Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Difficulty Of Letting Go

This is a subject that I've been thinking about a lot lately:  why we hold on so tightly to the things that make us angry or unhappy or exhausted, why we cling to something in our past even if it is a lifeline to sadness, why we can't let go of the things that no longer matter from our past to make more room for the things that make us happier today and going forward from there.

Sometimes it is an old wound that has festered over a lifetime of tending and nursing.  Something you have pulled out over time, examined from every angle and thought about, until it seems to loom larger than it did in its original setting.

Other times, it is an obsession with perfection which can never, will never, be achieved no matter how hard you try.  Or someone else's expectations for us that can never be reached.

So many things that we accumulate as burdens over a lifetime of living, that drag at our heels as we try to move forward in our day to day lives, or jump out at us unexpectedly when we think we have already let them go free.

We all have something we are carrying around like a sack full of rocks.  And we'd almost certainly be a lot happier if we'd just put it down and walk away for good.

But sometimes we come to define ourselves as the person who survived that sack of rocks, and we carry it not as a reminder of something bad to avoid but as a badge of honor to be admired.  Or to wield like a weapon.  Or as a shield or talisman to protect you from further harm.

The truth is that perception is reality in so many ways in our internal landscape.  If we see ourselves as broken in some way, as permanently burdened or loaded down or miserable about something or other, then we are.

Until we are not.

Until we make a choice to let it go, put it down, and create a whole new perspective and reality going forward.

This is something I am trying to master.

It is not easy.  That is especially true about letting go of an old hurt when assigning blame instead of moving on has become a deeply ingrained habit, but for my own sake it needs to be done.

Holding tightly to something that only causes me pain only wounds me all over again.  Letting it go would free me to see the entirety in a different light, and perhaps from a new perspective that is much, much more positive and forward thinking instead of being grounded in the wounded past.

But it can be a struggle.  Why is that?

The truth is that bad things sometimes happen to good people.  That life isn't always fair.  And that we all have some measure of hurt that we have been carrying around somewhere, even in a secret place nestled deep inside that we have even forgotten we have.

Think how much lighter you could be if you let that go? 

Life is a long journey filled with twists and turns and all sorts of hills to climb and valleys to navigate along the way.  Imagine how much easier it would be to keep trudging forward, even over the difficult patches, if you weren't carrying along this sack full of heaviness from all the twists and turns that had come before.  Just something to think about, something I have been thinking about for a while.

Letting go is difficult.  But continuing to carry all this internal heaviness around is even harder, I think.

The trick is finding a way to break that habit, that cycle if you will, and forming a new one that is more beneficial, more on the side of happiness and believing that I deserve it.  That you deserve it.  That all of us can choose happiness over pain, can choose the lightness over the dark, and make that our reality right now.

The path toward enlightenment, indeed.

(Photo/art via Katharina Jung.  Love, love, love this!)

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