Fall: A Time to Let Go

After the heat of the summer, I look forward to the cooler temps of fall and the beautiful display of fall leaves. The brilliant panorama of leaves in all their glory is a sight to behold and a sharp contrast to what comes next when the trees shed their leaves. I am always amazed at how effortlessly this seems to happen. In the personal growth field, this ritual of fall is often used as a metaphor for letting go of unwanted thoughts and emotions. Don’t you wish it was so effortless to let go of the things in our life that cause us pain and discomfort?

We know that the negative thoughts and emotions we carry are not helpful to us, so we try our best to get rid of them or ignore them, but they just keep coming up. This happens because they are behaviors that were learned, usually a long time ago, and were meant to be helpful to us at the time. If you think back to your childhood or an earlier time in your life you can maybe see some things, you learned to do then that would help you stay emotionally or physically safe. The things we hang on to are almost always about keeping ourselves safe and that is what makes it so hard to let go of them.

Even though these things are causing pain and discomfort now, they were once invaluable to us. Instead of just trying to brush them away, it is better to befriend those thoughts and emotions. You might begin by asking yourself some questions such as what exactly are you hanging on to? How long have you hung on to the thoughts or emotions? What would happen to if you decided you wanted to let them go?  Remember this is an inquiry, you are just curious about how you got them and what your choices are now, should you decide to let them go.

This inquiry is all about just being curious so that means you are collecting information, but not judging what you find. Remember, you did the best you could at the time. You have learned a tremendous amount about yourself and now you get an opportunity to change it if you want to. There was a man in my coaching class that wanted to change a behavior he had. Once he learned how it got it, he decided he could live with it and was much more peaceful. I tell you this because we always have a choice about what we do in our lives. It’s all about living your life in a way that feels peaceful and harmonious to you.

Knowledge is information and once you have done a self-inquiry that is kind and compassionate to yourself, it is important to acknowledge the importance of the role they played in your life. Be thankful for how they kept you safe, but since you have learned a lot about yourself, you no longer need them in your life. Begin to imagine what your life might be like if you could let go of the drama associated with it.

This is not a do it once and they are gone; instead, it is a practice. The more you practice not letting your negative thoughts and emotions overtake your thoughts the more peaceful you will become.

Letting go is not about dismissing them from your life as though they were never there, but instead letting go of the control they have over you. Forgive yourself for allowing them to control your every action and be compassionate with yourself as you learn this new skill. I know it can be hard at first, but the more you become aware of how your thoughts are controlling you the easier it is to make a choice that brings you more peace.

If you think you are alone with this problem think about this: “According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. If we repeat those negative thoughts, we think negative way more than we think positive thoughts.”

If our thoughts go unchecked, it can lead to depression and other mental health issues.  That is why it is so important for us to challenge our thoughts and emotions so we can make a choice for ourselves that is a forward movement toward peace and harmony. We all want peace in our life, and this is one small way to make a big impact on your well-being. Take a breath, start small and take a step; you will be better than you ever imagined!



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