feed of life). A seed that does not ‘die’ does not become a tree. That is its wonder and horror.

    All the wisdom traditions point to the better answer as being a unequivocal YES. Yes it all the joy and the suffering. Not a easy place to stand and you can only stand in that yes when you are in the present moment as it is only in the present moment that Life Is.  Letting go requires work of leaning to be present. Another irony or paradox is that we work for which no work is required. Thus like Paulo Coelho Alchemist who discovers his treasure was were he started. We return home to see it for the first time.

    Unfortunately most wisdom traditions are misunderstood and so many of us answer THE question of how to respond to Life As It Is with a NO – get me off this ride, or a No, we broke Life but we can fix it if we follow all the rules and be good little boy’s and girls.

    A honest attempt at ‘letting go’ will require ego work, boundary work, learning to be present and the development of the skill of detachment while staying fully engaged in life. No easy task as the trap will be indifference and withdraw from life.  If you keep at it though and when life asks you to look it in the eye, as it is in all its wonder and horrors and answer the question of how you are you responding? Yes? No? Maybe? Only one of thus answers is flow.

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Peter.
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Peter.

    Hi samuel,

    The answers you’ve received are all so good, and may I just say that whenever I read from Peter I walk away inspired. “Letting go” is about accepting and observing each thought instead of resisting or identifying with it. If your thoughts consist of problems that you are resisting or identifying with then you will suffer.

    For example, say you’ve had a falling out with a close friend because she made a terribly hurtful comment to you, and every time you think about it you relive the suffering of this experience. You may think that one solution to this problem would be to not think about her making the comment to you (resist the thought), but this rarely works because we can’t control our thoughts, so an alternative is to accept that you’re having the thought but choose to not relive the suffering. This can be accomplished by envisioning her making the same hurtful comment to a random person instead of you. In other words, become an objective observer of the situation happening to someone else, like watching two people interacting in a movie. You may feel angry, sad, and sympathetic but there’s some space now between you and the situation meaning less personal suffering for you, right? By observing the situation from this detached perspective you still feel feelings but experience less suffering. Now go ahead and insert yourself back into the situation, and take a deep breath. Objectively observe the situation happening to you just like you did earlier to the random person. How do you feel now? You see and hear the hurtful comment being made to you, and you fully accept that this thought is now in your head and you choose not to resist it, but this time do you identify with the thought a little less than before? Do you feel a little less angry, sad, and hurt? If so, you now have an awareness that you have the ability to observe yourself from a detached perspective and still feel feelings but experience less suffering. Over time the hurt/suffering from the situation may become less and less until it disappears altogether. It doesn’t happen instantaneously; it happens over time. To me, this is “letting go”.

    As Peter says, “Letting go is not a state of indifference or forgetting…Its a process of growth as we bravely observe the experience…”



    Such good answers and I have appreciated learning and reading today. Thank you for posting this question, samuel. I can only add this: sometimes we have an illusion of control. Thinking we can fix someone or change someone. This is part of our ego as already written. Its a fallacy that keeps us in ego and really, it keeps us unhappy. Our friend says something mean to us and our egos get hurt because we feel X or Y about it. Maybe we try to convince them or ourselves that they are wrong about what they said. We think about this for days, weeks, years sometimes. This hangs on to our emotional needs which probably are not serving us well as they don’t bring contentment, peace of mind, or so called happiness. I think sometimes when we are struggling against something, some idea, some problem, it is because we need to do our inner work as others have written. The lesson is waiting for us but we resist. Is a typical human reaction. We are not bad people when we resist change or changing our inner selves but we do limit ourselves this way.

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