Tuesday, 07 December 2021
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

Letting Go - The Secret To Happiness

Written by  Gillie Sutherland Feb 07, 2021

This weekend I am celebrating my one year anniversary of arriving in Molunat, and embarking on my new life here.

I can’t quite believe it’s been a year, and I’m quite emotional when I look back at how much has changed in that twelve months, and how different it was to what I was expecting.

Of course, I wasn’t expecting a global pandemic to hit a month after I arrived, so everything I had planned for my year in terms of my work had to be abolished, and I had to make the shift into the world of online teaching, which is now going really well and what’s more, I’m loving it.

To be able to be connected to so many people at once, starting the day with some movement, mindfulness and motivation, and feeling like I’m really making a difference to people’s lives at the moment, is a great joy for me.

My life is less hectic, I’ve slowed right down, and started to embrace the Croatian culture, both the positives and the more challenging aspects. It all forms part of the rich and colourful tapestry that is life, and there’s always a life lesson and “opportunity for growth” in there.

Just this week I learned a Croatian phrase , which has helped me cope with the relentless paperwork and processes involved in importing my British car.
FTJJP - fali ti jos jedan papier
Which translates as “you just need one more form”.

It makes me laugh every time I hear it (which is a more useful response than getting frustrated), and even the customs agent I’m dealing with laughs with me. For he understands only two well the Croatian love of bureaucracy. His office is one big mountain of paperwork, even looking at it gives me a headache, and I’m just so thankful that isn’t my job.

When I speak to people back in the UK and I tell them I’m going to Dubrovnik again for the tenth time in a month for car admin, they can’t understand it.

“Will you get it all sorted this time?”, they enquire.

I just and say “who knows???”, for I know that either they will be one more form needed, or the laws have changed and there’s now another hurdle to overcome. Or that the person I need to deal with finishes work at 1pm and is now “out to lunch”, due back at 11.30am but they haven’t got back yet and it’s now gone midday.

When they finally show up, the last person they want to see is some Brit trying to achieve the near-impossible feat of importing her car in the wake of Brexit, and it’s going to take longer than an hour so I’ll have to “come back tomorrow morning”.

What has surprised me, and those who know me well, is just how chilled out I’ve been about it all. I just set off for the next step in the process with absolutely no expectation of what’s going to happen, how long it will take, and what the next missing form will be.

You see, I’ve learned to “let go”, and it’s changed my life. I actually think it may be the secret to happiness.

When I consider this, I realise how different I am nowadays. I used to think that anyone who thought money couldn’t buy you happiness just didn’t know where to shop, and now here I am, not a care in the world about my next pair of shoes and instead excitedly mastering the art of “surrender”.

For I’ve found that it works in every aspect of life, not just tackling Croatian bureaucracy.

“Will lockdown end on February 15th?”
“Who knows? It’s out of my control, so no point wasting time thinking about it. Just let go”.

“Will travel open up again to allow for my holidays to run this year?”
As above.

“Will they call?”.
As above.

“Will Scotland beat England in the Calcutta Cup?
As above (until the final score, and then “Yay!”.

You see how this works?

It’s really quite simple. If it’s out of our control, there’s really no point in worrying out it, or wasting our time on these thoughts. With these things, it’s just a case of “letting it go and letting it flow”.

There’s a Buddhist saying which is:

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free”.

This is totally working for me right now. As I release any attachment to outcomes I have no control over, I find life just flows better. I am more likely to stay in a good state for more of the time.

I honestly think one of the secrets to happiness is having the courage to let go of what you can’t change.

When you let go, you create space for other things, and this is where the magic happens.

The unexpected joys in life appear, like Scotland beating England in the rugby!

Read more Gillie here...  


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional Wellness Consultant she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

To find out more about Gillie go to www.behappyfit.co.uk

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