Updated November 2022

Some years ago, after an agonizing heartbreaking experience, I understood I was no longer living a life; I was simply enduring it, and if I was to totally let go and take life to the next level, I had to learn to live it again.

Why do we cling so tightly to the past? Why is it so difficult to let go of experiences that not only caused us pain in the past but continue to cause pain and suffering in the present? A prime reason is that experiences with strong emotions attached to them make an indelible impression on our consciousness.

But the cost of our inability to let go is too great to continue, and there comes a time in life when for different reasons, it’s absolutely necessary to let things go. If only because they become heavier and heavier to carry around.

We stop experiencing life as a beautiful, joyful experience.

So how do we loosen the grip that pain and suffering have on us and move forward in the healthiest, happiest way? Here are some of the ways that got me started and some extra I learned along the way.

18 ways to let go and take life to the next level.

  1. Don’t take mistakes personally; use them as a guide. Each new day brings an opportunity for something different to unfold; you don’t need to carry your mistakes with you. Remember, you are not your mistakes.
  2. Life will give you mighty rewards along with the problems it brings. How you deal with those problems determines the reward.
  3. As you connect with others, take the time to remind them of their brilliance, their strength, and their value to the world. Maybe they’ll take the time to do the same for someone else. And you’ll have enriched at least one life, if not more. And that feels ridiculously good.
  4. Be honest. Are your actions and habits in sync with the vision you have for your life? Don’t wait for years before acknowledging you need a change in habit. Being in sync with what you want is the only way to have it.
  5. Don’t let anyone or anything take away your peace. Some people are a tremendous drain on your energy, and some issues take a while to be resolved. Avoid those who drain you and manage the problematic events always in faith that both issues can be converted into a better reality. Take charge of your feelings.
  6. The sustained concentration of thought and action is usually the magical key to success. Maybe, just maybe, all you need to do to experience greater fulfillment and joy in life is to keep your thoughts more focused on what you want. Focusing on anything draws more of the same to you; make sure it’s the thing you want.
  7. You can’t change everything at once. Don’t waste your time and energy. Choose one thing at a time to give your attention to, and meanwhile, cherish the life you’re living. Occupying the state of gratitude will bring great rewards.
  8. Don’t try and climb the mountain before you reach it. Focus on where you are right now while you prepare yourself. No mountain is conquered without support. Be willing to ask for help when you need it.
  9. Resisting feelings that feel bad won’t make them go away. You won’t change bad feelings by waging war on them; simply allow them to flow through you and out to the other side. Then you have room to replace them with something that feels better, something that feels more like love than fear.
  10. If your relationships aren’t so hot right now, look for things you can love and appreciate in others. Love is an incredible force; it can dissolve difficulties, challenges, and negativity. And who couldn’t use more of that?
  11. Recognize why you want to do something. This gives you a clue as to how to do it. Knowing why brings greater clarity on how you’re going to get it done. And if you get stuck, go back to your original purpose. The why never leads you astray, but the how often does.
  12. Silence isn’t always golden. People need to know you care; speak up. People need to know when something doesn’t feel good to you, speak up. Don’t let silence turn into resentment or illness.
  13. You can’t hire someone to go to the gym for you and tone your muscles. You can’t get someone else to meditate on your behalf so you can become enlightened. Some things in life require your participation. Choose the things that really matter and do them.
  14. They say we always hurt the ones we love. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Never be too busy to give them the aspects of love that matter: appreciation, acceptance, and attention. Add kindness and consideration to love, and you have a recipe for happy, healthy relationships.
  15. Don’t make choices and then spend the rest of the time complaining. If the choice you made doesn’t work. Choose again.  Sometimes it’s a choice between two things, neither of which is perfect. The time you waste complaining today isn’t going to make tomorrow any better.
  16. Every now and then, make a decision that’s far beyond your current capacity to reach. You’ll often find it comes to pass without you ever understanding how.
  17. It’s no surprise that we don’t get what we want when the number of  ‘no I can’ts’ outnumbers our ‘yes, I can do it, a thousand to one. Repetition is a convincing argument. It’s time to remind yourself on a daily basis of what you can accomplish. You are always becoming the living result of your inner speech.
  18. Stop settling for life being a little bit better. You’ve been put on this planet to live your most extraordinary life and be your most fearless self. Live on purpose, not by default.

Final thoughts

As you move towards a desire to live more and endure less sometimes, it helps to find motives that transcend your pain and heartache, fear, or worry. No matter how broken you might be feeling, you still have much to share with others. Even if it’s something as simple as a smile or a shoulder to lean on.

I volunteered at a hospice for a long time. Whatever speaks to you needs to be your path. Your life still matters, and as you find ways to give and focus on the need of someone else, you’ll no doubt discover, as I did, that it’s an extraordinarily empowering way to feel that your life has reason and motivation to step forward into your new future. In other words, take your life to the next level.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. First off, the quote to start off this post made me think of the movie Gattica where Ethan Hawke’s character, a character who isn’t genetically superior, beats his brother in a swimming contest and ends up saving his brother’s life. When the brother asks how, he says that he didn’t save anything for the return journey. Give life your all.

    Number 12 really spoke to me. The one about silence not being golden. I got into a situation with a friend where I didn’t speak up and some stuff happened. He later apologized for what happened, but we both agreed that I should have spoken up instead of just going along with things. It isn’t being true to myself and it isn’t being a good friend to him. Don’t be silent and then hold resentments.

    The biggest thing for me in taking my life to a next level is taking responsibility for myself. No one lives your life except you. Complaining will get you no where.

