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The Courage To Let Go

The Courage To Let Go

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong,
but sometimes it is letting go”.
~ Herman Hesse


Just let it go.  We’ve all heard that statement.  Oh, if it were only that simple. I want to explore the concept of letting go because it comes up in the office and in the workshops often.

We hear people say, “I’ve let that go”, and maybe they have.  However, we know if we have let something, someone, go when we can be around the person, or situation and have little to no emotional attachment.  If the person or situation can still bring reaction, then likely we want to look at what we actually mean to “let go”.

One way to look at letting go can be to see it as an act of courage because to just allow whatever it is we feel to arise, or to accept a situation for just what it is, may seem cowardly on the one hand, yet on the other, letting go can be an act of courage. And even a necessary act in order to go on with our lives in a healthy way.

Another word for letting go is surrender.  Surrender is defined as,” to yield to the power, control of another on demand.  I believe that many people equate letting go with this definition of surrender.  By surrendering, we are relinquishing control and therefore giving up. Which can lead one to believe they have let go, when in fact, the are still being controlled by the situation.

So, it begs the question, what is our personal definition of letting go?  How do we really dig deep and listen to our own hearts longing, really get clear with ourselves what it is we need and want, and let go and allow ourselves to have it?  If we say we want to allow ourselves to have what we need, then we must be willing to allow ourselves to know what that even is. Then we can make a more informed decision about what it is we would let go of and why.

Letting go can also mean having the courage to let go of whatever stands in our way of hearing what we need and acting on that longing.  There are times when we hear we need to ask someone we love to really hear what we need and must be willing to let go of our fears.  To risk rejection, to risk really being seen or heard.  To allow our vulnerability and tell our truth.  Letting go of these fears means surrendering.  Letting go, relinquishing control, taking a risk that we have the courage to deal with whatever the outcome might be.  Risking our heart is scary, no doubt about it.  Opening ourselves up to another is one of the most vulnerable things we can do.  Our fear of abandonment and betrayal is big, so the idea of “just letting go,” is asking a lot of our heart.

Is letting go the same as giving up on ourselves?  Is letting go the same as saying we don’t know how?  We need our personal definition of letting go to answer these questions. No one can decide for us what it means to let go.  The act of letting go only holds us back only if we see it as giving up.  Or if we are unwilling to let go in order to hold onto something or someone as a way to punish, blame or stay a victim.

Sometimes letting go means acceptance.  Accepting that something we loved, someone we loved, is over, done, and we will not have that relationship in the way we knew it ever again.  This type of letting go can be a sign of healing.  When we lose someone important to us, or the form of relationship changes, we must allow ourselves to grieve.  I always say, we grieve because it mattered.  So, letting go happens when we have allowed ourselves to honor all our feelings and let go in a way that actually works for us.  We can hold someone in our heart forever, even if the form we were used to changes. Then letting go can be an act of acceptance, healing and a sign that we are able to move on with our lives.

Be willing to examine the places in your life where you have not let go.  Ask yourself: “ Am I ready to let go?  How will letting go serve me?  What holds me back from being able/willing to let go?  What do I believe will happen if I let go”?   These questions may assist you in moving through the process of letting go and enable you to find freedom and healing.

Allow the concept of letting go to be a part of your spiritual path.  Use letting go as a path to freedom.  Allow your heart to open fully to yourself… breathe, and let go.