Letting go just seems to be so much easier said than done. If only we could simply let go and be on the other side of what’s bothering us without having to feel any of the ick or yuck. For me, the idea of letting go is synonymous with the DBT concept pf radical acceptance – the wholehearted, full acceptance of every aspect of a circumstance or situation being presented before us. It is not until we can truly accept all aspects that change is then able to take place allowing us to finally LET GO.
The simple idea of letting go and accepting is terribly uncomfortable for someone like myself, who likes to be in control at all times (lol as if that were even possible). However, when I attempt to live my life in this willful way, I become keenly aware that I am only creating suffering for myself and those around me. After all, who wants to be around someone like that?
I suppose we all engage in willfulness from time to time (some more than others). Willfulness also tends to show up differently for each one us, whether it be refusing to accept reality as reality is, trying to control reality, clinging to what is, sitting on one’s hands and doing nothing and/ or throwing a temper tantrum.
I notice that when I attempt to turn the mind to a place of willingness, I may not always like what my reality is dishing me (we do not have to approve of the things we must accept), but when I accept it, it allows me to more effectively work with whatever emotions are showing up in that moment. I am then able to connect with my wise mind, my place of truth. When I am in this state of mind, I am now able to make effective decisions.
One the of the hardest things that many of my clients (and myself included) struggle to accept is the idea of loss. We so desperately want to cling to what we had, even though in clinging we create perpetual suffering. The acceptance of loss certainly requires tolerating uncomfortable emotions and grieving what was / what we had wished for, is hard. However, as we ride those emotional grief waves, they begin to come ashore with less intensity and frequency. One day, we may even wake up and see the sun glimmering through the clouds… a sign we are on the path of acceptance. This path ultimately leads us to radically accept WHAT IS not what we wished it had been.
So loss is a really big thing to tackle and you may not be there yet. It certainly has taken me a lot of time to face things I have lost, some by choice, some not so much. Through that process I inflicted a lot of suffering until I was finally able to face these fears with love, support and compassion. It’s certainly okay if you are not ready to tackle something big, and it may not even be advisable without professional support. However, perhaps you can begin your acceptance practice with the small things — having to wait in a long line at the grocery store, not being able to make a reservation at your favorite dinner establishment, or losing out on a sunny beach day when the rain rolled in.
As a final tidbit, I have found that weaving in self compassion and validation as excellent tools to move me forward on the path of acceptance and letting go. I am a huge fan of psychologist Kristen Neff, and her website offers an array of meditations and guided practices to support this endeavor. MIndfulness Self Compassion (MSC) is a fantastic workshop taught at the Sacred Treehouse that can also support your progress in this area, because of course we are all works in progress (and it has taken me a life time to radically accept that!!).