Letting go is a life skill that takes serious work to develop, and it takes compassionate grace to keep love in the center. Even letting go of toxic relationships can - and must - be done with love.
For years, I cued my yoga students to do it on their mats, and I thought I knew how to do it myself. But if your body is still tight, if your breath is still short, if your spirit feels trapped even in the smallest ways, you haven’t let go.
But you must. Letting go is essential to a life worth living. How can you invite in magic and love without making any space for it?
In 2015, I wanted to learn how to heal, really heal. So, without knowing much beyond my instinct telling me to, I flew to Germany to attend Path of Love.
For 7 days, I cried and yelled and danced and was completely, utterly transformed.
I went to learn how to heal, and I was faced with its price: to let go of everything, including what I had been holding onto the tightest — the things that hurt me. Nothing has ever felt scarier than letting go of my deepest heartaches.
But for 7 days, I learned how to let go of it all.
Through letting go, actually, truly letting go, I found out what love is. On day 5, I rolled out my mat. My heart touched the ground in Child's Pose for the first time in my life.
I'd been practicing yoga for over a decade, but the tension I'd been carrying in my chest and shoulders went far deeper than any asana could ever fix. In one week, I learned how to let go of fear, of unworthiness, of pain, of sadness, of death.
I let go of it all. And so did my heart.
Since that magical week and that magical moment on my yoga mat, I’ve learned that I have to keep strengthening this skill of letting go, like a muscle.
I’ve also learned that one of the hardest parts of life to let go of is people.
Throughout our lives we meet many, many people, some crossing our paths just once and some coming into our worlds to stay.
The people we surround ourselves with affect how we feel, how we act and the way we see the world. We absorb the energy of others, so the people we keep close influence us immensely. It's absolutely crucial to our wellbeing that we choose these people wisely!
Here’s what I now know: just because you have known someone forever doesn't mean you need to keep holding onto an old idea of a relationship.
Fact of the matter is, as human beings, we constantly evolve, we constantly change, and to keep the flow of things going we sometimes need to let people go as part of that change.
But how do you know which people to hold onto, and which people it's time to let go of? And how do you actually let go of someone that's been in your life for a long time?
1. Identify how the people in your surroundings make you feel.
You know you have a valuable person in your life if they make you feel good. It's very simple.
They give you energy, lift you up, inspire you to do great things. This person will be easy to spend time with, and even though you'll have your ups and downs (as with all things), the general feeling of the relationship is effortless.
Hold onto these people! Don't take them for granted. Be grateful, because true connection is not the easiest thing to find.
What if you have a person in your life that makes you feel the opposite of what's described above? I call them energy thieves - people that, instead of lifting you up, bring you down. People that judge you or make you feel small. They might be very negative most of the time, complain a lot or gossip and make mean remarks about others.
This person is most likely very caught up in ego and feeds off drama of other people. If someone spends a lot of time talking trash to you about others, what's stopping them from talking the same way to others about you?
How do you feel after spending time with this person? This is the first indication that it might be time to let go. If a person makes you feel unworthy or insecure, it's not someone you want to hold onto.
2. If you find yourself surrounded by energy thieves, take a moment and check in with your heart.
Why are you attracting these people into your life right now? There is something you are telling yourself, a vibration you are giving out, that brings these people to you.
Are you being nice to yourself? Are you giving yourself enough love?
Or are you making yourself the victim?
This is the first thing you need to change: how you treat yourself. Make sure you take care of your soul in all ways, and that means knowing you deserve good people in your life.
3. Know that nobody can take your power away from you unless you allow them.
Check in with how you are feeling on a deep level, and why it is that you are giving people with a toxic vibe attention. Something is lacking.Find out what it is and start giving yourself the love you need from within.
4. What we feel is what we reflect outward—a person who makes others feel small does so because they feel small.
The most important thing to remember here is that there is love inside the other person, too. Nobody will ever consciously put another person down unless they are suffering inside. It's simple, and it's a way of coping. If anything, these people need love and lots of it.
However, being insecure and having issues with your self-esteem is no excuse for treating others like crap, and you do not have to put up with people treating you that way!
5. Try to let go without drama.
You don't have to invite your ego to release a toxic person from your life. There doesn't have to be a fight, or mean comments, or an "I'm done with you" type of feeling. While verbalizing what you feel so you can let go of the emotion is good, you don't have to inflict pain on others to release them. If possible, let them out of your life subtly, with ease. Perhaps the only one holding on is you?
Some relationships don't need a big bang ending, they have just served their purpose and what's left can slip quietly out the door.
Other relationships are harder to let go of, like if the person you need a break from is someone you see on a very regular basis or if they have been in your life for a long time.
Can you sit down with them and explain how you feel without creating drama? Honesty is a magical thing. Sometimes all that's needed is a little bit of truth, even if it might hurt at first. Be honest with how you are feeling and let the person know you need to step away. Don't point fingers, or judge, or hurt, simply tell them for your own wellbeing, you need to take a break.
6. "What other people think of me is none of my business."
This is my favorite saying and it’s so true! If the other person gets upset and starts throwing drama your way? Know that it's never really about you. Your business is you, nobody else. If other people don't like who you are or the choices you make? Who cares!
And when you see the people you’ve let go of in the future, smile, say hello, and walk on. Remind yourself that life is far too valuable to get caught up in negativity.
7. Know that life will take you where you need to be, with the people you need to be.
Focus on the people that make you happy! When you focus on surrounding yourself with loving people, the love you have within will blossom and extend to others and you will attract more happy people into your life.
The Law of Attraction is a powerful thing! Which is why it's so important to choose your close ones wisely. Know that life will take you where you need to be, with the people you need to be.
And when it's time to let go, don't hold on. It does not serve you to cling to anything that brings you pain.
Clear out the old to make space for the new. The space that's left with this person out of your life will soon be filled by a person who deserves your love.
The universe will always fill your life with love if you make the space for it.
And the first thing the universe wants to fill that space with? Self-love — So much of it you will never feel lonely or unworthy ever again, and you will attract the people that cherish you for exactly who you are, because you cherish yourself for exactly who you are. It’s the most beautiful circle there is.
I think, if anything, that's why we are here — to learn, and to love.
Will you commit to yourself to let go of what no longer serves you this year? Tell me 3 things you’re going to do make space for more love below!