The Simple Secret to a Happier Life
Giving up long-cherished dreams doesn't mean you need to deny or disown
them. "Your dreams will always be part of you," says Charles. "But
getting too focused or obsessed with a goal or yearning can leave you feeling
cheated." Letting go, by contrast, means making a choice — you decide not
to give in to thoughts and actions that waste your time, not to dwell on what
you don't have.
And that can be the first step to a more blissed-out, less stressed-out
existence. Read on to learn how to let go of those unrealistic longings — ones
that you believe hold the keys to your happiness, but actually hold you back —
so you can love the life you have right now.
If you long to be closer to a family member...
For years, Nanci Schwartz hoped for a tighter bond with her brother. "He
never saw eye-to-eye with my dad, and is now somewhat estranged from the whole
family," she explains. Every time Schwartz tried to reach out and was
rebuffed, she was hurt. "The final straw came recently, when my husband and
I planned a birthday get-together for our parents," says the 41-year-old
from Fruitland Park, FL. "My brother never even bothered to respond to the
invitation, and once again I felt completely let down."
Perhaps you, too, have a family bond that's coming apart at the seams. Or
maybe you just have a sneaking sense that something is missing in your
relationship with your parents or siblings. "No matter what has gone on
before, we all have expectations about what our family relationships are
supposed to be like," says Lynn Robinson, author of Divine
Intuition. "Deep down, we believe that our family should always be
there for us through thick and thin." Plus, it's normal to want to draw
closer as we start to get older and realize how quickly time is passing, adds
Robinson — since the family members you bicker with today may not be there
How to Let Go
Slowly, Schwartz has begun to accept her distant relationship with her
brother. "I finally realize that it's not my fault we're not closer,"
she says. "It's his choice — and looking at it that way has lifted a huge
burden from me. Now I can stop spinning my wheels, trying to make the
impossible happen. I'm not thrilled with the situation, but it's not going to
consume me, either, because there's nothing I can do about it." The (very
liberating) bottom line here: You can't ever control someone else's behavior —
you can only control your own.