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How to Let Go of What Life Was "Supposed" to Be

If you’re grasping to your old life and it’s holding you back from creating a life you love after divorce, this episode is for you.  

In today's episode I am sharing the three shifts that you can make to let go of the picture of how life was supposed to be so you can focus on your new life after divorce. 

If you’re grasping to your old life and it’s holding you back from creating a life you love, this episode is for you.



  • The reason why our mind resists letting go of how life was supposed to turn out.  Once you understand the role of the mind, it’s easier to change it.  
  • The one choice that you can make to help you more easily let that picture go and instead focus on creating your new life after divorce.
  • What letting go of that picture really means and how to make a choice that works for you, not against you in rebuilding your life after divorce.  

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Your Listening to the Return to You Podcast, episode #10  


Have you ever thought to yourself, but this isn’t the way my life was suppose to turn out?


Of all the questions that I get asked from my clients this one is probably the most common… How do I let go of how my life was supposed to be.  And the life that I had planned.


As you already know, you can’t create a new life if you are holding too tightly to your old life.  Your deplete your energy and focus by those thoughts of what should have been.  And as you may have already realized, visions of your past will keep you stuck there. Because as you know, your thoughts create your world.


Imagine driving a car with two steering wheels. You have a firm grip with both hands on the steering wheel driving in the direction of the past.  You have this other wheel not attended to, trying to take you in the direction of the future.  So you let go of one hand on the past wheel and grab the future.  Ok, stay with me here. Picture yourself with one hand driving in the direction of the past, and the other on the wheel driving toward the future.  What happens?  They cancel each other out.  And you end up in the middle going nowhere. 


Eventually most divorced women realize, the struggle to let go of the life they planned,  isn’t because they are weak. They recognize it’s the way the mind works for all of us.


Your mind holds on to what it knows. That is it’s job.  It has to keep you safe in the known.


You can try to talk yourself into letting that picture go but why would you.  It simply doesn’t work.   Your subconscious mind, as I’ve talked about many times on this podcast, is running 95% of the show.  


I remember this feeling very well when I started my own personal journey …  I wanted to let go of the picture, the dream I had for my old life.  I wanted to let go of my stories, the pain, and all that I had been through up until that point. I wanted to let it all go. I should say my conscious mind, the logical part of me wanted to let it go.  The part of me knew life was precious and fleeting, and I deserved to enjoy it much more than I ever had. I wanted it to hit midnight and I would turn in to Cinderella.   So I would no longer be the old version of myself and my Fairytale life could begin. And because transforming into Cinderella would erase my old life dreams, I could let go and be excited about the future.


But unfortunately that’s not how Letting Go works. 

As you know now, your brain has been built to hold on to what it knows to keep you safe.  Your programming since the day you were born has told you what life is supposed to look like.  Your programming tells you what it looks like as a wife and a family member.   You, like all of us, have also been conditioned to believe things about being single, on our own, and cheated on.


Isn’t it easy to see how those thoughts running in the background make you hold on to the picture of your life.  The new life being on your own, contradicts your programming.    


If you are like so many of my clients, you think there’s something wrong with you because you struggle to let go of what your life was suppose me.  There is not.  You are simply programmed to hold on. But this is good news! As your already know, we can change our programming.  


So if you’re grasping your old life and it’s holding you back from creating your new life, stay tuned. I am diving into the three shifts that you can make to practice The Art of Letting Go.


ok, the very first shifts to make is to shift the responsibility of letting go.  To know that it is a choice. 


As I talked about in the last episode, what keeps us safe Keeps Us stuck.  And we always get something from holding on to what we know.

Isn’t it easy to see then that our resistance to let it go of what our life was supposed, is driven by our beliefs.  And we can choose to argue for whatever belief serves us.  

Here is a story to illustrate what I mean by our resistance to let go is a choice …


A master took his two students into a forest. There he took a hollow coconut with a small hole and inserted sweet rice. Then he tied it to a tree and waited. Soon, a monkey came along, sniffed the rice, inserted his paw in the coconut, and screeched in frustration when he was unable to withdraw his paw.  He couldn’t get his paw out because he was clenching his fist around the rice.

The students that it was obvious that he just needed to let go of the rice and his hand would easily slip out.  They shouted to him “Let go of the rice, silly! Run!”.  

“What was the trap that caught the monkey?” asked the master.

