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Embracing The "Let Them" Theory: A Path to Healthy Boundaries and Radical Acceptance

Updated: Apr 4

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Recently I was listening to a podcast by renowned motivational speaker Mel Robbins who spoke about a fascinating concept she calls the "Let Them" theory. This theory revolves around the idea of allowing others to think, act, and speak in ways that we cannot control. At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive, but delving deeper it reveals its profound psychological implications.

The essence of the "Let Them" theory lies in fostering self-awareness regarding our automatic impulses to control outcomes.

Often, when faced with uncertainty or vulnerability, we experience discomfort, manifesting as anxiety within our bodies. In a bid to alleviate this discomfort, we may resort to over-compensating by exerting control over situations or outcomes. While this response is natural and occasionally beneficial, it can also veer into unhealthy territory.

Healthy behaviours, on the other hand, enable us to meet our needs, establish appropriate boundaries, and remain true to our authentic selves. It's crucial to recognise that what is helpful isn't always synonymous with what is healthy. Sometimes, our attempts to over control come from a subconscious desire to please others, leading to us neglecting our own needs and feeling resentful.

What does this look like practically? Sometimes, I may worry that I said something wrong, or perhaps in a social situation, I felt awkward, or I am overthinking something I said. There is a part of me that might think, "Oh no, what if that person thinks I am weird? What if they didn’t understand or misunderstood me?" And maybe I might think of 100 ways to control or compensate for my awkward, anxious, uncomfortable feelings… Or I could just let it be what it is. I can let those people think what they want about me. It’s not for me to control. Let them!

The "Let Them" theory serves as a gateway to letting go of uncontrollable aspects of life. It embodies the concept of radical acceptance, wherein we embrace situations that historically may have prompted us to intervene or solve problems for others. Rather than automatically jumping in to fix things, the "Let Them" approach encourages us to detach ourselves and allow individuals to experience their emotions and face the consequences of their actions autonomously.

I experienced another great example of this when my son forgot his calculator this morning. I reminded him last night to take it, and I even placed it on the bench next to his lunch this morning. However, after he left for the bus, I noticed it was still sitting there untouched. Part of me immediately wanted to swoop in and solve the problem for him, perhaps even going out of my way to drop it off at school. It's what a "good mother" might do, right?

But then there's another part of me, a healthier and more balanced part, that recognises it's okay for him to forget his calculator. It's a natural part of his development and learning process. If I step back and allow him to experience the consequences of forgetting it, he's more likely to learn from this experience.

Letting him learn his lessons and facing the outcomes of his actions is essential for his growth. So, I'm choosing to embrace the "Let Them" philosophy. It's a reminder to let go of the impulse to control every situation and instead allow him the space to navigate his own challenges and learn from his mistakes. Let them!

By relinquishing the urge to control, we not only free ourselves from unnecessary stress but also empower others to navigate their own paths. It's a liberating shift from a mindset of constant intervention to one of trust and respect for others' autonomy. It also fosters healthier relationships by establishing clear boundaries and promoting authenticity both within ourselves and in our interactions with others.

In essence, embracing the "Let Them" theory is a journey toward personal growth and emotional well-being. It requires courage to relinquish control and embrace uncertainty, but the rewards are invaluable.

As we learn to let go of what we cannot control, we pave the way for greater self-awareness, healthier relationships, and a deeper sense of inner peace.

So, the next time you find yourself tempted to intervene, remember the power of letting them be—and watch as a newfound sense of freedom and acceptance unfolds.

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