I believe that the solution to all of life’s problems and uncertainties lies in letting go.
I had to learn how to let go many years ago when my personal development journey was just beginning.
And I can safely say that this special skill helped me overcome mental barriers, deal with toxic people in my life and remove them, develop a stronger mindset, set bigger goals, be okay with insecurity and take action besides it, and even start an online business, and move to another country to have a whole new life that I live my way.
As I saw progress with more and more areas of life, I realized it’s best to let go of everything in order to achieve more.
Lack of attachment doesn’t mean not caring about people or life itself. It’s just the zen way to make something out of nothing and enjoy the ride. That’s one of the zen principles that saved my life, actually.
The following article is a chapter of the very first book I ever published – The Tao of Happiness: Unleash The Happiness Within.
I will share some practical tips on letting go as well as how to let go of everything. And in particular, 12 key things you should free yourself from in order to improve the quality of your life and become happier.
It’s unbelievable how powerful the act of letting go is.
To let go of everything is a difficult task itself, but if we practice it with deep understanding of the self, we will be able to apply it to every situation until it becomes a habit. From then on we will live a tremendous life of no worries, no blame, regret, thoughts on the past, negativism and so on.
So start now by letting go of the things that have been concerning you lately. You don’t need to dwell on everything because most of them are either not your fault and there’s nothing you can do about them, or are just meant to be this way.
Breathe deeply, and let go. You’ll feel great and make a place for new exciting things to come into your life.
Letting go is freedom, it’s a state of peace and joy where you can fully experience the present moment. Actually, letting go is one of the best and most important things you can do so that you can be happy.
But why do we need to let go of everything?
Simply because we hold on to many things at the same time.
That’s a habit so ingrained that we think it’s the most common thing to desire so much at once, to feel angry and anxious all the time, to feel the need to spend every minute with another person or think about your past, feel guilty, judge and so on.
That attachment is the root of our suffering.
It makes life complex and unpleasant, brings stress and discomfort, limits us so that we can’t realize our potential and powers and makes us miserable.
Another reason is that we try to fill the void inside with outer stimulus, but this is never the answer.
We suffer from constant inner emptiness that we try to fill with shopping, indulging in eating, drinking, gambling, get attached to objects, a person, etc. And that harms us a lot.
The next important questions are what to let go of and how to do it.
This article is about how to let go of everything. I’ll discuss each item separately as some of them need a different approach, have different origin and everyone needs to let go of a few of these.
How to Let Go of Attachment to Objects and People
“You can only lose what you cling to.”
According to Buddhism, our addictive behavior is the root of all suffering. And if you really think about it, you’ll realize it’s true.
We get attached to things and people and think they make us happy. And you assume being without them will make you miserable. That’s why you seek spending as much time with the object/person as you can.
And that’s an awful way to spend your time…
Here is why and what to do about it.
The object or person you think makes you happier, is just something you’re using to fill a void and stop feeling empty, to feel some comfort for a while. And it works, in the short term.
But things can only get worse because being attached means sharing yourself with that object or person, dedicating time to that relationship, thinking constantly about that and at some point ditching real life and thinking that life without it is not worth it.
That’s when this attachment becomes dangerous and that’s why it’s best to try and let go of everything.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
You need to let go of everything at an early stage. That can happen by finding the origin of the problem – why you feel empty.
Usually, it’s because you’re in a bad relationship with yourself – you have a low opinion of yourself, treat yourself badly and think that being with another person will make you feel better, that he’s your missing part.
But that’s rarely the case.
What you need to do is go deep in your mind and analyze where it all went wrong, then fix your relationship with yourself and start understanding, loving and accepting the person you are.
Here are other things to do to get over the need of being with someone all the time just to feel better:
- spend more time alone
Try to enjoy the time you spend on your own.
Do something you love – sing, write, take a walk in nature, listen to music, or just enjoy the silence and meditate.
- realize you’re complete.
