Can You Let Go?

Are you able to let go of toxic, negative attitudes, events, or situations? Many people refuse to let go—no matter what.

Here’s an example. There was a time when a CRG associate complained to a team member about an incident that had occurred between this associate and CRG—13 years prior! It was the first we had heard of the incident, and not one person who currently worked at CRG was with the company at the time of the occurrence.

Regardless, we wanted to address the issue, and so exchanged numerous emails and had many conversations back-and-forth, attempting to resolve matters. However, the associate would not let go of her toxic thought and stated that she never wanted to talk to CRG again! It was obvious that her negative attitude was dysfunctional and destructive.  She refused to acknowledge that it was stemming from her inability to let go of an incident that had occurred 13 years beforehand—while it was clearly affecting her health, wellness, and emotional stability.

Medical research has proven that negative thoughts produce damaging chemicals that can harm the physical body. Negative thoughts can contribute to the following conditions:

  • Compromised immune system
  • Hypertension
  • Stress
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insomnia
  • Obesity
  • Decreased cognitive functions
  • Irritability

And that’s only the beginning!

So why would people want to hold on to this negative stuff? It could be that it’s the only way they know how to deal with it.

Negativity is an activity that gets others’ attention. We can see this behavior in poorly parented children, as young as age two. If acting up is the only way they can get attention, then that’s exactly what they will do. Adults act up, too!

For some individuals, drama and being negative is their “badge of honor”—their claim to fame, if you will. If you have contacts or friends like this, please limit your time with them; they are hostile and negatively affect everyone else around them.

Think about it. Do you know people with a chip on their shoulder? Do you like to be around them? Probably not, because they are toxic.

Some people have become so accustomed to being miserable and negative that they don’t understand any other way. In fact, their entire identity is defined by their high-maintenance, drama-driven, dysfunctional personality. These people are on the road to personal destruction. Get off their path as quickly as possible to avoid their caustic energy!

Personal relationships are especially corrosive when individuals won’t let go of past hurts, but instead continue to play reruns of previous offenses.

Unless we are willing and able to let go of our stuff, it will control our thoughts, direction, and outcomes. In all 12-step programs, the first step is letting go. The only one who suffers from not letting go is the person who continues to hang on.

Most of us have stuff we need to let go of. What stuff do you need to banish from your mind? It doesn’t matter how offensive it was; it is important to let it go. Why? Because it is damaging your body, mind, soul, and relationships!

In the end, who cares what others have said or done to you? Unless you allow the past to affect you, it cannot. The greatest leaders are individuals who can let go and then move on. That doesn’t mean we accept or condone these offenses or previous hurts and wrongs—it’s just that we refuse to allow the detrimental effects from our past to continue into our future.

It’s time to let go of toxic and negative attitudes for good! Move on. Don’t let situations or people hook you or drag you down.

I encourage you to consider the following Action Steps to help you let go of past hurts, while you begin to live your life On Purpose.

Action Steps:

  1. List any past incidents in your life that you are still hanging on to and have not let go.
  2. Determine what effects clinging to negative attitudes is having on you regarding your overall wellness and quality of life.
  3. Remember that negative attitudes or thoughts can produce harmful toxins in the body, which can ultimately manifest in physical and mental health issues and conditions.
  4. Think of a caustic/toxic person in your life—someone who will not let go of the past; then consider the effect this individual has on you and others. Is he or she really the type of person you want in your life as a role model, or even as a friend or acquaintance?
  5. Take immediate action. Begin the process of letting go of the unnecessary stuff you are still carrying around. Follow the necessary steps in order to achieve freedom from these burdens.

What would it mean if, every day, you were positive and engaged? Letting go of the past and shifting your attitude toward the now and the future will give you the freedom and ability to fully enjoy your life. Don’t wait—do it now!

Ken Keis, Ph.D.

CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc.


About the Author

Ken Keis, Ph.D., President of CRG, is a global authority on developmental assessments and on how assessment strategies increase and multiply success rates. In 28 years, he has conducted over 3000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. His latest book, The Quest For Purpose: A Self-Discovery Process To Find It And Live It!, is available at

He is also the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of Deliberate Leadership: Creating Success Through Personal Style. He co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, and has written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and over 500 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations realize their full potential and live On Purpose!

Posted in Personal Excellence.