release.jpgWhether it’s releasing a relationship, a goal, a dream, or even our health, needing to let go of something is a universal human experience.  Most writing on the subject starts with a statement like that–suggesting that acknowledging the need to let go is the first and maybe most important step.

But once we commit to letting go, we get into that always-murky “how” territory.  How can I let go of hurt when I can remember every detail of the thing that hurt me?  How can I let go of a person when I truly loved them?  How can I let go if my body isn’t behaving like I want it to?

Thinking about this, I’ve come up with 5 general categories that letting-go practices fall into.  Do any of these speak to you? 

Feel — Grieve.  Growl.  Howl.  Whine.  Dive into the deep end of your emotional self and genuinely experience whatever is there.  The only way out is through, Kenneth Porter writes on Beliefnet.  Feel until you’re free.

Confront — This can take different forms, depending on what it is you’re letting go.  It can be taken literally, as in confronting someone who has hurt you.  Calmly and clearly stating how you feel can be liberating even if the person doesn’t react in the way you want them to.  Confrontation can also be an inner process–challenging your beliefs about a certain situation can help you put it into perspective and, ultimately, let it go.

Talk — Sometimes something is weighing on us and we don’t even know it.  Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist–or writing freely in a private journal–is a way to get articulate about what you’re struggling to let go of.  Are you still in love with your ex, or are you angry that he’s not still in love with you?  Pinpointing what “it” is will help you let “it” go. 

Do — Sometimes the greatest impediment to letting go has nothing to do with the thing itself, but everything to do with the feeling of being stuck, mired, bogged down in resentment and frustration.  So take action–any action.  Run a mile.  Bake a cake.  Finish a project.  Even–especially–if it’s unrelated to the thing you’re trying to let go, remind yourself that your life is in motion even if you feel stagnated.

Don’t Do — On the other hand….don’t do a thing.  Letting go is an organic process.  You’ll do it when you’re ready to do it.  There’s no need to force it or work yourself to exhaustion in an attempt to zip through it.  So don’t do a thing.  Just breathe in and out, nourish your body with rest and clean foods, and make it your business to remain in the present moment, even if that means putting off letting go for one more day. 

(image via:

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