Yes, you heard me right. It's National Let It Go Day, an occasion for all of us to let go of our baggage. But what sort of baggage, exactly? The definition is pretty broad, according to the website Days of the Year, which announces minor holidays like this one:
You know those nagging regrets and grudges that tug at your soul weeks, months, or even years after the people, jobs, or situations which once made them important ceased to be part of your life? Yes, there was a time when you felt you had to take every opportunity to demonstrate to your ex, you former workmates, or classmates how well you were doing without them, but isn’t it finally time to move on and let go of the negative emotion pulling you down?
That is exactly what Let It Go Day is all about; a national day when you know you are not [alone] in taking the brave step to cast away all those hang-ups from a previous chapter in your life.
Let It Go Day is the perfect occasion to stop wasting your energy on negative feelings from the past and instead focus on building yourself a positive future.
Here are some specific things you can let go of, inspired by the description in a past National Let It Go Day Facebook event:
OK, maybe hang on to your fear of jumping off balconies or getting in car crashes... but you know what I mean. Fear can hold us back from having exciting adventures, taking career risks, or pursuing new relationships. These things may very well not work out, but if we don't try, we'll never know, and if we do, we may be pleasantly surprised and find the risk was worth it in the end.
"I can't go out because I'm tired." "I shouldn't apply to this job because I won't get it." "I can't take that class because I don't have time." "I shouldn't work out because I ate too recently." We've all had these excuses run through our heads when the truth is we're scared (see #1) or just plain lazy. "No" can be a liberating word, but sometimes turning down opportunities becomes a reflex when it doesn't make sense. There are always a million reasons not to do something, but the reasons to do it are usually better.
3. Toxic People
Sometimes, out of inertia, we keep friendships alive that would have never even been born if we met the person today. It might seem undesirable to be down a friend, but it's about quality, not quantity, and no friendship is worth the toll that the drama takes on the rest of your life.
Grudges are usually understandable, and I don't fault anyone for being unable to let go of someone else's poor conduct. If you want to try, though, it helps to remind yourself that forgiving someone can be a pragmatic decision to minimize your own distress rather than a stamp of approval on the other person's behavior.
5. Things You Don't Need
I know, I know, maybe that third pair of nail clippers will come in handy one day. But the space they're taking up in your drawer is space you could use to store something you actually need or, you know, close the drawer. Clearing out your space clears out your mind.
I believe in learning from mistakes but not getting mad at yourself for making them. We do what seems like the best decision in the present, and we can't always know that our future perspective will look like. We also can't know how the future would have turned out if we'd acted differently. The results of our "mistakes" are often blessings in disguise.
Did you commit murder? Did you steal candy from a baby? If not, I officially exempt you from feeling guilty — because everyone but you has probably moved on from whatever you're feeling guilty about. Even if you did something truly bad, you're not alone, and nobody can fault you for moving on if you've changed your ways.
8. The Past
You don't have to be who you were 10 years ago. You don't even have to be who you were yesterday. Every day presents the opportunity to reinvent yourself. You can always change your mind about anything (except, you know, things like whether or not you're going to take care of your kids). Give others this freedom to grow as well, and you can have the enriching experience of constantly evolving together.
According to the Let It Go Day Facebook event (which appears to be from 2011, so if anyone's really into this idea, we need a 2015 group), some ways to let go of this baggage include examining and expressing your feelings, asking for forgiveness, organizing spaces, and "lov[ing] unconditionally" — which seems like a tall order, but a worthwhile goal nonetheless.