10 Things I’ve Let Go And How It Sets Me Free

Letting go

That night I walked out of my office, with a bouquet of flowers in one hand, while holding a small gift basket in the other hand. I walked toward my husband. He stood there, waiting for me empty-handed.

It was women’s day.

I didn't like it. But I still hold on hope. Maybe there was something for me at home.

In the commute, we listened to music in silence, spoke to each other once or twice. Then we arrived.

I opened the door, expected to see a flower vase on the table, but nothing.

I felt like a stone just dropped inside my stomach. I was so disappointed and hurt. I didn’t want to be greedy or demanding in front of my husband, so I kept my mouth shut. But then I heard the voices in my head, telling me that my husband was ignorance, selfish, careless and doesn’t appreciate me.

I knew that was her talking, but it still bothered me. Then I realized, I just put my happiness into my husband’s hand.

I love him. But simply put, my happiness has to be in my control, not his.

That is just an example of something I still hold on. I am still learning to let go of these things.

Although I am a work in progress, I feel more peaceful, intent and calm.

1. Expectation

No one is responsible for you. Don’t expect people to do things for you. If you want to be happy, you have to be in the driver seat, you need to play the game. Don’t sit there, doing nothing and playing the victim of life.

I expected my husband to buy me flowers. I didn’t consider that he took me and picked me up from work. No, I wanted flowers. When he failed to give me the exact thing, I felt frustrated.

The truth is, I was wrong. Even he is my husband, he doesn’t have any obligation to buy me anything. And it is totally okay.

I no longer expect him to give me flowers. I still feel thrilled when he does, like a little surprise, but my happiness is no longer in the bouquet of flowers.

2. Comparison

A part of my insecurity is that I wanted to prove myself. I was so desperate for people’s approval that I constantly compared myself with others, and what I had with others’.

When I was in my last job, even though I hated that career path, I still had the bitter taste in my mouth when I saw my peers were getting something that I didn’t. I beat myself up for it.

I compared my husband to an imaginary ideal husband and I resented him for his imperfection.

I forgot to appreciate people around me and all the things that I have. Instead, I focused on the things I don’t have and complained about it.

I’ve learned that comparison is unhealthy and everybody is unique. All people have their own stories to tell. And I will not trade everything I have to be in their position, because what I have is priceless.

3. Past

The past cannot hurt you anymore, unless you let it. No matter how many times you revisit the past and try to change what happened, you cannot change anything.

What’s more, you miss on the life you are having right now while busy visiting your past.

Today is a new day. What hurt you yesterday is already gone. Reset your mind and start over.

4. Security

I always wanted to have something to back me up. While I’m sure this is a wise decision when it comes to financial investments, I’ve come to realize that I’d been playing it too safe.

I was too comfortable in my comfort zone that I was scared that I would lose something if I tried to do things differently.

In fact, that was exactly what happened.

I postponed my dream and my passion to write, just because I thought I didn’t have what it takes to success, and I was too comfortable with a stable corporate job.

I let go my need for security. I am now walking my first few steps toward the career I really want, although I have no idea where to go and which direction to take.

5. The urge to please people

I was a lousy people-pleaser. And it hurts. Still does. Today I am collecting piece by piece of my soul which I used to let people step over it.

Today I know that I cannot please everyone. No matter how hard I try, people will find something to judge me. If I keep trying to please them, I will end up hurting myself.

I choose to prioritize myself first.

6. Self-doubt

The main reason I didn’t pursue my passion much earlier was that I doubted myself. I thought I was not talented, not determined, not technical and didn’t have enough money for my passion.

I never really came up with an action plan before I had that conclusion. Because my doubts were enough to shut off the door to success.

And I learned to let it go.

The future is full of possibilities and opportunities. Nothing is permanent. What I have that is being my disadvantages today might become my advantages tomorrow. I just never know before I try it out.

7. Negative self-talk

I used to set incredibly high expectation for myself. And I beat myself up miserably when I fail. 

Even if I didn’t want to, my inner-critic still drove me insane. My inner-critic made me believe that I was a pathetic, hopeless loser who would never make it.

I learned to shut it off. And replaced it with a friendly ally.

Today, every time I fail, I get back up and become stronger than ever. Every mistakes and failure are chances for me to learn and improve myself.

The path to success is hard. And life is giving me lessons to prepare for the bigger and better.

8. Anger

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned” ~ Buddha.

I’ve come to realize, when I am angry, the world seems to rise up against me. When I am angry, the food tastes bad, the water is bitter and people around me are defensive.

When I feel angry, I now take some deep breath and think before I hurt someone else.

9. Worry

I worried about the weather. I worried about my huge workload. I worried about forgetting my line at the staff meeting, about my boss being unhappy with my work, about my co-workers being unsupportive.


Most of the things I worried about didn’t even exist. But I sweat myself from time to time thinking about them.

Guess what?

Worrying doesn’t do any good. It does not only affect our performance but also causes stress and anxiety.

10. Excuses

I want to lie and say otherwise, but I didn’t take 100% responsibility for my life. Because I still make excuses, I still play the victim, I still play the blaming game.

I blamed other people and life for things happened. I blamed my past, my job, my passion for making me feel bad. I made excuses to cover up my butt, to explain why I didn’t make a move, and why it wasn’t my fault.

I am working my best to give it up. No more excuses. Everything that happens to me is my creation.

Your happiness is on your hand. Your job is to let go all the things that have been pulling it away.

Today is a special occasion for me and my husband. He took me to work and picked me up empty-handed. There is no rose in the house. But I’m totally okay.

In fact, I am more than okay.

Because my husband didn’t buy me any roses. But he woke up early to make me breakfast. He did my laundry. And he cleaned the house nice and tidy for me.

But even if he didn’t, I am still happy. Because I have one wonderful day to be with the man I love.

No matter what happens, I know I have the choice to choose how I feel.

I choose “happy”.

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Mai Pham

Mai Pham is the founder of Live a Worthy Life. She believes we can recreate our lives. Her mission is to help you to ditch your stress, anxiety, and worries to enjoy life again.