My son has started year one this month. He is happy that he has been growing up. Today, I dropped him off at school and he is expected to go by himself to class.
I still feel he is little and vulnerable, yet he has proven to me that he can go to his own class. Reception started as well this week and I have been observing how some parents are struggling with letting go of their kids. We are emotionally attached. Fair enough.
As humans we like to have control. Controlling and taking ownership do have their place. When we use them to limit our own children’s growth though, then we have a problem. When we use it to control other people, then we have a problem. When it comes to controlling our feelings and thoughts then there is not so much of a problem.
In general I was raised with a hands off approach that allows a child to develop as an independent human. But they are small and dependent, I hear you say.
To a certain degree they are, on the food and shelter we provide them. On the emotional warmth we give a child and we receive back. Overall children are far more resourceful and adaptive to situations as long as we allow them to be. As long as we stop spoon feeding and running after their requests. But I am helping out my child, what’s wrong with that?
- Disabling children to express themselves
- Developing competence to look after themselves
- Having power over what happens in their world
- Managing their own emotions – the list goes on
If we can design their environment to be close to their needs then kids can be more confident about the things they can do by themselves. That is why the younger classes adopted to the kids standards and not the adults. Low chairs, low tables, sinks, glasses, water and food at their level.
You see there is one thing controlling and providing an environment that allows growth and another making it everything difficult. Forcing our children to rely on us.
What does all this have to do with letting go?
It’s simple, the minute we decide to start letting go. To leave the control behind and to empower our young ones most of us we will feel a sense of uneasiness. When we clench to that feeling and attitude, we are holding on. By holding on we restrict our progress and that of our child.
We have been so used to holding on, to strain, tension and stress. What we do is like holding on really tight with our hands. We hold on for that long that we go numb, we turn blue. Yet, it goes on for that long that our numbness makes us forget of the clenching. Our lack of oxygen and fresh blood makes us delirious. We have been holding on for way too long.
Our muscles are constricted and blood doesn’t flow easily. We become stagnate and our life resembles a pond.
The minute we relax and let go, we allow fresh blood to flow. To feed that part of us that has been restricted of life.
Our mind works in the same way
Our negative emotions, desires our thought patters and attitudes operate in the same way. We feel pressure building up and instead of letting go and observing we constrict and keep on constricting. Until we go numb that we stop to feel what it is that we need to acknowledge. Or until we start to use different kinds of numbing techniques such as telly, drugs and alcohol to name a few.
We miss the opportunity to feel what is there and by the time we feel it, it’s a little bit too late. There is a situation that torments us, whether at work with our children or ourselves. A reoccurring thought that keeps coming back and we keep trying to push it out.
We scream in our minds “I don’t want this!” We resist and as Carl Young said what you resist, persists. Mindfulness teaches us to observe and in that process of observing to detach from what is going on. Partly mentally and more emotionally. In other words, we learn to let go.
The thoughts or emotions begin to form, to rise and we constrict. The energy that is not useful to us is being restricted of flow. It keeps gathering, growing in size and weight. Until it comes down crushing us.
The same way our blood flows everywhere, our energy flows into our thoughts, emotions and desires. If we keep holding on and we don’t allow things to flow. We perpetuate a situation that otherwise would have just drifted by like a small twig in a river.
We can learn to let go. We can let go of past successes, of lost money, relationships, the death of a loved one.
Start by relaxing and by practising mindfulness
In the hectic lives we proudly live, we rarely find a moment to switch off and relax by being with ourselves. I don’t mean watching the telly, I mean actively switching off and being present in the processes inside of us and around us.
There is always something else we have to do to manage our life. One more episode on Netflix, one more dish to wash. You get the idea.
Learning to relax is a vital skill to your happiness. By learning to relax, you learn to let go. You can relax in different levels.
As a hypnotist one of the methods we use to relax a persons is a method called progressive relaxation. We guide a person through all their body parts and help them to relax. There is a variation to this technique for those who find it difficult. That is to constrict as much as you can and then relax and notice the difference.
Do this exercise now
For example, most of us have a lot of tension in our shoulders. That doesn’t help us in any way. It creates strain, it tires us and it hurts if it’s too much. Part of that strain is psychological and part of it has to do with our sedentary life style.
Notice how your shoulders feel, how your upper back is perhaps tense. You can try and relax them and you will probably feel an easiness coming through. Sometimes that can be a hard task. Try to raise your shoulders and hold them there for a bit, yes now. Take a nice long breath in and exhale. As you do drop your shoulders down.
How do you feel now? Spend a minute to reflect on the changes.
Relax, Breath and Observe
By relaxing and breathing we learn to enjoy life more fully. We learn to feel alive. In the process we allow the parasympathetic nervous system to activate.
The simple process or relaxing, breathing and observing. There is no need for complicated breathing exercise and folding your body in 20 twisted ways.
Learn to relax your body first. You can then learn to relax your emotions and thoughts. You will soon notice how one relaxes the other. Do it consciously.
Whenever you feel tension in you, concentrate on that feeling and then let go. Tell yourself, I am letting go of this now and release your grip.
I find Reiki, meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis to be great ways of calming down the mind and finding inner peace.
Relaxing doesn’t mean to be stoned and soft in life. It is about living from a place of inner peace that empowers us to see, think and feel clearly. It will help you flow though life versus hitting speed bumps all the time.
Learn to let go today, let go of something that you have been holding on for too long.
What can you let go off today?