Lately I’ve been thinking of the concept of “letting go” — that process of removing (usually harmful) thoughts and things from one’s life.
This process is interesting to me because of what it implies. To let go is, literally, to release something from a grip. This, of course, means that something must have been held before it could be let go.
What things do we hold onto? And why? And why do we eventually let go of them? And, perhaps most importantly, what effect does that process have on us?
I said in the first paragraph that things which are let go are usually harmful, specifically to the person who held them. But that begs the question: why hold onto something harmful to yourself?
Usually this is explained by the person not thinking or realising that this thing, whatever it is, is harmful. Or, more tragically, it could involve the person justifying the harm or thinking that the thing is worth holding onto regardless of it.
Did you think of anything in your life, personal or witnessed, which may fit either category? Toxic relationships, addictions and vices, preconceptions; these are things we sometimes hold onto and we invariably think we’re correct while doing so.
Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, we always have a reason for holding onto things which hurt us. We might think the person is worth it, that the pros outweigh the cons, that we’re right whether or not we look at the facts.
Then, eventually, we learn that we are wrong and begin to let go — or become so stubborn that we simply can’t.
Of course, not all things that we hold onto, at least in some sense, are harmful. Many of us have at least a few good friends, healthy hobbies, a professional or academic calling, etc. These are not necessarily things we hold onto (in a demanding sense) as much as they are things we simply have, however.
Taking ownership of something is fine, but “holding onto” (and later letting go) something implies more of a need. Obsessive. Must keep. Must have. Such things take ownership of you, not the other way around.
Let’s say there’s something you want. You want it so badly that you can hardly stop thinking about it. You’d give much to have it. You simply can’t let go of this idea.
This is a harmful thing, ultimately, because not having it won’t kill you (otherwise you’d actually need it) and yet it feels that way because of how important it is to you. Whatever it is, this is an example of holding onto something harmful via a justification (“I want it,” simply put).
This is invariable. Things which are held so tightly cause harm in one form or another ultimately because they take control from the person holding them. Think about yourself and the things you hold onto in this way.
Here, I’ll give you some examples:
“This will work out, I just need time.”
“They’re usually better than this.”
“I might need this later.”
“No one can know about this, I’d just die.”
There’s so much more in life which can be of value to you outside of these needless relationships, obsessions, insecurities, et al.
What will happen? Well, at first you might feel terrible. You might want to go back. You might scramble to pick up that thing and grip it tightly again.
But if you can resist that urge, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be shocked to discover how much better you feel without whatever it was.
I’ve seen that. I’ve felt that. I want you to feel it, too.
It all starts with letting go of the things, ideas, people, and everything else holding you back. You’ll learn how little you need these things when you try.