4 Easy steps to Let him/her Go

This is not going to be an article like 100s of them available online giving you traditional steps like breathe and exercise. I am a big fan of breathing and workouts but here in this article we will take a very different approach to this whole process which will make ‘letting go’ an easy and automatic process.

Here’s the deal: Letting go is easier than you might think, all you need is the openness to the fact that ‘you can do it’. I have come across so many people who are struggling with the aftermath of a break-up and/or divorce. Sure, divorce (separation) is one of the most stressful things in the world but not many know that just by changing a few mental patterns you can rid yourself of this ‘keep holding on’ thing forever – holding on (opposite of letting go) is the cause of extreme frustration and stress.

So here are my 4  steps of letting people go. Some of this information is mine, some discovered, some invented, but all of it comes from my own personal experience (me being someone who has overcome depression, anxiety disorder and OCD)

1. Change your ‘Beliefs’

I can not stress this enough that the number one thing for a permanent change is ‘belief’. Changing my belief saw me overcome depression, anxiety disorder and obesity. You would notice that whenever you decide to change for the better like in this case saying ‘I am going to let him/her go’ all of a sudden you have this inner feeling of discomfort which leads you in to thinking ‘Oh! I am never going to get over him/her’, or ‘This is out of my control’, or ‘My cousin struggled with this thing for years’, and then these thoughts grow branches (like thoughts usually do) for example

‘Oh! I am never going to be get over him’
‘I will always be in pain because of this’
‘This pain will turn into depression’
‘I will be taking pills to overcome’
‘I may get addicted to the pills’
‘Oh! The side effects of the pills’
‘I know a friend who took anti-depressants that caused him serious weight-gain’
‘I am going to become obese’
‘Nobody will love me anymore’
‘My life will become hell’
and so on….

If you let it, your mind will take you on a wild ride and a break-up will lead you in to thinking that it’s the end of the world and so you conclude ‘I NEED HIM BACK’ which forces you in to trying to contact him/her again and again and rejections lowers your self-esteem causing more and more stress which eventually may lead to depression.

The key here and the first step is to work on your belief system. You can start by stopping the self-destructive negative self-talk (example above). Keep telling yourself on a regular basis that ‘You are getting over him/her’, this is something that people have done before, this is something which is scientifically possible. There are many self-help resources available out there. My favorite starting point is the best-selling book, “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Dr. Joseph Murphy.

2. Tackle Negative ‘Thoughts’

If you want to change the way you behave you have to change your thoughts. Here is what happens

Thoughts - Emotions - Behaviour

In simple terms, you get a thought, the thought gives you certain feelings (emotions) and as a result you behave in a certain manner. The behavior may give you more thoughts and so more emotions and more behavior.

When you get a negative thought that gives rise to negative motions (could be anger, frustration, sadness or anything else) which in turn trigger certain behaviors (could be lashing out at someone, becoming irritable, being unfair in dealings, even binge eating etc). These behaviors certainly cause more uneasy thoughts which leads to more emotions. This is a viscous cycle which must be broken if you want to move and let go.

The question remains, HOW? Here’s the answer;

When you get a thought, you unconsciously give it a meaning based on the way your mind has been programmed. You don’t have to make a conscious effort most of the time to give your thoughts the meanings. Have a look at some of the examples below;

(Thought): ‘I am getting fat’
(Meaning): ‘There’s nothing I can do about it, its in my genes’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling upset and powerless’
(Behavior): ‘Binge Eating’

(More Thoughts): ‘My eating habits will make sure I get diabetes’
(Meaning): ‘I will lose my strength and will be on medications all my life’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling anxious’
(Behavior): ‘Smoking/Drinking/Drug’

(Further Thoughts): ‘OMG! Eating habits plus drug abuse puts me at risk of heart disease too’
(Meaning): ‘I will die of a heart-attack sooner’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling Depressed’
(Behavior): ‘Less socializing, may be isolation, locked up in the room’

AND IT GOES ON!

Did you notice above how a simple negative thought can turn your life upside down BUT did you also notice the Meaning part in the above example. A negative thought alone does not have the power to overturn your life but its the meaning that pour oil on the fire and puts you in that vicious cycle.

No need to feel depressed just reading about the example. Look at the following example to see how changing the meaning of the thought can lead you to greater results.

(Thought): ‘I am getting fat’
(Meaning): ‘Now is the time I must do something about it’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling motivated’
(Behavior): ‘Workout’

(More Thoughts): ‘I workout but results not so great’
(Meaning): ‘I need to find out where I am going wrong’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling curious’
(Behavior): ‘Google/YouTube/Asking Experts —> Eating Clean + Workout’

(Further Thoughts): ‘OMG! I have started to lose weight and am feeling fitter’
(Meaning): ‘I am going to have a great body for upcoming holiday’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling happy’
(Behavior): ‘More socializing, bigger goals, reinforced belief’

AND IT GOES ON!

Coming to the HOW! You have to make a conscious effort to veto the automatic negative response to your thoughts (which gives negative meanings to the negative thoughts). You have to veto and give it new meanings to use the thoughts as fuel to improve your life.

You have to use the same technique when it comes to the negative thoughts you get about him/her (that you want to let go). You have to tell yourself, ‘if he left me it is not the end of the world, I am certainly going to find someone better and things along the same lines. The minds of the people who easily let go are programmed to auto-respond in this manner (giving different meanings to the thoughts).

Have a look at the following examples.

