Let it Go
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes (self-evaluated option) / less than a minute (instructor-evaluated option)
One of my favorite all-time recurring characters on Saturday Night Live is the “grumpy old man” played by Dana Carvey. Dana does his impression of an 80-year-old man who is angry at the world. This character represents a man who never let go of a lifetime of grudges, resentment, and hate. While Dana’s portrayal of this character is very funny, it is a sad truth that the world is full people just like this, both male and female, of all ages.
Let it go. Three little words that mean so much in the pursuit of happiness. These words apply to grudges, resentment, hate, fear, and any other negative, self-destructive feeling or emotion. One of my favorite movie lines is from Get Shorty, where John Travolta plays a tough, but very likable “wiseguy” named Chili Palmer. Just after the scene where he escapes death after fighting on a roof, Karen asks Chili if he is scared. He replies, “I was.” “You’re not anymore?” asks Karen. Chili responds, “How long do you want me to be scared for?”
We already know that it is only possible for our brains to focus on one thing at a time. While we are focusing on fear, worry, or hate, it is not possible for us to be experiencing happiness, enthusiasm or love. As time passes, we seem to hold on to more and more of these negative feelings and emotions. When we do this, our lives become consumed with negativity, and the innocence of youth is gone.
Let it go. You certainly do not need to sabotage your own happiness and success by holding on to negative emotions. You can choose to move on, forgive and forget, and once again focus on the more positive and empowering emotions. Here are some suggestions on how you can “let it go.”
- Don’t let other people control your emotions. Easier said than done, but certainly possible with practice. When another person angers or upsets you, it is only because you have allowed that person to. This is what is meant by “don’t let him get to you.”
- Don’t carry grudges. A grudge is one of the most wasteful forms of mental energy there is, with some grudges lasting lifetimes. End arguments when they start. Come to a resolution as soon as possible and communicate. Don’t let another’s actions or behaviors cause you negative feelings. Talk it out.
- Ask yourself, “Is feeling this way doing me any good?” Chances are it is not. It is only human to feel negative emotions, and we all feel them. However, those who understand happiness and success know that prolonged negative feelings are pointless and a complete waste of energy. Know when to say when.
- Remain focused on your life purpose and goals. When your mind is preoccupied with more important thoughts, such as your life purpose, it is much easier to let go of minor grievances that get in your way.
- Put things in perspective. Instead of spending all day angry at your significant other for not taking out the garbage, think for a moment how fortunate you are to have that person in your life.
- Remember that we all operate on different sets of beliefs. Everyone was not raised the same way with the same experiences in the same situations. Our belief systems are all different. We must be open-minded to those who act and behave differently than we do rather than resenting or even hating them for it.
- Make amends. Are there any relationships right now in your life that can use fixing? Are you still living with guilt for something you did to someone years ago? It is not too late to do the right thing. Make amends and start living with a clean slate today.
Let it go. We only come around this way once and our time on this earth is precious. We can choose to live in happiness or misery. Focus your mental energy on your life purpose and goals rather than the negative emotions that suck the enjoyment from life. Enjoy your life to the fullest—you deserve it.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)