Letting Go of Heaviness

Moving beyond difficult emotions begins with acknowledging and accepting them

Letting Go of Heaviness
(ViDI Studio/Shutterstock)

A lot of the people I work with feel a lot of heaviness with regard to their work, finances, relationships, and health.

We're often unaware that we have heaviness about something—but other people can feel it if we talk to them about it. Heaviness comes when things feel really difficult, overwhelming, discouraging, frustrating, or pointless.

If you’re feeling heaviness about something, that’s OK! You’re human, and you're allowed to have heavy emotions. Giving ourselves full permission to feel something is the first step to acknowledging and managing those emotions. It's a powerful way to be.

That said, what if you would like to experience life in a different way? What if you would like to feel more empowered, more inspired, or more purposeful?

This might require you to let go of the heaviness—not because it’s bad or wrong, but because it isn't serving you in creating the life you want.

Let’s talk about how to let go.

Start With Being With Heaviness

Ironically, it’s pretty much impossible to let go of something if we think there’s something wrong with it. Disliking something or judging something is putting attention on it and energy into it. It ends up giving that thing more of our mental real estate. And it also ignores the reality that certain feelings and experiences are inevitable and even intrinsic to the human experience.

Fear is a part of who we are as humans, as are emotions such as frustration, disappointment, discouragement, and pointlessness. We try to disown those parts of us because we don’t like them and can’t be with them. But it’s like wishing you didn’t have a brain or a heart—pretty hard to get rid of them!

So we start by just letting ourselves be with the emotions that are there when heaviness shows up. Can we allow them to be there? Welcome them? Bring curiosity? What about love? This is shifting how we relate to these heavy emotions.

Only once we’ve practiced with this and can accept these emotions can we practice creating something different.

Catch It in the Moment

It’s important to practice noticing the heaviness when it shows up. If you can catch it when it’s happening, then you can work with it.

When you first notice heaviness, practice just being with it, bringing curiosity and love to it.

But then, you can decide whether you would like to choose something different. In the moment, if you’re aware you’re in the heaviness, you can decide whether you would like to let it go and choose something fresh.

We’ll talk about that in the next section below, but it’s important to remember that it happens in the moment—so catch it when it happens!

Create Something Different

If you catch it in the moment, you can choose something different. It isn't that you’re going to “improve” yourself or fix the broken thing about you. It’s simply that there’s something else you want. You can love stormy weather but simply want some sunshine today. Your heart is allowed to want to be calm and light.

Do you want to have more joy, play, and love in your life? More creativity, adventure, and wonder? More generosity, gratitude, and magic?

Choose what you would like, then opt in to it in the moment. It won’t come easy, because you’re comfortable with the heaviness. It’s safe for you. Choosing something else means you have to take actions that aren’t what you would normally do. If you want more adventure, you have to actually opt in to adventure and take action in the face of your fear. What adventure doesn’t have fear?

Make a list of what you might do if you were to commit to your new way of being. And then start to take those actions.

Leo Babauta is the author of six books and the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with over 2 million subscribers. Visit ZenHabits.net
Related Topics