One student said the “Rice,” trapped the money.  The other student said the coconut did. 

“No,” said the wise master, “The trap was greed created by his mind. He only had to let go of his attachment, to be free. Likewise, we are the ones who trap ourselves. We are always responsible. The real trap is always within, not out there. The causes of suffering are in us. External situations are only conditions.”


As you can see from that metaphor, things outside of you are never the reason why you can’t let go. Letting go, which is simply acceptance is always a power you hold within. And it comes down to a choice.


And you may be thinking, I don’t choose to feel this way about letting go of the past. We don’t choose how we feel but you can choose the thoughts that create those feelings.  You also get to choose how you perceive this message. Is it empowering to know that you can decide to let go of the old picture of how life was suppose to be? Or is it creating thoughts of blame.  Are you blaming yourself for the choice to hold on. 


You can decide to stay grasping to the old and not creating the new, can you not?  Just like the monkey grasping to the rice.  He thought he was getting more from holding on to it.  Even though holding on ketp him trapped. 


So if you decide that it is empowering to know that you can choose to let go, the next two shifts will help you do just that.


So maybe you have already realized, it incredibly empowering to know that it is actually up to you. Just like the story, it is not the external conditions that are making you hold on.  It is your choice to continue doing so. I understand that it may feel impossible because of the programming that’s driving the holding on.  So I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m simply say it has to begin with your choice to let go of the old picture.  Maybe that’s not how your life was suppose to be at all.  


Working with a client the other day and she said, I’m angry that my life didn’t turn out like it was suppose to.  And I said, how do you know how it was suppose to turn out.  She said because I believe it was suppose to be that way.  And I said, you believe it because you keep repeating it. And your mind believes what you keep telling it.  But can you really know that’s true.  Can you absolutely know how your life was suppose to turn out? And something in her shifted.  Ofcourse not she said. And that began her journey to letting go of the beliefs that made her resist letting go.  That triggered the choice in her. 



Release The Programming Making You Hold On


Okay  so the second shift to make is to release the programming that creates the choice to hold on. What do I mean by that?


As you already know, you received messages from parents, siblings, peers, and the media that told you what life is supposed to look like.   What it mean to be a woman in our culture. You’re heard, get married, have a family, have children, and get a job. Take family vacation, create family traditions, Go to restaurants as a couple. I can go on and on.  Now I’m not saying these messages are bad.  The subconscious doesn’t concern itself with good or bad. I’m just saying every belief inside of you that’s resisting letting go, has been reinforced since the day you were born. And that’s what’s causing the holding on to the picture of how life was supposed


Ah but isn’t it true, that knowing what’s causing you to hold on gives you the power to release it. So here is an incredible way to do this… If you’ve been listening to this podcast or you’ve worked with me in the past, you know the power of show your mind other possibilities.  Showing you mind a path to take is life changing.  It allows you to let go of beliefs that cause you to grasp to the picture of what was supposed to be.  Take a moment to consider the should’s that you repeat in your mind about how your life should look or should be.


These are all habits in your mind that contribute to holding on. It’s easy to see now, that holding on is a habit in your mind.   That picture of your life has been repeated thoughts of what should be.  So you simply break that habit to let go of the picture of what life was supposed to be.  

So you break that habit in your mind by showing your mind A New Path to take.   When you can, I invite you to write down every belief you have about how your life was supposed to be.



;Common beliefs I hear include … I should be married; my family should be together; I shouldn’t have to eat alone;  I shouldn’t be single; I should still have family dinners; I shouldn’t be starting over. How do you believe life should be? And it’s not.  We suffer when we argue against the reality of life.  So you put all those Should beliefs on paper.  And show your mind proof that it’s just as possible you’re supposed to have this new life. For examples, what if you are supposed to have this new reality because there’s something better waiting for you. Isn’t that just as possible.


For me that was true.  My greatest gift was my divorce because it allowed me to create the life that I have now.  What I know for sure is, I would have never created this life I love, had I kept holding on  to the picture of what life’s supposed to look like.  


And yes I’m single and it’s still a better life. I had to let go of every belief in my mind that said the old image of my life was better than my new life could ever be.


Isn’t it easy to see that if I was meant to have that old life, I would still be married. Clearly, reality showed me how life was supposed to turn out.  Reality is never wrong. 


