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The Let Them Theory is simple yet so profound. All it means is to let people be who they are. Let them have their own thoughts and opinions. Stop trying to control them. Let go, and let them be.

Practicing it might be more difficult than we realize, at least at first, but it’s a path to your own  peace.

I recently watched a video from Mel Robbins where she talks in-depth about Let Them. The technique is basically the same as Letting Go and Surrender. It’s also the main prayer in 12 Step programs, said at the start and end of many meetings.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.”

Our need to control others is what causes the most pain in our lives. It’s the root of most anxiety.  The only thing we can change is ourselves.


Let Go Of the Oars

Another way to describe the Let Them Theory is the saying “let go of the oars.” I first heard the term during an Esther Hicks video. Others also use the term, including Mel Robbins. It means letting go and not controlling the currents of life. 

If you get into a rowboat and stick the oars into a fast-moving river, rowing upstream will take enormous effort. You’ll exhaust yourself trying to get anywhere, and you’ll most likely stay in the same spot – if you’re lucky. The belief that one needs to suffer in order to succeed, or work nonstop to get anywhere, is a false belief.

The same goes for trying to control others. You’re rowing against their current, and you’re not going to get anywhere.

Instead, if you let go of the oars, the boat will naturally turn around and float downstream with no effort at all. In the same way, if you stop trying to control others and let them be, you’ll attract peace into your life. Letting go brings you to what you want.

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Ways to Incorporate the Let Them Technique Into Your Life

Watch Mel Robbins’s video ”The ONE Trick You Need to Master to Live a More Peaceful and Fulfilled Life” for full details of the theory, and learn three tools you can use to apply the Let Them technique to your life.

She shares three ways we can incorporate the Let Them technique into our lives.



When we think about what others are doing or how things could be going, let go of the oars. For example, if your friend wants to throw a dinner party and not invite you, let them. If you meet someone and you can tell they don’t like you, let them. If your mother-in-law doesn’t want to visit over the holidays, don’t try to convince her otherwise.

There’s no need to fight, argue, or try to manipulate or control others.

This might be hard to accept, but no one owes you anything – no matter how much you might do for them. Did you know people pleasing is a form of control?


Step back and let people fail – or succeed

We need to give everyone around us the room to grow, learn, and take personal responsibility.  For example, your spouse has a drinking problem. You can’t force them to get sober – it won’t work. They must want and ask for help – and they must take personal responsibility for their health.

I just had an experience where I tried to control a friend. She’s indie publishing her first novel, and I was upset she didn’t want my advice and help because I’ve been figuring out the process for over a year. But by jumping in and helping her, I’m not letting her learn the process herself. Wisdom comes through failure.

And being offended because she didn’t want my help was actually my attempt to control her because I was having an inadequate moment in my life. It’s hard to write that because I believe I only wanted to help. But I’m robbing her of a valuable experience if I give her all my insights and learning – unless, of course, she specifically asks for them. 

Another point to remember is that by constantly rescuing someone – loaning them money, bailing them out of bad situations, telling them what to do, etc – we’re teaching them that they’re not capable of rescuing themselves.


Let others be themselves

This can be extremely tough for many people. Let the people in your life be who they are – not who you want them to be. 

Many people get into relationships or friendships with the potential of who they want that person to be, not the actual person. And that won’t be pleasant for either of you. 

If we want happiness and peace in our lives, we need to see people for who they are and to accept them as they are. We need to allow others to have their thoughts and opinions, quirks and flaws, and not try to change or control them. 

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Robbins mentions three instances you should not use the Let Them technique:

  • If someone is doing something dangerous or discriminating against you. For example, if someone’s had too much to drink and wants to drive home, don’t let them. 
  • When you need to ask for something or advocate for your rights. Mel’s example was to not just accept a salary offered to you for a job. You have a right to ask for what you feel you deserve.
  • If someone continually crosses your boundaries. Don’t be a doormat and let others walk all over you. Trust me, I have years of experience with this, and all it brings you is heartache.

I know this can be a lot to absorb, and I’m only giving you an overview, so if you find yourself wondering about all this, sit with yourself. Go inside and try to figure out what you’re feeling. 

Could it be a need to control something?….

Let me know what you think. 


Diane Hatz is a writer, author, and inner activist. Join her email list to get monthly newsletters that include blog articles from Diane Digs and much more.