Then you will know that you yourself are more than enough. You are perfect just the way you are and don’t need a person to tell you that.
How to Let Go of Desires
“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.”
Let’s start by analyzing the desire to buy stuff.
Have you ever been in a shop and the moment you see something, you want to buy it immediately? But then you look at the object next to it, which looks even better.
Below it is an item of the same price, but with a bonus.
You get confused. And we’ve all been there. This is a moment in which our consuming nature takes control of us.
The truth is that we need none of the stuff we just saw.
And if we give it a moment, breathe deeply and think about it, we will realize that. And we’ll go out of the shop proud of our willpower and happier than before.
But usually, we can’t resist the temptation.
We have so many desires these days. We want to go everywhere, to buy everything new on the market, to meet a lot of people and just to have more of everything.
That is until we come to a point where all the stuff we have starts to suppress us.
More stuff can only damage our inner happiness and peace and ruin our outer world. Each belonging goes together with potential problems, its energy and thus makes our life more difficult and complex.
Most often these desires are pointless. Think about what you want. You will eventually see a tendency of craving things that won’t help you in any way but, as everything else we desire, give you instant pleasure and comfort.
And more often than we realize do we mistake desires for needs. You may want something but do you really need it?
First, think about what you need. If many things pop up in your mind right away, you’re probably wrong. Because you need much less than you think.
Even at this very moment around you, there are many things you can easily live without. But you don’t want to because at some point they were what you thought you needed and were your desires.
Let’s leave shopping behind for a while and think of all the other desires we have during the day.
When at work, we want to be at home and just relax. When at home, however, we want to eat something we thought of, or are not satisfied with the show that’s on right now and want to change the channel, or want to go out, do something, visit a new place, try something you heard of from friends or work on a project.
Desires never stop because we are too used to them. And because we can’t accomplish them all – they literally come each minute – we feel discontent. It’s like we haven’t fulfilled our dreams and are not doing anything meaningful or productive with our lives.
Many people take all this wrong and assume they are just not good enough and need to move faster, to do more things at once, to work/study/exercise more so that they can get more things done and move on.
Instead, they must slow down, take it easy and let go of everything. Only then will everything fall into place and they will be able to experience the present and feel contentment.
Desires are very powerful when we let them be. They take control of us because they make us feel bad if we don’t make them a reality even when things don’t depend on us and there’s nothing we can do about it. But by letting go we free ourselves of these false needs and life becomes easier.
If you try to look at desires from another point of view, to just notice them and listen to them, they become powerless. Because a desire can cause harm only if you give it a chance and succumb to the temptation.
But when you don’t, you have power over it simply because you now see it as it is – just a thought. And that is the right moment to let go of it.
You’ll soon be able to decide what you really need and what is just a whim, a temptation. Being cautious of your desires will become a habit of yours simply by being mindful and learning how to let go of everything.
How to Let go Of Judgment
We are judging others more often than we think we do. And there are deeper reasons behind it that have nothing to do with the other person.
Judging can be in the form of complaining about something others have done, being angry with someone, gossiping and talking behind their back.
These are some of the signs that you’re doing it whether you admit it or not. And most of the times it’s because of the big expectations you have of what others should do/say/think (we’ll talk more about expectations later in this guide on how to let go of everything), or has something to do with you being insecure and trying to hide that by pointing out other people’s mistakes.
Here are a few things to consider before you judge:
- you can’t change the situation or that person by judging. Instead, try to help him;
- the situation is probably much different from what you’re thinking; you don’t have the right to do it;
- by talking about what others do wrong, you’re actually showing bad sides of your character;
- you have no idea what’s going on in this person’s mind or life and even if he’s doing something you don’t like, it may be the right thing for him or the only thing he can do right now;
- by doing this you harm yourself. What to do then?
Again, start by noticing when it happens. Then try to ask yourself why you’re doing this, if you know the whole story and how judging will help.
