Accepting reality is the key to happiness

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Let it go? Easier said than done Life Coach Carole Ann Rice


Every era seems to have its catch phrase designed to soothe or stimulate our collective consciousness.  “Keep Calm and Carry On” the edict during the war years; “let it all hang out” the wild hope of the 1960s and the carpe diem command “Go for it” in the 80s and 90s summed up the zeitgeist’s call to arms.   But the current ode du jour in self help books and whispered by personal development gurus is “Let it go”; permission granted to stop worrying and unhook from the stresses of life.

This phrase is superficially simple but complex in its command as all these catch all statements are for if we could all so easily disconnect from the painful and fearful in our lives there would be no need for the panic glasses of chardonnay, the mindless retail therapy or whatever your own choice of oblivion happens to be.   

To “let go” of the strains of everyday life or the traumas we face or create suggests a mindset of the simply stupid or archly reckless.  But in this pared down piece of wisdom comes liberation from fear, procrastination, anger, resentment, grief and disappointment.  Acceptance of what is creates our peace but our need to control what we expect from life and from others is where the pain resides.  

Mindfulness expert Leo Babauta says the root of all our problems is the inability to let go.  Here he explains how all areas of our lives are affected by our negative attachments:

Stress – Our stress is caused by expecting things to be a certain way instead of accepting the reality of our situation.

Procrastination -We procrastinate because of a fear of failure, hard tasks, confusion, and discomfort. But if we could let go of wanting things to be easy, successful and comfortable and accepted that life encompasses a wide range of experiences, we could do the task.

Frustration with others – we get irritated with people because they don’t behave how we would like. We have to learn to accept and be with them to find true peace

Fear - Theroot of all our problems is fear – from procrastination to starting to exercise - and holding onto how we want things to be. When we loosen this hold we loosen up the fear as well.

Some tips for letting go include learning to accept what is, to see the reality of the situation (not what you want it to be), understanding when feelings such as anger, envy, resentment, anxiety and depression arise it is time to unhook from an expectation and learning to practice mindfulness in the moment.

In my experience letting go is not a big sudden snap, like a branch breaking from a tree. But more of an imperceptible drift away as when a leaf gently leaves a twig.  It’s liberating and a habit worth forming for life.

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