Learning to let go

She Let Go

by Safire Rose

“She let go.

She let go.

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments….

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go”

One of the most powerful things I have ever heard is that resentments are like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

When we have been wronged or hurt or feel ashamed or worried about something, letting go of that can be hard, however, it is the most freeing thing in the world to truly be able to let things go.

This does not come easily to me and it is often not until I have my back against the wall or am I’m in real pain around something that I remember, I could always just let it go.

It’s a work in progress but the more I practice living a mindful and spiritual life the more naturally it comes. Sometimes I do it quickly and with ease. Other times it’s a battle and it’s only when I’ve had enough of swimming upstream that I let go and let the current carry me wherever it is meant to. Having faith that everything will be as it’s meant to be.

I particularly find it difficult to let go in situations where I feel like I have been wronged or when someone has hurt me, especially as I find it so difficult to voice that hurt to them directly and end up internalising all those feelings. But holding on to that anger and fear and negativity only damages me, not the other person. This has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn as part of my spiritual journey. I thought that letting go and practising acceptance meant that I just had to be passive in my own life and take whatever came my way without ever saying anything about it, but, as with everything in life it’s all about finding the right balance and, for me, spirituality is not just about serenity, it’s about positive self esteem and healthy boundaries.

I’m a chronic people pleaser, but when I do things where my motivation is not purely out of kindness but out of fear of confrontation or rejection, that’s not ok. Finding my voice; speaking my truth with love and kindness, no matter how difficult, and finding the strength to say “no” when something is not ok for me has been a terrifying but rewarding thing. My voice still shakes when I do it and I often cry afterwards, but that’s ok because being honesty takes courage.

I also believe that although letting go and forgiveness are intertwined, they are not the same thing. However, being able to forgive, allows me to let go. It doesn’t mean I’m condoning the other persons behaviour, it simply means I’m unwilling to carry around the negative feelings about it any more.

I have a little box in my room that I call my “worry box”. I write things down that are bothering me and I put them in there – hand them over to the universe and pray on them.

I always find that writing things down helps me to process them and I use my journal to write down who or what has upset me and why; what if anything I can actually do about it; what’s my stuff and what is not and what I’m saying to myself in my head about it. Seeing it written down in black and white helps me to see things more clearly and enables me to let go.

One of the wonderful things about having an overactive imagination and busy mind is that it’s the seat of my creativity, my ability to problem solve and my ability to write, which is my most treasured gift. However, with that gift also comes overthinking, fear, anxiety and cripplingly high standards of perfectionism.

People often say to me “stop overthinking” and for a long time I have chastised myself for being the way I am, wishing I didn’t overthink so much. However, I’m coming to accept that it is just part of me, but it’s not a part of me I need to let control me. The trick is to learn how to deal with that busy mind, how to calm it, how to step outside of it and try and observe it from a non-judgmental place where I can understand that it’s just doing its job, trying to protect me from getting hurt, from entering into situations that the past has shown to be dangerous to my wellbeing. And I’m grateful for that but I don’t have to let the past dictate my future.

What an incredible thing the mind is. It alerts us to danger and gives us emotions as a signal that something is right or wrong. If we ignore those emotions they bang louder and louder on the drum until we listen to them and when we listen to them, then we have a choice about what we do with that information.

If it’s a resentment that’s causing it, we could keep ruminating on it, playing it over and over again in our heads, trying to imagine what we would say to that person if only we had the courage, plotting revenge. Or we could forgive and let go.

I know which I prefer. The path that brings me the most peace. Today I choose to let it go.

Vicky