Be compassionate, show empathy and try to understand people by knowing what they’re going through. Maybe they just need advice, a little encouragement or someone to talk to. Be there for them instead of judging and telling them what they did wrong.
This way you’re helping both the other person and yourself – because by doing good to others, you’re receiving much more in return.
Also, instead of focusing on what this person shouldn’t have done and who he must become, why don’t you appreciate him for who he is? Be grateful for who he’s become and accept him the way he is, with everything he does, says and thinks.
This way you’ll be relieved and will never feel the need to scold him again. You will be able to enjoy his company, bring happiness to both of you and help him become a better person by making him comfortable with who he is now.
How to Let Go of Expectations
The next thing to free yourself from on your journey to learning how to let go of everything is expectations.
We expect people to behave in a particular way, we want them to say what we imagine them saying in our mind, we want them to treat us in a certain way, to share our opinion.
But that is rarely the case. And stuff like that ruins relationships.
But what will happen if we let go of these expectations?
We will simply enjoy the moment.
If you really think about it, you’ll realize how ridiculous it is to expect the world to act in accordance with our beliefs, to wait for people to always agree with us and behave as we wish, to expect something in return if we do good.
We live in expectations and when no one answers them, we’re angry and confused and think life is unfair. But what we need to do is just a step away.
It takes some practice, but if we just accept things as they are and don’t try to change them, we will let go of everything, including expectations.
It’s high time we stop creating fantasies in our mind of what things should be like and experience them as they are. Then our days will be more pleasant and full of joy.
How to Let Go of The Past
Life becomes hard and heavy when we constantly stop to look back.
It’s like we’re carrying this big backpack on our back and we’re bringing it to our present and future. It’s full of old memories, relationships, moments we want to go back to, negative events, emotional conversations, people we’ve lost, old lovers, etc.
You may also carry your old job in there, a friend you no longer see, the house of your childhood and so on.
And it’s so heavy. It’s exhausting to walk around with it and the only way to be free again is to leave it behind.
All this is your past and it must be where it belongs – in the past, left behind after all the lessons are taken.
Then it will no longer be heavy, you’ll put it on the ground and just move on.
Try this and you’ll feel like you’re flying. Do it and you will be able to travel light wherever you go, ready to create new memories.
Why is it so important to let the past go?
Because if you haven’t, it will stand in the way of your present and future.
Because whatever you experience now will be seen in the light of something that has already happened before.
Also, realize that you can’t change all the things you’ve been through. There’s nothing you can do about them except for making sure you won’t make the same mistake.
Learn from it, and when you’ve taken the most important lessons it will be easier to let go of everything. Because that’s the purpose of the past.
So breathe deeply, leave that backpack, focus on the present and go make new memories.
How to Let Go of The Need to Control Everything
You think you have control over your life? Think again.
We all make plans, have goals, try to tell others what to do and to interfere with the natural flow of the universe so that we can change the course of events. But things rarely turn out great.
That’s because control is an illusion.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
John Allen Paulos
This thought may be scary for most people as we live in a society that is used to doing things all the time, having many tasks, being busy, planning the future and all that gives us the feeling of having control over things.
But in the end, things turn out just the way they should.
There’s something we need to realize. Every next moment of our life is uncertain, no matter what we do now and how long we prepare, we’ll still have no idea of what lies in store. And we won’t be happy until we truly understand that and accept it.
That shows that certainty and security are also an illusion.
Look at things this way: every next moment is a surprise. We live in a world full of surprises. So wait for them in anticipation, accept them as challenges. This way your life will be one big adventure.
In order to let go of everything, you’ll also need to let things be.
Going with the flow here is the perfect thing to do so that you can learn to live without seeking control and security all the time.
You’ll then embrace freedom in its purest form and will be able to experience the present and make the best of it.
How to Let Go of Plans and Goals
To let go of everything, you’ll also need to leave behind some of your plans and goals.
Now, this is something most people won’t agree with. But yes, I’m saying that we need to let go of planning and setting goals in order to reach happiness.