EXAMPLE 1
(Thought): ‘He was so unfair to have left me like this’
(Meaning): ‘Having done that, he should feel the regret and contact me’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling frustrated’
(Behavior): ‘Stalking him, thinking about him, even trying to contact him’
(Which will lead to more negative thoughts, negative emotions and negative behaviors and so the vicious cycle starts)

EXAMPLE 1+
(Thought): ‘He was so unfair to have left me like this’
(Meaning): ‘It’s good to have gone away from someone so unfair’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling relieved’
(Behavior): ‘Move on and concentrate on other stuff’

EXAMPLE 2
(Thought): ‘She left me for no reason’
(Meaning): ‘May be I am not good enough’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling worthless’
(Behavior): ‘Seeking assurances from people, trying to get her back’
(Which will lead to more negative thoughts, negative emotions and negative behaviors and so the vicious cycle starts)

EXAMPLE 2+
(Thought): ‘She left me for no reason’
(Meaning): ‘It’s good she got exposed and saved me many years’
(Emotion): ‘Feeling relieved/lucky’
(Behavior): ‘Move on and concentrate on other stuff’

It requires conscious effort in the start to force new meanings but if you do it consistently long enough this becomes your new auto-response as they say ‘You are what you repeatedly do’.

3. Change your ‘Perspective’

Shakespeare says, “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so”.

Giving new meaning to the thoughts is like changing perspective. The optimists are as human as we are but their perspective is different. If someone gets late they don’t think of a road accident, they think of a traffic jam. Some people are lucky to have got in to the environment where their grooming is done in a different way which makes them optimists. But for the pessimist lot, they can change too if they take responsibility of not accepting the way things are and make a decision to change things.

Here like in the last step it will require a conscious effort to change your auto-response (or change your attitude). For me ‘Attitude’ is the (auto) mental-response to a given situation. Most of the times you are not in control of things such as somebody dying, or someone behaving in a certain way or raining or storm or a plane crash etc. These are things you can NEVER control and when you try to control them you experience immense frustration. Frustration leads to stress and prolonged stress may cause other problems including Depression.

Changing your perspective requires the deeper understanding of the fact that I must not try to control the uncontrollable and instead I must direct all my energies in to the things I can control for example your response to a certain situation. You consciously do this long enough it becomes part of your attitude.

Welcome to the Optimists Club

By changing perspective you not only can deal with the problem in a better way but it also lessen your anxiety, stress and frustration about the situation which is what will help you a great deal in letting someone go. Tell yourself his/her behavior is NOT in your control, his choices are NEVER going to be governed by you and so time to focus on your response.

When we love someone it is mostly because of how we feel in their company. It is because of what we are getting from them emotionally and physically. The way they make us feel etc.

Some questions to ask yourself in a situation like this;

How am I sure that he/she was the last person on this earth who could make me happy?

Whats the guarantee he/she would not have left me later (if he/she hadn’t left now)?

What makes me so sure that I will not find someone better than him/her?

How am I so sure that he/she was the last person in this world who could meet all my emotional needs?

4. Shift your ‘Focus’ to the present

Let me put my hands up, this point is completely inspired by the views of Eckhert Tolle and I suggest all of you read his best selling book called, “The Power of Now”.

If you observe most of the uneasiness is caused by something that is not happening right there but its in the thought whether its thinking about something in the past or fearing something that might come in the future. I am a big fan of the saying, ‘where focus goes, energy flows’. When you are stuck in the past (holding on to someone) your focus is on the past. What you need to do is bring that focus to present moment.

Yes, I know it’s not easy to do but its possible and its completely worth it. Tolle defines this as putting an anchor in the present moment and it could be anything, that beautiful flower in the surrounding, that kid playing in front of you but the best anchor is suggested to be inside you that is why most of the experts suggest focusing on the breathing. You can focus completely on your breathing, or your hands, and observe the feeling of being alive in this very moment. This brings your focus to the present.

As we mentioned above you can never control the uncontrollable and a thought is also an uncontrollable thing. You can not choose the thoughts that enter your mind however you can program your mind to let some thoughts in and discard some of them without you even knowing. The only thing you control is your response so here you respond to the negative thought by acknowledging and then bringing your focus to the present. You are what you repeatedly do so you do this repeatedly on a consistent basis this becomes part of your attitude and you experience more joy in the present by not focusing on the past or even future.

Have a look at the following example

(Thought): ‘I am missing him/her’
(Acknowledge): I got a thought about missing him/her which is pretty normal in this state.
Now I must bring my focus back to the present moment on what I was doing.

Remember acknowledging the thought is extremely important. If you just choose to ignore it stays there and the discomforting feeling doesn’t go away, it rather gets multiplied and magnified.

A thought can not simply be rejected or ignored. If it was that easy nobody would be suffering from feeling stuck in the past (in this example holding on to someone). And if you are someone who is fearful of the future (in that case too) you need to bring your focus back to the present by using Tolle’s tool ‘Anchoring in the present’.

Remember Dale Carnegie’s quote, “99% of the things we worry about never happens.”

YOU HAVE ALL THE SOLUTIONS INSIDE YOU, IF YOU JUST CHOOSE TO TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPLORE, DISCOVER AND OVERCOME…

5 thoughts on “4 Easy steps to Let him/her Go

  1. Fantastic and lovely in terms of handling yourself in such a good way with ease and understanding specially when you have all sources inside you.
    Thanks Mr Shehram Akram bhai
    Keep walking
    Lots of good wishes
    Regards
    SRK

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s