Mindfulness: Letting Go of the Past
When discussing the concept of letting go as it relates to mindfulness, experts often discuss the meditative need to relinquish control over things we are clinging to that ultimately cause pain, trauma, anxiety, and grief. Perhaps there has been a negative experience that has scarred an individual from moving forward in their pursuits, be it a bad relationship or an abusive boss. Given we cannot simply make poor choices at work and live without consequence, the concept of letting go in the work-life is more channeled by letting the experience be what it is now. While we are living in the present, we must be mindful of the past (albeit know that it is not destined to repeat).
Letting go is the sixth post in our mindfulness series, and it was scheduled that way because the other elements we have written about to this point (non-judgmental thought; curiosity; patience; trust; and acceptance) build upon one another to give individuals the power to let go. When we cling to the negativity we hinder ourselves from becoming the best we can be, whether as a member of a team or as an individual looking to advance. By allowing our past experiences to help shape us, but not define us we are best able to focus on the present and keep future tasks at the forefront of our minds.
From a leadership perspective, it is extremely important to preach and practice an organizational philosophy of living in the present. While the old ways of doing things may have led to organizational success, a key tenet of mindfulness is presently living and forward-thinking through letting go of either the security of past success or the anchor of past traumatic experiences. For example, leaders often get stuck in an “old way” of thinking that binds them to the way they were taught. When leaders are not open-minded to new ways of thinking or opinions from fresh faces, they are not living in the present.
Letting go applies to employees as well. All too often employees get bogged down by their past and feel as though their situation may not change. They presume because a former boss or co-worker was abusive to them they have no reason to speak up about misconduct in the future because nothing will change. It is up to the organization to ensure that employees are prepared to let go of past acts and be vocal about their concerns in the future, as letting go is a key element of a speak up and listen up culture.
In order to let go, the organization must implement a culture from the top down where individuals are encouraged to detach themselves from expectations about the way the world ought to be and to view things as they are, for better or worse. This is a skill that can be taken well outside the workplace and into non-work life in order to maintain better balance and reduce stress. By living in the present and viewing things unbound to past failures or negative experiences, the organizational culture can move forward in a healthier way, and the lives of its members can be enriched knowing that living fully in the moment requires far less anxiety than holding onto the past or being overly concerned about the future.
Syntrio has developed products focused on awareness and mindfulness. These materials are designed to improve your organizational culture and enhance the mental health of your employees. We encourage you to contact a member of our staff today to see how our diverse set of awareness products can better your employees in both their work and personal lives.