If we were talking about success, about which I also write a lot, looking ahead, knowing where you’re going and planning every step is a must. Or at least that’s what successful people do.
But this guide on how to let go of everything is about happiness. And for that purpose, I focus only on what needs to be done to bring joy and contentment into your life.
These are things such as going with the flow, being grateful, embracing positivity and so on.
Notice that nowhere in this article will I talk about goals, purpose and plans. That’s because this is where the main difference between success and happiness is.
The former requires specific actions, having a vision for the future and trying to change things and yourself so that you can do and achieve more.
While the latter is connected with being happy with what you have, where you are and those you’re surrounded by. It doesn’t mean you should try to improve things, it is more about pure acceptance of anything that is right now and realizing how perfect it is just like that.
So if you want to be happy, you’ll need to let go of goals and plans. Just for a while. And if you don’t like it, you can always bring them back to your life.
The thing is to see what will happen if you just go with the flow.
Goals and plans may be frustrating because they also require having a picture in your mind of what your future will look like – which is an expectation, and trying to make things turn out that way – which is control. And these two just don’t have anything in common with real happiness.
How to Let Go of The Future
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
Besides getting rid of expectations, plans and goals, letting go of the future also means leaving all the worries connected to it.
We’re scared of the unknown. That makes us anxious and we play so many different scenarios in our head.
But that way we worry, we stress over something that will probably never happen. Most importantly, we waste our chances to do something about it. Because only in the present moment can we do something to have a better future.
By letting go everything and of all the times we ask “what if…”, we embrace peace and allow ourselves to enjoy what is now, to fully experience it and make the best of it.
You’ll also need to trust faith, to be sure things will turn out just great and let them be. Then you’ll find pleasure in each moment and thus your future.
How to Let Go of Pain
When someone hurts you and you don’t let it go, he continues to do it.
Every time you get angry, frustrated, sad or even think about how he has hurt you and remind yourself of how you felt, you’re going through that all over again.
So by letting go of everything, you’re leaving this in the past, you get over the pain instead of holding onto it. And when this attachment is gone, you’re free and that person can never hurt you again.
This is the approach you should have when it comes down to a painful experience from the past, or whatever makes you feel bad.
How to Let Go of Comparing
There will always be someone richer than you out there, with a better job, bigger house, who is more handsome and good-looking, with more friends and more famous. And you’ll probably consider him happier.
But that’s usually not true.
As we already mentioned, happiness isn’t in belongings, the people around you, the place you live in or the job you have.
You’ll always be miserable if you keep comparing yourself to others. No two people on this planet are alike – everyone has his experience, thoughts, behavior, energy, memories, plans, etc. And they are all different. So you’ll never know what the person next to you is going through or thinking.
Comparing can only make you ungrateful and depressed because of the jealousy you show.
Instead, show compassion. Appreciate what you have and know that it’s the best for this moment.
Things can even get better, but for now, they are just perfect. And others – well, they have their own fights to win, fears to overcome, mistakes to make and places to go.
Let them be and let go of everything.
How to Let Go of Anger
The first thing I think of when I discuss anger is how irrational it is.
It’s our reaction to an action of someone that we didn’t like. And even though we know getting angry won’t help at all because what’s done is done, we let it control us and we make the situation even worse.
A deeper understanding of anger is the first step to dealing with it before you let go of everything.
Anger is selfishness most of the times. Because we think of all the things the other person did to us, what he did wrong and how that affected us, how it made us feel bad and so on. We make it all about ourselves.
But the truth is that it is almost never about us. The other person didn’t have any intention to annoy us, to cause us discomfort, to harm us in any way. He has his own problems and what’s going on in his head is far from what we think.
Or said another way:
“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.”
So keep that in mind whenever someone makes you angry and try to see things clearly and beyond your own world.
Then accept that anger by admitting it to yourself.
See it as it is, without any complications like connecting it to something else that person has done to you in the past, what you think he’s thinking (it’s probably wrong), what his plans are, etc.
