About a year ago I had a call with a prospective client while I was enjoying some down time with a close friend of mine and her children in their holiday home. I had left the living room and placed myself in the garden for this call – nice and professional, away from the noise. Half way through the call, my friend’s 4-year-old daughter decided to make her way to the garden in order to pitch in with a little background music. So there she went (extremely loud and slightly off-key) ‘Let it gooooo, let it goooo’. Elsa had joined the party and I suddenly found myself discussing Frozen during a business call. #thingsIthoughtwouldneverhappen
To be fair though, Disney does have a point with those lyrics.
There are several ways to let go. Disney’s version above, where you don’t hold back is one of them. Another way we often need to let go is when obsessing with unfortunate situations. Random example: You’ve accidentally said something inappropriate during a mind wonder and it’s too late to take it back.
Quite often no one else remembers this situation 30 minutes later, but you hold on to the shame, the guilt and the need to do something about it.
Let’s be honest. This happens. And these scenarios are typically the smaller, less important parts of life. But somehow these small things can grow really big and we end up beating ourselves up about it. I have especially one friend who does this. A lot. She’s the ‘think out loud’ kind of person we all know so well – and she will almost always call me up the day after we’ve seen each other to apologise for something she said to me or tell me how upset she is about something she said to someone else in the room. I honestly rarely remember the situation she refers to. I do know the devastating feeling though.
A few years ago I said something really silly at a job interview. My heart wasn’t really in it and all of a sudden it was too late to take back what had come out. It bothered me to a degree that I found myself twisting and turning the whole situation again and agaian trying to figure out how I could have handled it differently. I’m quite sure I even had sleepless nights about it. I eventually spoke to my older sister about it and this was what she had to say about it: ‘Remember that you’re not the centre of the universe’.
I found my sister’s remark rather harsh at first. After all, I had been obsessing about this ever since it happened. But after a while, what she had said made perfect sense; People have problems and worries of their own. Sure, they might register your silly remark, action or tone, but by the end of the day they will forget it pretty much as fast as it happened. They will move on to the next thing on their list. Several things will probably be more important to them. Who knows? They might be going through a divorce, be really exited about an upcoming holiday or be trying to make it home to their kids in time for dinner. In other words, you should let it go just as easy as they probably did.
As one of the experts in the new documentary, The Abundance Factor, put it: ‘The world forgives and forgets. Only you remember.’ I wasn’t the centre of the universe. I didn’t get the job either – which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.
Personally I have always found the exercise of letting go very difficult. Although I am a lot better at it now, it has taken me years to work out a way to handle the prospect of someone not liking me or thinking bad things about me.
When faced with this battle I find the following to be a really good exercise. It’s all about reminding yourself that you are just a tiny piece in a massive puzzle. My thoughts go something like this:
‘I am Kat. I come from a little town north of Copenhagen. Denmark. Scandinavia. Europe. The World. The Universe.’
All of a sudden you become so incredibly small in the bigger picture, which makes something you have said or done on a random day even smaller than it probably already was.
I also remind myself that my time on earth is so limited that really what does it matter if a former colleague thought I handled something the wrong way or I said something that was meant nicely, but was misinterpreted?
Life is too short. Move on. Focus on something great instead and let it go. You can’t change the past anyway so really, what does it matter now? You didn’t get the job? You scared somebody off? Keep this in mind:
You might be the centre of your own universe. But you are not the centre of the universe. Remember this with a big smile on your face next time something small and unimportant has turned big and scary. Let it go and be grateful for all the good that surrounds you.