This is an issue very close to my own heart! Most of the work we do and most of what we grapple with can in some way be traced back to letting go or more specifically the refusal to let go. Philosophically we know what we should do. We generally know when we need to let go of a relationship, issue, or area of baggage. We know but we do not allow ourselves to know. We hold onto old beliefs that no longer serve us. We repeat patterns of behaviour that leave us enslaved and addicted but still we do not let go. In our hearts we know, but under the spell of the ego and fearful of change, our minds hold on tightly.
It follows therefore that the human being must have a very good reason for behaving in such seemingly contradictory ways. It is generally about feeling safe. So rather than condemn ourselves for not moving past old aspects of ourselves, perhaps we could have a little compassion! If we accept that we cannot let go and even embrace our difficulty, ironically life opens up new possibilities. So power then lies in the acceptance of the difficulty of letting go!
The next time you berate yourself for not letting go consider this: some aspect of what you cling to represents something that a part of you feels is essential for your survival. By not letting go you are protecting yourself from feelings that seem threatening. However, in spite of wounds still bleeding and psyches still aching, we need to make a choice to be whole. To reclaim our power we need to be unified. So this means turning toward our hearts and refusing to make choices that keep us stuck in conflict and division.
Have a good look at your life and ask yourself where do you feel divided? This will give you a clue as to where you need to let go. Letting go can mean you give up trying. It can mean you stop being the one who takes too much responsibility for a relationship. It can feel scary to give up in this way because we tend to feel the harder we try and the more effort we put in the more success we will have. But this is not always so. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.
Letting go of excess responsibility frees us to see what is happening in a relationship and prepares the way for more mutually respectful encounters that have a reciprocal energy exchange. Letting go can be the most loving thing we can do and also the most empowering, both for ourselves and those we love. When we free up our energy by letting go of what is not our legitimate concern, we have a whole lot more space to be creative and invest our energy in surprising and life giving ways.
Maureen Moss says there are undoubtedly many parts of you being torn in different directions but there is only one of you listening! So be prepared to consider what the pay off is for not letting go and, look beyond the obvious. What have you projected onto the source of your clinging? What could you possibly lose by giving up or letting go? What feelings would you have to feel? It might help to keep in mind that whatever you stand to lose by letting go, the freedom that ensues will guarantee that the cost benefit analysis is well worth it! The alternative is slavery. For our fundamental leaning is toward growth not away from it. Letting go can be a supreme act of love and it is essential for the health of our souls.
Parents who fail to let go when the time is right condemn their children to struggle. It is essential for parents to give their adult children appropriate messages about leaving home, growing up and becoming independent. Parenting is one continual experience of letting go and this is particularly difficult if parents themselves have never really developed their own independence. By letting go you send a message of trust and of course the opposite also applies. A refusal to let go perpetrates fear and anxiety.
According to Dr Chris Hunt there are five essential messages an adolescent needs to hear:
- “You can go”
- “We believe in you”
- “We will miss you”
- “We will cope without you”
- “Let’s stay in touch”.
Forgiveness is also often a necessary part of letting go. Our heart wants to let go of anger and resentment but our minds cling tightly to remembering the pain of past hurts. Anchor yourself firmly in the moment of now and let go of attachments to past experience that keep you bound prisoner. With each step we take towards forgiveness we take steps to make ourselves whole. Letting go of the need to be right is an essential part of this process. It serves no purpose to be right except to maintain the illusion of supremacy of the ego.
When we forgive ourselves and others we can truly become free to be the people we are created to be. We often fear that we will lose control if we let go. Pardoxically, what appears to be a loss of control actually serves to enhance our control. For ultimately it is in letting go that we claim and reclaim ourselves, individuated and whole, human and dignified.
Letting go involves making a commitment to ourselves and to our growth. It involves an inner commitment to integrity and authenticity in spite of the pull from the outside world to what we think we should have or need to experience. Commit to be happy now, even though things outside have not yet become exactly as you think they should be. Let go of ideas of perfection, of unrealistic expectations and of worrying about what others may think. Just choose in every moment to be the best you can be.
Letting go involves refusing to take things personally and accepting with gratitude whatever is happening right now. This means we let go of the desire to control. Letting go of the fixation on outcomes, letting go of all the conditions we impose, the rules and regulations and expectations we have of others and ourselves allows for all sorts of possibilities. In fact the miracles of life wondrously start to spontaneously appear, simply by letting go!
© Margie Ulbrick
If you would like some support with your relationships or creating greater happiness in your life, please contact me on 0403 814 477 for a free 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs.