Letting Go - is hardwork

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Sometimes, letting things go is an act of far greater power than hanging on”

– Eckhart Tolle

Many people believe that holding on and staying course are signs of great strength. This may be true. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.

The idea that we can control the narratives of our lives, situations, even others has kept many of us to hold on to baggage we should have dropped long ago.

Why do we cling onto the past, bad relationships, old things, obsolete goals even pain when it clearly isn’t doing us any good or moving us towards a better life?

I believe it is the idea of what feels familiar. We never stop to examine our motives for holding on and bearing such burdens simply because it is what we are used to. For many, they would rather the weight than be rid of it. They cannot function without it. so I ask this question;

What purpose does it serve in the long run?

I dare to say it would be difficult to reach full potentials when we do not let go of things that besets us. I know, if only it was that easy! As humans, we hold grudges, we attach sentimental meaning to objects, idolize emotions, we like to revisit the past and worry about the future.

How can we learn to let go?

Is it sentiments or control? I ponder.

The illusion of control– we overestimate our influence on outcomes of things that are outside our sphere of influence. It is the thinking that we can control how others will act towards us, outcomes of a poll even when we suppose the odds are in our favor, we want to be in charge, direct, and regulate how things work. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying one should leave things to run amok or be directionless about life. What I am saying is that one has to be conscious to know when it is out of one’s hands!

It’s amazing how often we think we’re in control of something when really we aren’t. We constantly make plans that never actually turn out the way we envisioned then we find it difficult to move on from it because we cannot even admit we were wrong!

Holding on to things when it clearly did not work out the way we plan can cause us a great deal of stress and unhappiness. It also keeps us stuck in the past, and keeps us from growing and living our lives freely. If we want to be happy and free, then we need to learn to let go. The biggest problem with the illusion of control is that it leads to frustration and sometimes even to anger. We blame ourselves for outcomes that aren’t our fault. Once we have taken all the actions that are possible within our sphere of influence and control – we need to learn to acknowledge and accept the things over which we have no control.

Sentimental Attachments and Fixations- Attachment is mental and emotional fixation on something we think we need or want. We get attached to people, views, outcomes, or material possessions. The reason we get attached to them is that we are afraid we will lose them, and therefore, we will be unhappy, or we may even think we won’t survive.

So we attach sentimental values to these things such that we hinge our happiness on them forgetting that those things may not give us true happiness. While the satisfaction and emotional gratification we receive from them may enhance our state of happiness it is not sustainable. The problem with this approach to finding happiness is that our emotions are temporary by nature. What happens when we no longer have these possession or people around us? Would our lives stop or would we build unhealthy attachment and fixations that has no purpose than to tie us down in a meaningless vicious cycle?

So, letting go means; to release our fixation on these things. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will lose them. It just means we have enough faith that we will get the things we need to survive in this world. That we have learnt to create a meaningful life without anyone’s approval or the insane need to hold on to things and situations that doesn’t add value to us.

Letting go is hard work

There are many reasons why letting go is often hard. We have been told not to give up easily. They say patience is a virtue. Of course, you aren’t no quitter. Yada yada. 

Besides, we have romanticized holding on, it gives us a false sense of strength especially in a society where longevity supersedes quality.

Fear makes it hard to let go. We’re afraid of what will happen to us if we lose something that we depend on for our survival, or happiness. So, we hold on as best as we can. Many of us won’t even consider the fact conquering the fear of the unknown may just be what we need to unlock a new lease of life and better outcomes.

Many of us are addicted to drama and are card-carrying members of the victim society. We enjoy dwelling in our emotions, we want the attention of being seen as the aggrieved party. We like the pity thrown our way and revel in it, it’s a sign of martyrdom. We certainly like positive emotions. But even negative emotions can get us attention, which also brings us pleasure.

For many people holding on to situations is a matter of social construct and image. Our self-identity is associated with the things we have. The ides of a perfect family, house, car, the right network of friends and other material possessions project an image of who we are, hopefully a successful image. We will do anything to maintain our social standing even when we have to hurt ourselves and not live life fully because it is not in line with the social perception we want to project.

Many of us cannot face up to the truth about ourselves. We would rather hold on to our baggage than unpack it to work through our issues and inadequacies. Hence, we sidestep and hide from reality of the emptiness we feel inside.

Ready to let go?

Make a commitment to let go- you have to start by consciously deciding that you want to make a change. To learn how to let things go requires a conscious commitment and decision. Make a commitment to yourself and to your decision. From that moment, try to stop reliving past experiences. Even if at first it’s hard, in time you’ll see your progress and how far you’ve come since you made this choice. Willpower is crucial here. Whenever you feel like going over the details of a situation or frustrating again over the things that hurt you, deviate your thoughts and remember your commitment.

Embrace a new healthy way of living and focus.

Take the learning points-

  • Life is a series of experiences that are meant to teach us important lessons. When we refuse to let go of something, it is because we refuse to see what life is trying to teach us. As a result, we feel stuck.

When you’re having trouble letting go of something, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this experience?” The answer may not be revealed to you immediately. But when it does, you will be able to let go, and move on with your life.

  • Believe it will all turn out well- One of the reasons we hold on to things is that we think we need them to survive. Remember, letting go is the release of our mental and emotional fixation on something. Sometimes, we hold on to things that are already physically gone. If something is physically gone, and you’re reading this, it means you haven’t died. So, letting go isn’t going to kill you. In fact, you’ll be able to truly live your life free of that emotional attachment. Trust that you’ll be okay. If you have to, lean on a friend. Your experience isn’t unique. Chances are that many other people have gone through the same experience, and they’ve survived. You don’t have to go through a detachment by yourself. You are not alone.
  • Letting go leads to freedom. When we learn to let go, we can be free of the sources of our pain and suffering that are holding us back. We often hang on to things that are no longer serving us, such as unhealthy relationships. Maybe at one time we were benefiting from a relationship, but often when people grow, they grow apart. That’s when it’s time to move one.
  • Finally, if we hold on to something, we can’t move forward. We cannot grow emotionally if we hold on to something we think brings us happiness. If you keep holding on to things around you, then you will remain stuck in the past because things are always changing. As you learn to let go, your self-esteem and self-confidence will grow. When you realize that you won’t die from letting go of things you thought you needed, you will be able to pursue things that are healthier for you.



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5 thoughts on “Letting Go – is hard work”

  1. This post is for me.
    Quick story, my close friend started acting up out of the blues . I complained and complained but to no avail . I even thought I did something wrong! But this post brings more light to my situation and how best for me to handle it.
    Thank you for this post.

  2. Abdullahi Yasser

    It’s a constant to get pained in life, but practice mindfulness can enhanced letting go for one to be free .

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