Letting go. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and I know you already know this. They are words we often hear in our personal growth endeavors and the way forward to avoid bitterness, resentment, and staying stuck. There are libraries of books and self-help materials on the ‘how to’ of the subject. None of them really have the precise formula for how to ‘let go’ or what that process really is, which is painful and debilitating. I think it’s a grieving process and it’s an acknowledgement of powerlessness, which we all know is the first step in healing. Letting go is to let better things in and to finally close the chapter on something that hurts so badly. It’s a process that is much like grieving in that the timeline isn’t concrete and it’s messy. The stages flow in to one another and soon enough you don’t even know where one stage ended, another one began, or even where another one began again when you think you’ve moved past it already.
Jason told me a story recently that made me think of letting go. When he was a teen some guy wanted to beat him up. The other person had (wrongly) accused Jason of stealing a leather jacket and was ready to fight him after school. The whole thing was a spectacle and a typical high school drama scene. Students were standing around after school, waiting for the big fight to take place in the parking lot. The other guy punched Jason when he wasn’t even really looking or ready for this supposed fight. Jason looked at him and then turned on his heel and walked away. Jason just made the decision to not make a big scene and to let go of the outcome. Two days later, the puncher apologized.
As Jason told me, sometimes letting go doesn’t mean you lost. It means you’re ready to move forward. It reminded me that fixing, controlling, and trying to change outcomes often don’t help and it usually makes things worse. Sometimes you have to fight, and other times, the way forward is taking that sucker punch and moving on, no matter what the outcome, living a life free of drama is always worth it. Not easy but worth it. Humans love a big drama scene. It’s what makes the news and tv sensational, when you’re watching someone else’s drama. It’s not so much fun when it’s your own life playing out as the center of the drama, am I right?
As a side note, people that will watch drama unfold in your life as bystanders are not your friends. Your friends will check on you, hug you, encourage you, and support you. Others will stand by like the schoolyard crowd and watch to see if you fall. I’ve chosen to ditch people in my life that don’t have the best intentions for me.
Now, if someone can remind me of this story about every other week in my life, that would be great. I’m stupid and I forget things I just learned. Or I’ll just reread this 56789 times, maybe I’ll absorb it. Probably not, but it’s worth a try!
If this is helpful, please take it, and leave the rest. If not, know I’ll be over here, working on letting go.