"Let it go" is an age-old concept advocated over centuries. Holding onto negativity, fear and control not only impacts your health -- but all aspects of life. How much of your situation is affected by your attitudes of control? Things like difficulty trusting, being a perfectionist, having unrealistic expectations or harboring an illusion of control, when you have none?
The interesting thing is that when you detach from the negativity and noise inside your head -- you are better able to fully embrace life.
In our book, Heart Centered Leadership, Lead Well, Live Well we explore ideas about detachment and how it applies to the workplace. Most of the concepts we investigate may be easily incorporated into your personal life as well. Detachment involves an ongoing commitment to personal growth, open-mindedness, and authentic behavior that consequently, leads to a more natural ability to let go, and trust.
Here are some elements to consider when practicing the art of detachment, which may help you move toward a more gratifying life.
1. Be more aware of your surroundings and everyday situations
Being attentive to everyday situations and aware of the present moment is central to valuing our place in this world. Do you ever catch your reflection in a bathroom mirror, thinking: "Who is this stressed out, humorless person staring back at me?" If all you are doing is preparing and worrying about what will happen next, you'll lose your place -- and passion -- in the present.
Do what you can to "stop the noise" of worry and self-imposed negativity and try to find some humor in the drama of life. Many people have forgotten how to do this. One way is to reconnect with the exhilaration of laughter. Spend a weekend morning watching comical movies or YouTube monologues from late-night TV, or go to a comedy club. Revisit what made you laugh before you became so staid that somehow, along the way, you forgot to enjoy life. You might find that you are better able to laugh at the small things that exasperate you, if you attempt to view them in a more humorous way. It just takes time and "training."
2. Master the art of "acceptance"
Many things are hard to accept in this life. One of the hardest is the human frailty of ourselves and others. Sometimes we build up an idea or a "flawed fable" of how another person should be -- and we buy into that.
The problem is that this fairy tale in our mind is not based on reality, and therefore it's impractical to expect a realistic outcome. But, we all do it. We concoct an idea of ourselves in this mode as well, and sometimes it's a highly charged, negative and unproductive representation of who we are.
Accept the fact that you have good days and bad days, positive characteristics and some slightly defective ones, and go live your life. It's not easy. But we need to practice acceptance. If you find yourself constantly being agitated because you, or those around you, are not living up to your expectations, then you know you need a reality check -- and an acceptance reboot.
3. Don't be afraid of change
Change is inevitable, but particularly at this juncture in history. There are countless world events, life-changing ideas, and transformations occurring in life--and, like it or not, you need to embrace the idea of change. But change can be frightening.
I'm sure you've heard of the acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. Take control of your fears and don't become victimized by anxious thoughts. The science of neuroplasticity confirms that you can literally reprogram your thoughts with more positive ones, and create new connections in the brain.
Dedicate the time to techniques such as thought switching, breathing exercises, and meditation. You might also try EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques -- also known as "tapping"), which has been known to be effective in treating anxiety.
4. Understand that some things are beyond your control
Some things--like matters of life and death, success, failure, joy, and tragedy--can be monitored by your actions. But that's not always the case. Giving up control can be one of the most difficult things you can do, particularly for the A-type personality.
Frustration over losing control gets into our psyche -- and, as a coping mechanism, we try as hard as we can to exercise power over the more menial, day-to-day aspects of life in order to feel as though we are master of our own destiny. Most often, we end up becoming a "master of irritability."
The bottom line?
You can influence your life in some ways, but never in all ways. Trying to control things just doesn't work. It creates anxiety, knee-jerk reactions, and nonstrategic thinking. Practicing detachment is key to letting go and understanding that it isn't worth the time and energy to fight an indisputable outcome.