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If you are an addict you know to let go of your drug of choice but you can’t. The junkie worm tells you just one more time! When you are an entrepreneur giving birth to your dream service or product, there comes a time when you know you need to let go of the reins. You need to empower others so that you can do what only you can do for this business, but you don’t let go. You think others won’t do it the way you do it. 

Workaholics live life with their knickers twisted way too tight. They get stuck doing more to keep from being less. Mothers struggle to let go of the care of their children to others fearing they will not do it as effectively or that the needed bonding will be incomplete or broken. They know to let go but they can’t. 

Adult children enmeshed with parents who are no longer able to care for themselves, know to reach out for assisted living but don’t because they cannot handle the perceived hurt and painful harm the move would create. So they remain stuck, trying to care for them alone, unable to let them go to a professional care that is better.

Kids go away to college and create empty nests at home while parents struggle and often don’t let go of the past but hang on to yesterday’s experiences.

Families faced with the tragedy of a loved one who suffered irreparable harm from an accident or physical illness know to let go and turn off the ventilator but they can’t.

Seniors faced with retirement knowing it’s time to turn the page and shut it down, but cannot. Partners of addicts facing betrayal and who know the relationship is over and need to pull the plug but they can’t.

Everyday life presents a menagerie of possibilities that insist on choices to let go. But, what do you do when you cannot?

Here is a list of tools to help you let go of what you cannot control:

1. Look at yourself in the mirror to face reality. The mirror may be that of another trusted friend who clearly sees what you do not want to look at or are simply blind to. Sometimes you need several mirrors. As the old saying applies, if eight friends tell you that you have a tail, at least look at your posterior in the mirror!

2. First, face the result that you would least like to experience, then return to the present reality. In your mind’s eye, lean into the dreaded result that you fear. Sit with this possibility. See yourself accepting and experiencing the loss, the disappointment, and possible failed results. Practice knowing that whatever happens, your better self can face it with the strength of the universe. Then return to the here and now with the presence of calm in face of uncertainty. 

3. Surrendering control is a daily practice that cultivates acceptance. Letting go is seldom a one-and-done life experience. Surrender requires ongoing conditioning. When the stakes are high, surrender must be a lifestyle. Most people who lose precious relationships and positions must think in terms of days or months or even years to let go of what they cannot control. For addicts, it’s a lifetime practice of letting go of their drug of choice.

4. Letting go requires a disciplined action step without hovering around that which no longer is. A National Geographic nature show presented a mother wolf who died surrounded by it’s pups in the winter. The pups continued to hover around the carcass hoping to get the sustenance of milk from the dead mother. Finally, the pups gave up and left as the moderator declared they will never come back again. The hovering was over. For you to let go, it will require eliminating the aspect of hovering. You will have to act and forge ahead, leaving behind what no longer is real. 

5. Letting go will require a new declaration of reality with accountability. Once you recognize what you cannot control and must let go, you must declare your commitment to surrender to your community of support. You might be wanting to let go of excess weight, a bad habit, old digs, or a difficult relationship, but, it will help you to declare your intentions and practice accountability with others who believe in you and who will not shade your actions but inspire your follow through.

6. “Yesterday ended last night”— This is a healthy mantra to adopt around letting go of what you can’t. Perfection is never part of the plan for surrender. Some days and situations are more difficult to let go than others. There are days that are a battle and you just don’t. But, each morning is a new day with new opportunities to surrender and experience acceptance. Practice living in 24-hour tight compartments. Release, surrender, let go, and experience serenity. Each day of conditioning provides the necessary acceptance that enables you to let go of what you can’t.