The art of letting go by Willemijn Laan

When my sister-in-law committed suicide, my cat passed away, my grandmother died, my business was locked down due to Covid, my relationship of 16 years with the father of my children ended after years of trying to hold on to it, and when I moved house and only saw my children half the time I was used to…

All in a 9-month time span…

I realized a pattern of loss and letting go…

Making me an experienced expert…

Just like you…

We all face loss and a continuous stream of things we have to let go of… It’s a part of life. But it often isn’t easy to deal with.
When you feel stuck, lost, panicking, or sad. There is a process that can make you feel lighter and with more clarity going through all that is happening around you.

I call this process ‘The Art of Letting go, Making way for yes’. The last part of the sentence, ‘Making way for yes’ is there because we mostly tend to hold on to something, because we are afraid of letting it go. With that we keep the door shut for new opportunities; space, love and light. That’s why letting go and making way to saying yes, are two components that go hand in hand.

Things happen, small and large. From emotionally heavy things like losing a loved one or your job. To more easy stuff like looking forward to eating the last piece of cake in your fridge, only to figure out it has gone bad and you have to throw it in the bin…

I know how difficult it can be to let go of something you really want or of something that you are afraid to let go of. 

But letting go doesn’t always mean that you have to abandon a thought, a desire or a longing. It can mean you just have to shape your desires in a different form.

A form that gives you what you want, in a different way than you might have created in your mind originally. The most important thing is to learn more about how you feel and why you want to hold on to something so badly even though it might not be the best option for you.

That is what happens when we’re afraid to let go… Often we choose to hold on too long to things that are not good for us and we feel bad about making space for new energy. Because it’s new, it’s different, it means you take a step away from whatever you’re used to. And it means that you’re choosing YOU and what you need. And often that is not something we’re used to.

Letting go is about facing reality, accepting reality, choosing a direction and taking action.

If you don’t, you’ll feel stuck. But what we often don’t realize is that letting go isn’t about dropping things and never turning back, or forgetting about it. It’s knowing yourself and what you need and about finding and flowing with energies that move you forward. 

It’s about really communicating the truth about how you feel. Towards yourself and others that matter. How often do you tell yourself the total truth about your feelings? When did you last sit with your sadness or anger and really let it flow through your body? Accepting it as it is, embracing it as a part of you. Because it has the right to be there just as much as happiness and joy. 

It’s through a commitment to new ways that your choices become real. If you don’t feel good, look for where commitment is lacking. Beneath every life drama is a choice waiting to be made and your commitment will bring your choice into a living reality.

Commit yourself to making a shift. Only really committing to something new will do the trick. Even if it is something that is within your control such as exercise or eating vegetables; don’t try to focus on it unless you have the commitment and a plan.

Letting go of old habits or emotions and accepting the way they make you feel, frees up energy and gives space… and makes a way to say yes to new things.

So first, you want to accept and be totally honest about how you feel. Next is the action step that counts. Getting on an airplane is much easier if you accept your fear rather than to resist it. The moment of acceptance makes you feel in harmony with yourself and helps you to go into full action mode… 

Know how you feel, accept it, even love yourself for it and to let it go. Feel what it is that you want to say yes to… Now make an action plan to get to the (emotional) place you want to go to.

I planned to tell my father how I felt. Not blaming him, but letting him know my side of the story. Explaining to him that I wanted to get rid of the expectations we both have had for so many years. And just enjoy whatever is there in our relationship. Not to focus anymore on what is not there. Not trying to force ourselves into a ‘better’ relationship with scheduled contact moments as we tried so many times before. First I accepted the way I felt and noticed that what I wanted came clearly to the surface. I wrote him a letter telling him all this. Making me feel lighter and clear about my plan; not wanting to see him more and not wanting to see him less. Just pure acceptance of what is there. Giving me a rush of energy going through me.

What happened was that all the misery turned into light and energy. Such is the power of letting go and making way for yes.


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