20 Things You Need to Let Go to Be Happy Again

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Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

Most people think that they need to add stuff to their lives in order to feel happy. While that might be true so some extent, I think you first need to clean your life and your environment from things, habits and people that hold you back and then start adding stuff. And by stuff I mean meaningful friendships and relationships, knowledge, flexibility in the way you see things, openness, gratitude, positivity and so on.

So if you are in a situation where you need to do some spring cleaning so to speak, or you simply wish to have an easier and happier life once again, then the following suggestions might help.

Here it goes:

1. Let go of your tendency of avoiding the present

The only thing that is real is the present moment so live in it, the rest is either a story or an illusion.

Focus on being centered on the here and now and forget about whatever it is you wish you did differently or worrying about things that have yet to come. Choose to live your life and not go through it regretting, worrying or continually hoping. "Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present." - Marcus Aurelius

2. Let go of the pressure that other people put on you

This can be pressure coming from various sources like your parents, your relatives, your teachers, your friends, even the media who directly or indirectly send the type of message that basically says "This is what you should do with your life:…". You can even put pressure upon yourself by thinking you have to consider other people’s needs first, or that you need to make everyone happy, and only after that take care of your own needs, your own happiness.

The thing is, you will never make everyone happy, and nobody will ever know what’s better for you than yourself. So do not let this type of pressure dictate what you should or shouldn’t do with your life. If you know who you are and what your values are, then you should be choosing your path, not somebody else.

3. Let go of the baggage

The term baggage can point to different things from case to case.

It could refer to certain events that took place, certain people you were involved with, certain objects you acquired, etc. Overall it refers to something that’s no longer helping you grow or prevents you from moving forward, something which you need to leave behind.  

4. Let go of the idea that you need someone or something to complete you

This is the same with living in the future.

Constantly waiting for someone or something to appear in your life and thinking that only when you will be with a particular person or have a particular object, you will be happy.

This way of seeing things steals the joy from the present moment and prevents you from noticing that you already are complete.

5. Let go of the habit of finding excuses

Forget about finding excuses and concentrate on finding solutions for achieving whatever is it you want to achieve. "At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets."― Steve Maraboli

6. Let go of having money as a sole motivator

Yes we need money to satisfy our various needs, but money should not represent the main motivator behind our actions. Long lasting achievement is not encouraged by money. Money usually encourages only self-serving short-term behaviors. If you as a person are greatly dependent on monetary rewards then the emotional side of your life is surely affected.

So concentrate more on finding something that you love and you are passionate about, and money should come as a result of that.

7. Let go of your tendency to attach labels

Your brain’s impulse of sorting and putting everything in little boxes with labels on them might go too far sometimes. It is really hard to know, let alone understand all the details behind a person, a place or a situation.

That is why it’s good to keep an opened mind and avoid developing the habit of passing judgment. "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."― Marcus Aurelius

8. Let go of the habit of blaming people/events

Sure, there are times when certain people or certain events act as obstacles on your way towards achievement.

They are part of the unexpectedness of life. That does not mean it’s because of them your life is the way it is right now. It is still because of you. If it’s how you envisioned it then great.

If it’s not, then try to get in charge and take responsibility.

9. Let go of your need for control

Trying to always be in control is a type of fear-based behavior which has its roots in your need for a sense of stability and predictability in your life. The thing is, no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to be in control as some aspects of life will always be outside your ability of influencing the outcome.

Trying to always be in control will sooner or later diminish your sense of well-being and eventually affect your relationships. Understand that sometimes is better for you to let life happen without any interference from your end, so relax, breathe and simply live.“You don't always need a plan.

"Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens." - Mandy Hale

10. Let go of negativity

Would it be possible for anyone to have negative thoughts or to be surrounded with negativity and feel good? I can’t be done, it’s not normal, life does not work like this. That is why you need avoid them. They only breed dissatisfaction.

They get your mind cluttered and prevent you from seeing the infinite potential that lies in this world and in yourself. Negative influences cause stress, they sabotage your thoughts and hold you from taking bold steps forward.

11. Let go of expectations

Perhaps it sounds weird hearing that you need to let go of expectations in order to be happier, but that is true.

Sure, some expectations offer a sense of guidance in life, but for the most part they somehow prepare the stage for disappointment or leave you with a sense of lack. That is of course unless you have some kind of superpowers that enable you to always develop expectations in total balance with reality.

That is why the less you expect, the more abundant your life will feel. Allow the universe to do what it does best, and sure, sometimes your hopes and aspirations will become reality, sometimes they will not, but instead of you focusing on what you would like to be taking place, you will be able to become more aware of what is already taking place in your life.

"Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” – Lao Tzu

12. Let go of insecurity

Stop feeding your insecurities and your low self-esteem. Understand that confidence is not an attribute that describes those who never fail or those who are perfect in every way, because these kind of people do not exist.

Accept and embrace who you are, focus on your gifts and talents, and develop yourself from them. See your imperfections as opportunities for growth if there is something that you can indeed do about them. You can also look at it from a different angle and notice the people who already accept you the way you are.

Since they accept you, why wouldn’t you accept yourself? Those who pass judgment or do not accept you, should not matter, because they are probably the ones you do not want around anyway.

13. Let go of you fantasies of perfection

You probably heard the expression that „happiness is not a destination but a way of travel”.

Well it’s the same thing with perfection. Do not see perfection as an end goal, but rather as a process of constant exploration and improvement.

"Why would anyone want perfection when growth comes from flaws?" - Shannon L. Alder

14. Let go of the idea that life is fair

We are all surrounded by diversity. The notion of „fairness” cannot exist in such an environment because what is fair to the lion cannot be fair to the zebra.

15. Let go of your resistance to change

Personal growth and progress in general requires change.

Avoid being stucked inside a loop where you wish for things to be better but you are not doing anything differently than what you used to.

16. Let go of trying to change others

Even though we know how hard it is for us to change ourselves sometimes, we still get caught up in the idea that changing others is possible. I don’t think it is and it shouldn’t even be attempted.

Of course you can influence and affect people, but in the end the only person you can really change is still only yourself. So concentrate on that, that is how your world will improve.

When it comes to others  you either accept them for who they are or you go on living without them.

17. Let go of those who are only around when things are great in your life

When things get tough in your life, you get a chance to see who truly cares about you and who doesn’t.

Separate yourself from those to whom friendship means only partying and good times.

18. Let go of the tendency of associating a bad day with a bad life

A bad day does not equal a bad life in the same way your past mistakes do not define you as a bad person. Life is always about ups and downs and we cannot control this. What we can control however is our attitude and response to the circumstances.

This is very important in determining the length and the intensity of those ups and downs.

19. Let go of excessive pride

It is ok to be proud in the sense that you are satisfied with yourself and your accomplishments. It is not ok to inflate your status and your accomplishments and feel superior, because this will prevent you from maintaining an open mind and an open perspective and will essentially prevent you from evolving and feeling happy.

So stay humble - "Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying."― St. Vincent de Paul

20. Let go of pessimism

The Universe acts like a mirror that reflects whatever we think, speak or do. So if you have a tendency of stressing out the negative and constantly think about the most undesirable outcomes, then guess what the Universe will reflect.

Planting negativity will only enable you to harvest negativity. Developing a „fascination” with trouble, will only get you in...trouble...you guessed it. So try to become better and better at seeing the positive side of things, at visualizing the best possible outcomes and at focusing on all the reasons why that best possible outcomes can happen.

Shift your habit and look at life through a different lens."Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists."- Thomas L. Friedman

Voice your opinion :

What is the main thing on this list that you need to let go of? Can you also name something that you would pin to this list?