Life either happens to you or for you. And you get to choose which story you argue for. You get to give your mind proof that this happened for you. And when you find all the proof that this happened for you, your mind will then allow you to see that in your life. And that will reinforce the letting go and embracing the new.  It’s so magical how your mind can filter your life in a way that serves you.



The final shift to make is the shift in the meaning of letting go.


We often don’t do what our logical brain says we want to do, because of the meaning we attach to doing that. You may be thinking what did she just say? Okay let’s go a little deeper. If you say you don’t want to hold on but you continue to hold on, holding on means something for you.  And it’s worth it.


Most divorced women I work with, subconsciously believe holding on to your old life is safer.  Isn’t it true that we all feel safer in what we know. 


When things outside of you change your brain sets out the alarm bells. And that includes even the vision of your life.  It’s trying to protect you from that unsafe territory of the unknown. No matter how much you want to let go,  the subconscious part of your mind running the show, has a different goal. Which is to keep you safe.


As you may have already realized, holding on to feel secure deprives us of the opportunity to grow. The urge to control or rewrite the past limits us from learning and moving forward in a powerful way. And holding on to a past that we can’t change, drains us of the energy and focus needed to move forward.

If you’re like most women that I work with,   you may have a test other meaning play Let It Go. So we feel that holding on is safer.   but it’s just as important to look at what it is you believe Letting Go means.   What I hear the most is Letting Go means I’ve resigned to my life as it is and but I’m okay with the divorce. And that if I let go it means I’m okay with everything that happened or everything that my spouse did to me.  

 And you may not have realized this yet, but Letting Go isn’t resignation it is freedom.


 What is Letting Go didn’t mean you’re okay with everything that happened. What if it didn’t mean you or okay with divorce.   What if it’s simply  memes you are tired two holding on to a picture I’ve been life that doesn’t exist? What if it’s simply means that you’re taking back your power to create your future. 


Isn’t it true that, Nothing has meaning accepted meaning you give it. And that’s why the exact same events can mean something different to two people..  So you don’t have to make it mean that you are okay and you are resigning to plan B


This is the thing. You don’t know if the life ahead of you is Plan B. Because it is only plan B if you say it is. This next chapter of your life may actually be plan a. Everything that has happened, may have happened to bring you exactly where you are supposed to be. 


I know for me the pain of my divorce created my greatest transformation. I know that everything painful that had happened led me to the moment of my greatest transformation.  


If you’re struggling to let go of the old picture, you may not be letting in what’s really meant for you.   You are only supposed to have that old life if you continue believing that. 


What about you welcome he possibility that your life is supposed to be exactly as it’s turning out now. What about your greatest love, or your life’s purpose is being blocked because you’re looking backwards?


I can’t fathom the love contentment and peace that I would have missed out on.   Holding on to the old picture will never make that life come back. But embracing a new picture and believing it is meant to be, will make that happen for you.


As I am sure you already know, you can create a future but you can’t change a past. So where you focus your energy will make a difference and what happens next for you.  Don’t let old programming, get in the way of what’s meant for you.  I know what;s possible for you, because i see it every day with the women I work with. 


I know it feels like letting go now, means you are okay with everything that’s happened. 


And that can be a major source of resistance.  So if that is coming up for you, release that resistance by poking holes in what it means let go.   Do you believe it means you are okday with divorce? And what happens?  Write down what else it could if you choose to let go of the old picture.


So let’s dive into this week’s reflection question to put that and the rest of this week’s episode into practice…


  1. Would I rather Hold on to a picture of what was supposed to be. Something I can’t change or would I rather be free?


Now your logical brain is going to say of course I would rather be free. That’s that conscious part of your brain. Then your subconscious brain will say you want to be free but here are all of the reasons why you should hold on. So if you’re if you truly deeply want to be free from that picture. It will require an openness to releasing those beliefs in the subconscious mind that create the need to hold on. Remember You release it by showing evidence against it


2. Secondly ask yourself what do I think it means to let go of the old picture of what was? Do I think it means I’m okay with what happened, that I’m okay with divorce?  and whatever you think it means ask yourself what else could it mean?  what empowering thing could it mean. Could it simply mean I’m done arguing with reality. Could it simply mean I know what I can and cannot change and I’m ready to change things I can.


3. And finally, as I let go of what life was supposed to be, what life is possible for me?

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