    Thanks for the post Elle.

    • Elle

      What a great quote Sebastian. Give life your all. Love that. So sorry you had to experience not speaking up with your friend Sebastian. And it’s definitely a great lesson for us all…being true to self and others really does matter. Thanks, as always, for sharing your truth. 🙂

    • Sebastian, that’s a great analogy and message from Ethan. Thanks so much for sharing it, I must now watch the movie for myself. The title is Gattaca, not Gattica, right?I deeply agree with you about no 12 on silence too. Thanks.

    • “2. Life will give you mighty rewards along with the problems it brings. How you deal with those problems determines the reward”.

      Wow, what a loaded statement…most of the times I tend to rebuke the problems before they land on my plate. Yet as you have so aptly put it, ‘dealing with the problems’ is normally the key. There has never been a problem free life this side of heaven. Thanks so much for your wisdom and encouragement. All the best in your next level.

      • Elle

        Welcome Lawrence and thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts. We all help and support one another through our willingness to share our perspectives on life 🙂

        • You are absolutely right Elle. Your article was refreshing and pretty much on point. I love it when I can find people that we have ideas that resonate one with another. I will be stopping by frequently.


  2. HI Elle, a very motivating article. the different ways you mentioned to start taking our lives to the next level are really very helpful indeed. I really loved the first one when you said “Each new day brings an opportunity for something different to unfold”. I’ll always keep these words in mind. Thanks for sharing.

    • Elle

      Hi Sherill, so glad you enjoyed the article. I like writing them ‘cos they act as a reminder for me to practice what I preach! 🙂

  3. Live in purpose, not by default… I love that, Elle! It is so true! I was raised to believe that your life is what you make it and mine is exactly what I intend it to be! Thanks, Elle, you always continue to inspire!

    • Elle

      What an amazing way to be raised Cher. You are well and truly blessed to have learned from a young age that life is what you make it.:-)

  4. Enjoyed this post, Elle on the ways we can improve our lives. So many pearls of wisdom.

    Considering and consciously doing these things might make us live a more intentional and blissful life, instead of our auto-pilot ones

    We absolutely cannot change everything at once or even one thing at all but to try to focus on one thing at a time is probably the best way to achieve success. And knowing why we want to do something not only will give us ideas in the first place but remind us if we want to do it at all or not. it will get to the ‘why’ behind the what we do. And if we lived more of our lives that way, we can sure cut out a lot of grief and wasted time:)

    I was hoping you’d say we could have someone meditate or go the gym for us. haha

    • Elle

      Sorry Vishnu…I’d really like someone to go to the gym for me and then I could just admire my muscular tone in the mirror! Oh well. I totally agree that if we lived more of our lives from the ‘why’ of it, we’d be on a path to more ease and grace. But I think we’re getting better and better at it, as we practice. What say you? 🙂

  5. Letting go is the hardest thing. I find that after a crisis, we tend to blame ourselves for a lot of things we had no control over in the first place, so as a first step towards healing, we must forgive ourselves, come to terms with the situation(s) and try to move on. Also, trying to focus on the good things rather than wallow in the bad, sad stuff makes a big difference.

    Loved the post, Elle. So full of wisdom. Hugs!

    • Elle

      Hi Vidya, wise words dear friend, wise words. I’m grateful to have you in my life. 🙂

  6. “Resisting feelings that feel bad won’t make them go away.” That’s so true, but it’s something I learned to do over the years. I learned to stop feeling because the hurt, the emotional pain was unbearable, but ignoring my feelings has removed not only the bad ones, but also the good ones. I feel like nothing can make me feel bad and nothing can make me feel happy.

    • Elle

      I notice your last post is called Diving in…and I applaud you Nikky. Managing the feelings we have can be one of the biggest challenges for many of us. And stepping out of our comfort zone can be terrifying. I’m sorry for the difficulties you’ve encountered along the way but I’m so glad you’re still here, still writing, still supporting others who can benefit from what you share. I encourage you to keep heading in the direction of your dreams and may they all come true in the happiest of ways. Blessings to you. 🙂

  7. letting go has been a theme for me lately. thank you for this post. it resonated! one thing i struggle with is timelines/the future. on one hand, i feel i should let this go, but on the other hand, i feel i need it to guide my life on intentional/conscious living… deliberately choosing the kind of life/future i want and taking the inspired action. so for me it’s about how to balance the letting go of timelines, to make room for life to unfold, but to also be aware of what you want and where you want to go. it’s a tough one for me to grasp. this quote also relates: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

  8. Don’t climb the mountain before you reach it! I love this one. It’s something I seem to always be doing, projecting a problem and resolution before I have a problem to resolve.

    • Elle

      So funny Linda how easy it is for lots of us to try and climb that mountain before we get there. What’s that old saying, never trouble trouble, till trouble troubles you. It might just apply here! 🙂

  9. Elle, You’ve certainly nailed the kinds of questions we ask ourselves about clinging to the past. Sometimes, it seems impossible to let go. Thanks for these 18 steps that will help us move forward. There are so many goods! One that especially stood out for me is to keep loving even if you’re no longer in a relationship. There are oodles of people to love, we don’t have to be restricted to one person.

  10. Barry Fry

    Dear Elle –
    Great post !
    My main takeaway was – it all comes back to me . . . not circumstances nor other people nor the season of the year . . . I’m the one constant.
    And I gleaned that from all 18 of your salient observations.
    As I turn to refining myself, I want to type “Thank You Elle” !

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