Gain Peace and Better Relationships with Mel Robbins’ 'Let Them' Theory

Between work, family, friends, school, hobbies, and a myriad of obligations in our lives, it’s easy for some people to feel like they are losing control. And, then, they try to take retake control in order to manage relationships and produce the outcomes they desire. However, this rarely works out. The more we try to control things that we simply don’t have the ability to, the worse we feel and the more time and energy we lose.

In her podcast, Mel Robbins provides a solution to those who try to take control instead of letting go. It’s called the “Let Them Theory,” and she discusses it in Episode 70. The idea is this: your spouse wants to stay home instead of attend a group date night with you — let them; your child forgets to separate the lights from the darks and ruins their new white T-shirt while doing laundry — let them; your friends plan a weekend getaway and don’t invite you — let them. Although we often try to take over and manage situations that we want to go a certain way, the only things we can control are ourselves and our feelings. What other people choose to do is not our business. We need to let them do what they’re going to do if we want to find peace and happiness.

By shifting your mindset and using the Let Them Theory, you will be able to focus on the choices you make and how they affect your life. Then you can worry less about what other people do and spend less time trying to control things out of your hands. 

Three Ways to 'Let Them'

Mel Robbins outlined three ways you can use the Let Them Theory to help you surrender, adjust, and create clarity in your life. There are also questions to help identify moments where you should “Let Them” at the end of this post.

  1. Let go of the things that cause you to struggle when you get controlling.

Think about a time when you tipped into control mode. Let’s say you were going on a date night with your partner and other friends. The friends who were in charge of organizing forgot to make reservations. Instead of letting them figure it out, you immediately jump into action. You ask about people’s diets, worry about last minute space for your large party, and stress about people not showing up on time. You attempt to take control of a situation that wasn’t your responsibility to begin with. Why take on the worry when you don’t have to?

Instead, you could choose to let the people who failed to make a reservation figure it out. If they don’t come up with something good, that’s okay, too. Who knows, you may end up having the best night of your lives if you just let them work it out. Also, it’s a date night, not the end of the world. Give yourself permission to detach yourself from these things. Take a deep breath, let go, and let them. 

  1. Let go of the reins and give others the ability to do things.

Hypothetically, we're going to pretend you have kids who decide to try out for a sports team. Instead of practicing and training for try outs, they decide to wing it. You want them to do their best and prepare and show up as the little star athletes you know they are. So, you tip into control mode and have them out running sprints every evening after school. Do you think this is worth the stress to your relationship with your kids? Instead, you could let them do it their way and let the consequences show them how valid their actions were. 

It’s important to let people fail so they can take responsibility, learn, and grow. Even when it’s our children. If we keep rescuing people, they won’t learn how to create systems and processes to succeed on their own. If they fail, that stings. It’s in the sting that growth occurs. Every time we rescue someone, we rob them of the opportunity to grow. So, let them fail sometimes. If you want them to tap into their strength, you can always support them, but don’t take control and do it for them. That’s only more work, chaos, and struggle for everyone involved.

  1. Let others be themselves so you can determine whether you like the actual person or just their potential.

People often make mistakes of being in a relationship with someone not because of who they are, but because of who we believe they have the potential to be. When this happens, it isn’t fair for either party. For the person who is being controlled, they aren’t allowed to be themselves, they’re held to standards that aren’t fair, picked apart, and aren’t seen and loved in the right way. For the person trying to control and create someone out of someone else, they aren’t in the right relationship in the first place. They are waiting for that person to become who they want them to be. They’re constantly hoping for improvement and aren’t able to be present because they’re focused on all the things they would change.

If we let people be themselves instead of controlling how they act or not actually paying attention to who they are, we will gain clarity on what relationships we really want. If we give someone permission to be themselves, we see who they really are, and then we can choose whether we want to actually be with them. We need to deal with the reality of who someone is, and then make a great choice about who we are and what we need.

We can waste an unlimited amount of energy when we try to control things. And in the end, worrying, trying to control, and stressing about situations never really changes much at all. The Let Them Theory creates more love, ease, space, and clarity within our lives. When we focus on changing our perceptions, our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions—that’s when things do change.

There are three caveats to the Let Them Theory you should keep in mind: 1) If someone is doing something dangerous or is discriminating against you; 2) When you need to ask for something or need to advocate for your rights; or 3) If someone is continuously crossing your boundaries you should not just let people get away with these things.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine If You Need to 'Let Them'

To use the Let Them Theory, here are three quick question you can ask yourself when you feel yourself wanting to take control and getting bent out of shape.

  1. What am I afraid of?

Most of the things that you’re worried about aren’t that important. Like, whether your roommate wants to come to the gym with you or not. However, there are moments when that answer is big and valid. Like if your friend is an addict and you’re worried they are going down a dangerous path and might hurt themselves. But, ask yourself, is that true or just a fear? If it’s just something you’re afraid of and not based in reality, let it go.

  1. Whose business am I in?

If the answer is that you’re getting involved in anyone’ s business other than your own, drop it. And if it still bothers you so much, what are you going to do about it? Are there things you can actively do to help change your situation for next time or help improve your life? If not, you need to let go.

  1. What feels more like peace?

Which will bring you more peace: getting something under control or letting go? Chances are “Let Them” feels more like peace almost every time.

Have you used the Let Them Theory in your life? How did it help you move forward? Let us know on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more insightful research and articles.

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