How to Let Go of Baggage Forever

Note: This is a guest post from Lisa H of Getting to Zen

Sometimes I feel like I am wearing a heavy backpack, but it is not a backpack on my back, it is a backpack wrapped tightly around my mind. My knees buckling under the weight as I trod down the trail of life. Along the way, I continue to pick up feelings, beliefs, thoughts, experiences and memories that I have come to on my own and that others have helped to form; each new addition making my load heavier.

I don’t want to live like that anymore. I am ready to stop, take the backpack off and lighten my load. And so, I decide to let go of things that are no longer driving me towards happiness.

“Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to.” – Anonymous

What Are You Packing?

How about your backpack? Is it heavy? Is it time for you to search inside to see what you can let go of? Will you let go of worry? Will you let go of guilt? Will you let go of thinking obsessively? Will you let go of codependency? Will you let go of addiction? What will you throw away to make your load lighter?

Many people are afraid to throw away the negativity they have collected over the years. They have carried them for so long that they have become a part of them. It is who they are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the most magnificent things about your life is that you have the power to change it at any moment. It is ok to be afraid. It is ok to be unsure. Feel the fear and change your life anyway. Look towards the light of life and ask yourself what will happen if you get rid of that which causes you pain.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Unlock the Door

Living from your past locks you in mental prison that doesn’t fully allow you to express yourself. Life is viewed through the bars of what was rather than through the freedom of what is and what can be. But you don’t have to stay locked up. The prison door opens from the inside. It just takes a little courage to turn the key and let yourself out.

There Are No Guarantees

It is human nature to want to know what the results of our efforts will be before we put the energy into them. Like it is comforting to know that our money will yield a positive return before we invest it. Changing our lives is no different. We want to know that if we choose to unlock the prison door of our life and walk into the light that our life will be exactly as we imagined it. But in life there are no guarantees.

You cannot know at anytime in your life what is going to happen next. Sports stars have high hopes of going far in their careers only to have their dreams cut short in a matter of seconds. And many a person started an ordinary day not knowing that it would be their last. I am willing to bet that each one of you could not have predicted your current circumstances; your job, relationship, home location, etc…, I know that I couldn’t.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”Herman Hesse

Let Go

Stop seeing the “wrong” in every situation. Instead, focus on getting your mind right. You cannot control the world, however you can control the world inside of you. Let’s say that you hear a dog barking, a baby crying or some other sound that annoys you, don’t complain about it. The dog is just being a dog and the baby is just being a baby. Instead, get rid of your complaining. Literally, flip the switch on your attitude and let go of the negativity. When you are complaining about life, you are not enjoying it. You are allowing the commentary in your mind to beat you down.

If you have a hard time letting go of that which ails you, it may help to complement it with a physical exercise. Depending on what mood I am in, I may choose one of the following exercises to help me lighten my load. Letting go does not have to be this long arduous process. It can be done in an instant. Write down what you want to let go of and:

  • Put it inside a biodegradable balloon and let it float away
  • Flush it (I don’t think this one needs explaining)
  • Put the paper through the shredder, toss it in the garbage or burn it

Repeat this as many times as you need to. Maybe your load will become so light that it won’t even need a backpack anymore.

Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen – a personal development blog dedicated to those in pursuit of authentic happiness through purposeful living. Be sure to sign up for her RSS feed and download her new free eBook Getting to Success.

Photo by Biscarotte


  1. This is one article packed with some solid advice! This has been especially true for me over the last year or so. It can be incredibly difficult to not worry about the future and holding high hopes for our efforts. But learning to take everything as it’s supposed to be and just work your hardest is a valuable lesson to learn, and often times, you evolve past one dream/goal into a greater dream/goal that you never would have thought about had it not been for your previous efforts. Great post.

    • Hi Sean,
      Thank you. Letting go is a big part of what I have been working on. More specifically, letting go of the fact that I cannot make someone else want peace and harmony. Some people want chaos, adversity and struggle and that is their right. My job is to respect their right and to focus on myself.

      It is difficult to not worry about the future; especially when you think misery may be around the corner. To combat this, be greateful for all that you have right now in every moment. 🙂

      Here’s to unpacking our bags.

  2. I definitely agree about people wanting to know what they will get out of something in return for the effort they put in. I think many people are unwilling to spend time/energy on something unless they thing a return is guaranteed

  3. Hi Alex,
    Very true. It can be very difficult to push forward with a task without knowing whether the results will be successful or not. Many people play it safe and don’t push forward at all. This prevents them from achieving their highest potential in everything–business, life, happiness… To get what we want, we must risk not getting it. 🙂

    • Thanks so much i must take the risk to let go the baggage was draining me .emotions spirit, finiances, and waited down because i was in love.and they did love me but their problems became mind so i had to wald away and take the risk that then will arise again and become a better person and not the person they have become.Thank for your answere.

  4. A great point of reflection Lisa! We so often get caught up with bad habits in our thinking that those thoughts or habits start feeling normal which is entirely not true. It’s just that we got too used to our baggage. Whether it be a bad romance, relationship, unhealthy friendship, negativity, we tend to forget that we could run without carrying that heavy backpack on our shoulders.

    • Hi Mark,
      Thank you. That is so true. If we perform bad habits for long enough, they can become our normal. We get used to weight of feeling bad, forgetting we can just as easily feeling good.

  5. I don’t know how to say this but I’ll try. The baggage thing, this is exactly what I feel oftentimes.

  6. *Let Go* will be one precious words I will pack into my mind from this article 😉

    Thank you for asking me to *let go* lisa ^_^

    • Letting go is about choosing freedom over bondage. We are taught very early on that our power is in how much we can acquire, but it really is in how much we can let go of. 🙂

  7. …baggage is like sitting on the rail road track and looking at the on coming train and expecting a different result.

    I know from personal experience that baggage that people carry (including myself) gets placed on other people. Its a shame that someone else has to pay for our leftovers.

    Yet again, another inspiring and amazing article. Thanks!

    • Hi Matthew. LOL. I love that analogy. Very true, what we experience on the inside, unfortunately comes out in our relating to others. If we want to be good to our family, friends, coworkers and others around us, we must be good to ourselves. Let go of the baggage and lighten up.

  8. I have had a really bad time lately, and reading this made me reflect about everything that happened. I left my husband after a mentally abusive relationship and I have been tormented with the letters, emails, calls. I want to let go of all that pain and enjoy everyday, because my life nearly ended, and if someone didn’t tell me at that precise moment, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now. So thanks for putting this on.

    • Sofia,
      Sorry to hear that. I am glad the article was able to help you. The most important relationship we will ever have will be the one we have with ourselves. Even in the midst of family, we have to save ourselves. With time and hard work, you will be able to let go. Here is a talk by one of my favorite monks that might help to light the path for you: Thank you so much for leaving this comment. What you did was courage. And remember, at any time, you can change your life for the better. 🙂

  9. hi there lisa.

    my first time here 😀

    i thought “letting go” is same as “giving up”. honestly! when i started digging on it, my next problems were “how” and “what” to let go of.

    i keep reading and hearing “let go. let go” but i didnt even know what to let go of and how to do it, i didnt even know how I acquired the things that I should let go off.

    anyways, to sum it up, your article [especially the intro which i truly love 😀 ] made me understand. you answered the questions that im been dying to find an answer.

    after reading this article last night, i started “letting go” of my baggage which is so heavy [just noticed it last night aaww]. im reading it again now and hopefully would be able to let more things go tonight.

    very helpful article indeed!
    thanks so very much 😀

Comments are closed.