Letting Go of Things that No Longer Serve Us

Autumn is a great time of year to release anything that no longer serves us. While this practice is good to do anytime of year, the Fall season in particular makes it easier; as the trees shed their beautiful foliage, they teach us how magical and simple (but not easy) it is to let go of our own “dead leaves.”

Often we think of letting go with the big “stuff”- a significant relationship, long-held beliefs or habits, or a major life change. These are the obvious and difficult things to release so that we can move forward and find our authentic selves. But the process also applies to small projects, or perhaps a person we knew for only a short time. Ever feel a bit depressed or empty after completing a home project that excited and fueled you daily? It’s likely you were sitting in that space in between projects, which is still important and the place to let go of the project before moving on to the next.

So how do you release what is no longer serving you, whether it be big or small? Try the following steps to fully let go of things that once were an important part of you.

Identify what it is you are ready to release. Is it a belief, habit, relationship, project, identity, energy, etc? Name what it is specifically that you are ready or wanting to release. As an example, I discovered I was mildly grieving the loss of my very first Summer garden. I fell in love with gardening more than I realized was possible and felt an emptiness when it became obvious the Summer garden had run its course. It seems silly in comparison to so many other things in life, but it was still important for me to honor this feeling of loss.

Acknowledge all of the ways in which it has served you. You can write it down, or visualize of all of the ways in which this thing has served you. In emotionally letting go of my summertime garden, I visually recalled all of the joy it brought me, the nourishment it provided, the success of it being my first garden ever, the lessons from failure, the beauty of it’s existence, the pride I felt when others complimented it, and the calm I felt looking at it.

Express Gratitude for how it served you. You can do this at the same time as the previous step or separately. As you acknowledge each way in which it served you, also thank it for providing for you in that way. By thanking a thing for being there, we are also energetically releasing it from us. Don’t skip this step- it’s simple but very effective!

Recognize any ways in which this entity has kept you “stuck.” Often the things that we feel most attached to are holding on in multiple ways. Is it fulfilling a negative self-belief that is familiar and comfortable? If so, you may need to release the belief as well.

Release the written lists. If you wrote down the positive and negative ways this thing has served you, you may want to destroy the writing. Find a method that feels good for you (and is eco-friendly!) You can burn it, shred it, write it in wet sand and let the waves wash it away, or write it on toilet paper and flush it.

Create Space for what will replace the thing that is being released. This may be vague at first. If you are releasing a person, relationship, job or project, intentionally ask for what you want to fill it with- perhaps the qualities that feel healthier to you going forward. If you know specifically what you want to put in that space, visualize it coming in after you release and thank the “dead leaves.” In my garden example, I started to envision my fall/winter garden which will look and be managed in a completely different way. I made space to be excited about it while also still holding gratitude for all that I learned from the Summer garden.

It doesn’t matter if it’s small stuff or really major stuff, it is important to let go of things (both internal and external) once they no longer serve us. This is the way to make space for what we need now, and allow room to grow into who we are meant to be.

Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and be who you are.
— Brene Brown