Leave all these thoughts behind and see the situation like that. Someone did something you didn’t like and now you’re on the verge of getting angry about it. But this way you only focus on what he did wrong – which is judging.
This is also connected with your unrealistic expectations. You expected him to behave in some other way that you thought was right, and when he didn’t (because he’s a human being and has free will), your reaction was to be negative about it and get irritated.
But these are also things you need to let go of.
Now is the time to realize you have a choice. Your reaction will predict the outcome, which may be bad – a relationship may be ruined, another person may get offended and there will be unnecessary stress.
Choosing to act on your anger – shouting, using violence, being rude, seeking revenge or else – means helping it grow.
But you can also try to understand him, to put yourself in his shoes and try to figure out why he did or said that. There must be a reason.
Compassion will help both you and the other person. If you practice it you’ll no longer have to get angry at all because you’ll appreciate people in your life for their good sides.
Being compassionate means cultivating a loving-kindness towards everyone, even if they are strangers.
You send them love even if they’re negative or aggressive, you give them a hand, offer them help with a smile. You try to understand them instead of yelling back or being angry for what they did that you didn’t like.
Then these people smile back at you and open their hearts for that love.
Also try to realize that most of the times you’re angry at someone, you’re actually angry at yourself.
You may be disappointed in yourself for doing something, or regret something from the past, don’t feel good enough, procrastinate, don’t do things you enjoy, etc. And someone may provoke you while discussing something about the things you don’t like about yourself and your life. And even if it’s true, you get angry.
You get angry at yourself for mistakes you made or things you’ve been putting off for ages, or just something you forgot on your to-do list.
But that’s ridiculous. It’s not worth getting angry about. And the other person has absolutely nothing to do with it.
So don’t blame him, don’t use him as an excuse for what you’re trying to hide from yourself.
“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”
Patience is a key when you want to let go of everything.
Whatever the other person has to say – which may be quite annoying – just breathe deeply and be focused on analyzing why he’s doing it.
Last but not least, keep in mind the ultimate solution when it comes down to letting go – forgiveness. It helps when holding onto grudges and bitterness and anger.
It doesn’t mean you forget the past and justify it, it just shows that your present is precious and you prefer to focus on it and live mindfully right now.
Also, forgiveness means you don’t let the thing that made you angry bother you anymore and can move on.
To forgive is to let go of thoughts of revenge, it’s a proof that you choose understanding instead of judging and peace and freedom over stress and regret.
How to Let Go of Fear
We live in fear. We’re scared of so many things, most of which are ridiculous and will never happen, that we miss out on life and all the possibilities it offers.
It prevents us from living freely, doing adventurous things and taking decisions. So we think it is the problem, it’s the enemy.
But seeing it as an enemy, as something to fight, destroy and conquer, is not the right way to deal with it. Being aggressive towards it won’t solve our problems. And most of them come from fear, so something must be done. What is it then?
First, accept it as it is – without trying to change it.
Yes, that’s a step you need to take at every stage of your personal development. It’s easy and simple and with it, life will also get simpler and happier.
Then try to be aware of the fear. See how it stops you from doing great things with your life, how it affects your perception, how it limits you…
Now realize how ridiculous it is. Most of the fears we have don’t make any sense and sometimes the only way to understand that is to face them.
You’re probably afraid that you’re not good enough, that people might not like you, you can fail, end up alone and so on. However, these fears are fake. Whatever we think will happen, will probably not and worrying about it now is just pointless.
Try to exaggerate your fantasy and think of the worst scenario. Would it be that bad? I guess not.
Then you can let go of everything and reality doesn’t seem so bad.
This article just got 5000-words long. I like creating ultimate guides now. If someone wants to learn not just about letting go but how to let go of everything, this is gonna help.
Hope you enjoyed it. Start with one item from the list. Ideally, the barrier you struggle with the most. Give it time to learn to let go of it, before you move onto other things.