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10 Tips For Letting Go Of The Things You Can’t Control

Tips Letting Go Of Things Cant Control

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is, therefore, the means for correcting our misperceptions.” ― Gerald G. Jampolsky

Letting Go Is Hard

It’s a true challenge, one of the hardest you will face in life, letting go of the things that you are emotionally connected to and can’t control.

When you are feeling stuck on something or someone, many people will give the advice to just, “let it go”, saying it’s not worth your time or energy, which might be great advice but the question remains, how do you get there?! If only it was as simple as the raising of a wand!

There are lots of situations where you need to accept the reality of something regrettable and be able to “let go” when things just don’t line up for you. These situations can feel quite frequent and will present you with an array of mental challenges. How you choose to overcome these life situations can often be a defining moment for you.   

This article has the answers you are looking for when it comes to letting go and moving on, freeing yourself from the self-destructive path you can find yourself on when you have a hard time letting go.

Related: 20 Signs It’s Time To Let Go Of The Past And Move On

Situations that call for letting go

First, let’s look at the situations and signs where you might want to think about moving on and letting go.

When it comes to letting go of something there are two ways that this might manifest, that is through the internal and through the external. 

The internal aspect is more around something that we wanted to do or are working towards in our own life, a personal endeavor. This will naturally be impacted by things that are outside our locus of control however when it comes down to it, we do have some control over our decisions and how we choose to pivot based on the circumstances around us or how we manage the situation. 

Some examples of these situations are:

  • Developing a new skill or learning a new trade, such as studying a foreign language, learning how to play an instrument, developing athletic skills, moving into a new professional field, or acquiring a new skillset.
  • Feeling of failure and disappointment which if not addressed can quickly turn into discouragement. Job search, being turned down for a job or a promotion you really wanted.
    • Students might feel this in their college application process, a non-acceptance letter from your dream college.  
    • Getting stuck on something that you really want but, find it slipping through your fingers.
  • Parenting challenges, how to navigate unchartered territory and make the personal sacrifices needed for the overall benefit of the family.

The external situation is more around those things where you have little to no control, at least not enough to change the situation on your own. You are then left to make decisions based on the facts around you.

Some examples are:

  • Relationships
    • when another person initiates a breakup.
    • when there is an imbalance in your relationship, this can be a platonic or romantic relationship, you can work to make changes in the relationship, but you are only half of the equation.
    • when someone shows you their true colors and proves to be someone that is not who you think they are, maybe in the case of betrayal, or when someone wrongs you.
    • when someone makes a decision that you are not happy with
    • feeling disrespected.
    • when someone asks for more than what is fair, this could be at work or in your private life.
    • When a job or work situation changes unexpectedly.
  • Traffic and weather conditions which are prohibitive, on the slightly lighter side, but still very disruptive at the wrong time, do you forge ahead or find an alternative route?
  • When dealing with loss
    • health, diagnosis of illness, terminal, or something that will diminish your quality of life.
    • death, the loss of someone close to you, or a family pet, especially when unexpected.
    • job changes and security, sometimes this is due to restructuring or budget cuts, resignation against your will.
    • loss of a relationship, the falling out with a friend, or in the case of a divorce in the family.
    • empty nest.
    • financial losses, change in the economy, investments.
    • infertility.
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Meredith Flanagan, LICSW

Meredith Flanagan is a Mental Health Professional (LICSW) with more than 20 years of experience as a social worker, educator, therapist, and community organizer. She has worked in a variety of fields such as domestic violence and crisis intervention, developmental disabilities, healthcare, and public education. Among her proudest achievements is being an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer), serving in Ecuador and Honduras. She has been in clinical practice for over 10 years and works primarily with clients who battle depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and Adjustment Disorder. Meredith has been working in the field of public education for the past 7 years and currently holds a position as a Special Education Administrator. Her passion is turning life’s challenges and roadblocks into opportunities and strengths that drive us forward creating new and exciting possibilities.View Author posts