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Letting Go

by Emily Bruce about a year ago in advice

A meta meditation on the mantra "letting go of what does not serve you".

At least once a week during my yoga or meditation practice I hear the phrase “Let go of what does not serve you”. I like how that sounds. When I hear that phrase I like to picture all the things that don’t serve me falling off my body like tiny soot sprites. I imagine myself energetically lighter and buoyant. But, I’ve recently ran into an issue with this phrase. Last week, while I was doing this during my Yoga with Adriene home yoga video I realized that I loved how letting go of what does not serve me looks and feels but I have no idea what the things that I’m letting go of actually are.  

I’ve done a little soul searching and realized that by putting the idea out there and visualizing things leaving my life, I have managed to let go of a couple things. If you didn't know you can check out my blog where I broke up with booze and I’m loving it, but alcohol isn’t the only thing I’ve let go. If you’ve known me for a while you know that takeout and I have had a tumultuous relationship. Domino’s and I go back to our college days and Taco Bell has been with me for over a decade but after years of our ups and downs I’ve begun to let fast food go too. (Bye bye potato tacos that taste so good but immediately made me nauseous). This doesn’t mean I avoid either of these in their entirety—but it does allow me to see this phrase in action. Neither were making me feel good or serving my physical health, so I naturally began to let them go. It is astonishing to think about how horrible certain foods made me feel and how I ignored my body's signs that they weren’t for me anymore. Now when I travel, I’m able to consciously think about what I’m going to consume and how I can best honor my body (or my mind, if a stereotypically unhealthy food sounds ideal). By weaning myself off this obsession with foods that don’t serve me I’m able to enjoy food without eating things that make me physically ill.

The spiritual side of this concept is a bit convoluted. Much like relapses with my former flame Taco Bell, it's really easy to relapse on spiritual and mental developments. A couple of the things I am consciously letting go of for my spiritual self are judgement, self doubt and most importantly grudges. Much like an elephant, an Emily never forgets. It’s easy to forgive and let go when someone gives an apology but I have no desire to spend the rest of my life waiting for other people to do what's right by me. I like the idea of letting go of the negative energy around grudges. I’m tired of holding grudges and I no longer want to waste the energy I have on holding onto a grudge. Instead, I’ve decided to release my hold on grudges and replace them with healthy boundaries. For a long time the grudges and judgement I held about others kept me safe, but now boundaries will be my defense. My boundaries look like setting rules for decorum in a heated conversation, allowing time to process and an attempt to seek a solution where I feel safe. Setting boundaries and expectations allows me to remove the emotion from a grudge while still protecting myself. 

After this very meta meditation on a meditation mantra, I’ve realized the key skill to letting go of what does not serve me is to visualize who and what I want to be and work backwards from there. It's ok to not know what to let go of as long as I have good intentions around it. If not now, when? Start letting go of what does not serve you and let me know what you learn about yourself in the process.

Emily Bruce
Emily Bruce
Read next: The Deception of Instagram
Emily Bruce

I'm a life and career coach! I help with personal development goal setting, self-trust, confidence, career planning, interview prep, work life balance and helping you get paid fairly for what you do. Visit to learn more!

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