How to Let Go of Things You Can’t Control

How to Let Go of Things You Can’t Control

How to Let Go of Things You Can’t Control

Letting Go Starts With Awareness

The first step in letting go of things you can’t control is becoming aware of what those things are. Often, we stress over situations, events, or other people’s behaviors that are simply out of our hands. Developing self-awareness allows us to identify when we are exerting effort over things we can’t change.

Some examples include:

  • The actions or opinions of others: We can’t force people to behave the way we want or change their perspectives. Their choices are up to them.

  • Past events: The past has already happened. We can’t alter history no matter how much we dwell on it.

  • Uncertainty about the future: While we can plan and prepare, the future is ultimately unpredictable. We can’t control what will happen down the road.

  • Outcomes we can only influence: There are some goals we work hard to accomplish but can’t guarantee, like getting a certain job. While we can control our efforts, we can’t determine the results.

When you notice yourself getting worked up over something like this, recognize that you are pouring energy into the uncontrollable. Bringing conscious awareness to this behavior is the essential first step in choosing to shift your mindset and approach.

Redirect Focus to What You Can Control

Once you’ve identified the things outside of your control that are causing you stress, the next step is to purposefully redirect your focus to what you can control. This allows you to channel your energy into areas that can make a difference. Some aspects of any situation that are within your power include:

  • Your attitude: You can choose how to interpret challenges and approach setbacks. Adopt an optimistic mindset that empowers you.

  • Your actions: Take constructive steps that move you towards solutions. Break big goals into smaller, manageable tasks.

  • Your responses: You have power over how you react. Avoid knee-jerk emotional reactions by pausing first.

  • Self-care: Make sure you meet your own needs during difficult times. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and make time for hobbies.

  • Help or support you can provide: Offer compassion, lend a hand to others, provide information – be part of the solution.

  • Your learning and growth: Reframe experiences as opportunities to gain wisdom and resilience. Extract lessons.

Focusing on controlling the controllable empowers you to influence the situation to the best of your ability. Let go of the need to control the parts you can’t.

Accept What You Can’t Change

After redirecting your focus, the next step is to actively accept the uncontrollable parts of life with grace. For most of us, this is easier said than done. It requires moving from denial, frustration, and resistance to a place of openness and allowing. How can you get to acceptance? Some tips include:

  • Verbally acknowledge your inability to control a situation out loud to yourself. Say “I accept this is out of my hands.”

  • Allow yourself to fully feel any difficult emotions that surface. Process them rather than suppress them.

  • Communicate your feelings to a trusted friend or counselor who can listen empathetically.

  • Release the need for things to be different through prayer, meditation, or mantras like “let go.”

  • Visualize setting down a physical burden to symbolize letting go of unrealistic control.

  • Remind yourself that by accepting what you can’t change, you open the door for other positive possibilities.

Acceptance provides freedom from the illusion of control. It allows you to let go of attachment to certain outcomes and live in greater harmony with reality. This takes practice but gets easier over time.

Focus on Finding Peace and Meaning

The final step in letting go is to actively seek peace, meaning, and personal growth in your circumstances. How can you cultivate inner calm and purpose when grappling with the uncontrollable parts of life? Some ideas include:

  • Identify silver linings and blessings that exist even in difficult situations. There is always some good to be found if you look.

  • Foster spiritual connections through nature, prayer, meditation, or religious communities. This provides comfort.

  • Remind yourself “this too shall pass.” Change is constant, so the hard times won’t last forever.

  • Find opportunities to learn and improve personally. Extract wisdom from challenges.

  • Focus on helping others. This gives positive meaning to any experience.

  • Express gratitude for what you do have rather than resenting what you lack.

Inner peace comes when you stop vainly trying to exert control and instead open yourself to life’s unfolding with optimism and trust. By following these steps, you can let go of the uncontrollable and discover the freedom of acceptance. With practice, it gets easier. Just focus on progress over perfection.