Letting Go When You Can’t…
Letting go is very difficult for us humans.
Whether it’s a person, perception, job, or treasured item, letting go brings up the greatest unrest inside of us. We create our biggest struggles when we work against life. We fear that change and disappointment will eat us alive!
We’ll sacrifice the good to hold onto something which causes us pain or we’ve outgrown. We give excuses for what we’re doing as if it has some hidden merit.
Thank you Ghandi and Mother Theresa for being selfless toward a greater good. For most of us, our struggles aren’t about a greater good; they’re about fear. We find ourselves trying to cobble the hole in our shoe rather than get a new pair.
Not letting go looks something like this:
- Settling in a “good-enough” love relationship, when you have different life goals like wanting to get married, have kids, live in Timbuktu or give up your worldly possessions to be a missionary. Or holding onto your crappy job out of fear that you won’t find another.
- A negative perception about the opposite sex, yet you want to meet someone and get married.
- Entering a relationship that kicks your ass. You white knuckle it, yet it’s killing you to stay.
- Believing in the potential for another person to change.
- Inability to change your external circumstances that are creating suffering and a battle with life.
- Giving up your happiness to hide in a dead relationship for the sake of your children, dog, house, etc.
- Staying because of the belief that you’ll heal another person, your childhood or heart by sacrificing YOU.
It can be insidious, and you can’t see another way to live, But there is. First you accept, then you find the courage. The unknown isn’t to be feared, it’s to be embraced. Staying stuck is far more painful than releasing yourself from bondage.
Accepting what is stops your internal battle.
It’s not about forcing circumstances; it’s having the courage to blaze a new path. It’s not easy to decide to accept all of it, but make babysteps toward acceptance.
Steps to freedom:
- Giving up your deepest wants and desires to appease another person won’t get you what you want. Accept where they are in their life and ask yourself if you’re settling by staying.
- Holding onto a job you dread going to every Monday isn’t going to improve. Why do you stay? What’s the fear in leaving? Do you believe you’re unworthy of better? Maybe it won’t be easy to find something else, but doors of opportunity eventually open when you have courage.
- Negative generalizing of the opposite sex because of your past experiences only sets you up for more. No one comes along and changes how you view yourself. It’s about you, not them. You’re here because of what you believe is true for you. Start accepting some painful truths about “your responsibility” for your love life. Stop blaming and take action toward vulnerability, then watch your perception change.
- You’re magnetized to a relationship that’s a rollercoaster and the voices in your head tell you to leave, but you can’t, so you kick yourself, complain and lose your mind. STOP. Accept the situation and look inside. Why are you here? Is it the disappointment of failure? Do you need it to work so you’re worthy of love? What is it? Dive into your vat of pain. It’ll reveal the truth.
- If only he/she would do this, everything would be hunky dory. Yeah, this selfish viewpoint doesn’t honor where another person is in their life. They need to fit our vision of perfection. Accept them right where they are. Can you handle a “dented car” or are you settling? Have the courage to make a decision and stop trying to fixing them. Where do they mirror you in a matching insecurity or perceived flaw?
- It’s white flag time when nothing is working in your life. Is it a pattern? How much can you control? What action will move you toward believing a new direction is possible? When you get past the ego and “poor me,” there’s a flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Wannabe Ghandis and Mother Theresas take note. Giving up your happiness to stay in a crappy situation does NOT benefit those you think it’s helping. You’re setting an example to your kids and others about how to sacrifice yourself. Do you want them to repeat what you’re doing ? Or do you want them to grow up as happy, functioning adults? Who are you trying to get approval from? Why? Will it make you a good person and the parent you never had? No. You’re okay NOW! Stop trying to fix your past. Accept what is and have courage.
- The moment of regret will come for the amazing things you let slip by. If you talked yourself into believing suffering is the right course to take, that’s really just fear in disguise. Life without emotional risk is a life of regret. Staying in a relationship that died or hoping for past good moments to reappear is a waste of time. Look within for the reasons you stay. Are you afraid of being alone if you jump because your “amazing love” will discover you’re worthless? Do you not feel good enough to deserve amazing gifts and so you sabotage, make excuses and stay miserable? Accept that everything in our life has a purpose. When you’ve kicked a dead horse, let it go. Accept its death as an opportunity for rebirth. Move through your past emotionally and open up to the gifts of the present.
It’s a choice to suffer with old agreements and promises you made. Things change and what you thought as a kid or as a younger adult may not hold true in current circumstances. Accept your old ideas, mourn them and let ’em fly away.
Distracting yourself from your reality, whether by compartmentalizing or not dealing with your own inner unrest, is NOT the way to peace and happiness. Allow the unknown; open yourself to you; accept what you see; release the known.
With courage, letting go comes eventually, whether it is letting go of being stuck or letting go of the life you could’ve had.