Letting Go to Move Forward

January is almost here, so now is the time to charge up for the new year that’s about to begin. While 2018 will bring with it exciting new opportunities and challenges, making the most of them will be difficult if we’re stumbling under the weight of our past.

As humans, we tend to carry a lot of mental baggage with us. Not only is worrying about problems, regrets or doubts from our past tiring, it can also hinder
our ability to move forward in life.

One way to overcome this obstacle is with mindfulness, which focuses on accepting our situation as it is and living in the present moment. Rather than
being weighed down by our past, mindfulness can help us accept it and thus avoid dwelling on it. However, this isn’t easy when reminders of our past
are ever-present. That’s why letting go is important.

How to let go

Why do we carry around so much baggage? Often, it’s because we find it difficult to put it down. Whether it’s a memory of an embarrassing mistake at work
or regret about actions (or inactions) that led to the failure of a relationship, we tend to find our thoughts returning to it time and again – even
when we wish we could just move on.

Whatever the nature of our baggage, the process of letting go is a step in the right direction. This process involves recognising our baggage, accepting
the role it has played in our life and making a conscious decision to push it aside.

If you find yourself stuck in the past, here are some practical steps you can try to let go:

  1. Recognise. Choose a specific problem, regret or doubt from your past that you feel is holding you back. Be honest with yourself about
    the facts of the situation. Write them down or simply say them aloud to yourself.
  2. Accept. Acknowledge what happened without passing judgement on yourself or your actions. This isn’t about assigning blame or coming
    up with excuses. Instead, it’s about saying, “This happened and it is part of my past. I can’t erase it, but I can accept it.”
  3. Let go. Make a conscious effort to release this issue from your life, telling yourself that you’re ready to move past it. Expelling
    this baggage from your life is ultimately a mental process, but sometimes you can reinforce it by using a physical action to represent this release
    – for example, by burning a candle or throwing a stone into the sea to represent letting go and removing this weight from your shoulder.

The freedom to move forward

Letting go takes effort – if it didn’t, you wouldn’t be struggling with this baggage in the first place. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll succeed
in letting go every time you try. Yet with mindfulness, this process becomes easier. It can help you break out of negative thought patterns that are holding you back and instead shift your focus to living fully in the present and making the most of the small joys in life.

We all have mental baggage – it’s just part of being human. But by learning to let go, you can lighten the load you are carrying and move forward into
2018 with a little more bounce in your step.

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