In the last chapter, we talked about being in the present moment and how vital it is to really embrace life.  To be able to be in the present moment we need to have the courage to let go of the past, which is easier said than done. Letting Go demands strength, as it means moving away from familiar grounds, as toxic as they might be, into the unknown, which opens a new window of opportunities. But for many of us, it is easier said than done!  

When trauma happens 

In the previous chapter (Chapter 7 “Being in the Present Moment”) I mentioned that my youngest daughter was involved in a serious car accident.  What I did not mention was that she was being driven home from school by our then driver when the accident happened. She was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, which he should have insisted that she did before driving. It was a freaky accident where he panicked when a dog crossed the road suddenly, swerved and went straight into a tree.  With no seat belt on, my daughter was thrown straight from the back seat into the front windscreen. 

It was a difficult situation as one side of me screamed that he was totally responsible for not making sure she had her seat belt on and was negligent, and the other rational part of me was saying that it was a totally freaky accident that could have happened to anyone. It did not help that many of our friends and family, with good intention, tried to persuade me to fire the driver and lay a criminal charge against him for reckless driving.    

Finding Closure  

I realized that the more I thought about it, the more stress and emotionally drained I became.  I needed to preserve my energy for my family who needed me, so instinctively I shut down all these thoughts and let go, as a way of shielding myself from everything. In the process of letting go, I started slowly accepting the situation and moved on. 

two coffee lattes in yellow cup with saucer on brown wooden table

I was pleased that I followed that path, as it turned out all well at the end. My daughter is now fully recovered from the accident, and it also helped us to highlight some learning challenges that she had that we were unaware of, and as for the driver he stayed with us for a few more months and finally resigned of his own accord to pursue new personal ventures.  I was grateful that I did not succumb to peer pressure to issue an official charge against him which would have resulted in ruining his opportunity to move on.  Can you imagine having that guilt sitting on my head? Let alone the negative feelings that would have lingered within me for the rest of my life.    

Steps to Learning to Let Go

  • Bringing myself back to the present and focusing on being grateful that my family were all well helped me to let go 
  • Accepting the situation and not focusing on who was right or wrong was key for my own well-being
  • Surround yourself with people that will nurture you rather than harm you. 
woman on bike reaching for man's hand behind her also on bike
Surround yourself with people that will nurture you rather than harm you

This traumatic time opened my eyes to those that were truly my friends and supported me, and those that were there just to fuel your frustration and anger more. You need to stay away from them as those toxic friendships are the worst! 

  • Learn to forgive and have no expectations that by doing so the other party is likely to do the same. You have the power to forgive and move on even if the other person does not!   
  •  Be kind and loving to yourself. It is not always your fault. 

My best quotes on Letting Go 

“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” (Deepak Chopra)

“Let go of those who bring you down and surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you” (Anonymous)

“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it” (Ann Landers)

“I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone” (Robin Williams)

“The best way to move forward is to let go of people holding you back” (Our MindfulLife.com)

Wishing you good health and see you soon in another chapter of Health2bfree.com