Freedom involves letting go. The Buddha said, "In the end, these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?"
But how does one do this? Here are some ideas:
Detach from outcome and focus on the process. Trust in the greater plan for your life and trust that things unfold over time as they should. Skip the urge to jump to the end of the story by enjoying the present moment.
Understand that the life you thought you would have may not be the life you will actually have. Many of us have a concept of who we are and how we think our life is going to go. The more we live, the more we learn that things don't always go as planned. Practice gratitude and trust in the process.
Don't hang your hat on expectations because this often leads to disappointment. Expectations have a way of keeping us in relationships or situations far too long. When our expectations or needs are not met, we need to take note, respond assertively and appropriately, and be flexible enough to change course if need be.
Break the limitations you've created for yourself. We all have self-limiting beliefs, i.e., "I could never do that!" If you believe it, you won't. Open your mind and allow more flow into your life.
Relinquish control over others. We only truly have control over our own thoughts, behaviors, choices, actions and decisions. Don't expend time and energy spinning your wheels on trying to change others.
Separate yourself from attachment the external world (possessions, beauty, titles, money, status, situation, etc.) Bring your attention to the internal, deeper, psycho-spiritual-relational process within. This will bring you peace, calm and serenity. When we focus on externals, enough is never enough.
Stop worrying about what other people think and commit to it as a way of life. While hanging onto your morale compass, free yourself from being consumed or controlled by the opinions of others. Choose to care more about how you feel about yourself than whether or not your neighbor approves. We are our happiest when we live our lives in a way that is aligned with our authentic selves.
Free yourself from toxic relationships. Assess your support network and have the courage to shift boundaries or even terminate relationships that are not good for you. Create space in your life for new and healthy relationships.
Exercise self-compassion. Did something you’re not happy with? Made a mistake? Join the club. We are human. Stop the self-flagellation and cut yourself some slack. Use the experience to learn and then move on.
Practice acceptance. Stop second-guessing the past. Cease wishing things were now the way they were once. Remove "shoulda, coulda, woulda" from your vocabulary. All things happen for a reason. Bring your attention to the present moment, for that is where life occurs.
Tanya Vallianos, MA, LPC, ATR, NCC, EMDR III, EAP II is a psychotherapist in private practice in Fort Collins, CO. She can be reached at www.innersunhealingarts.com or 970-420-9504