The reason letting go is so difficult for people comes down to one thing: it's the realization that we don't know, and can't know, and ultimately aren't in control, of our destiny — not entirely, anyway. It's the brutal awareness that no matter how hard you fight for something, if it's not meant to happen, it's not going to happen. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, "Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room."
Yet, because we're so inundated with why and how we should succeed, we're rarely coached on how to give up. How to relinquish control, and accept defeat, and put our egos aside ... ehm, ever. So here are a few things you need to know about what it means to let go — from what the things that linger need to teach you, to how to mourn, to not attach to outcomes, to realize that moving on is building the new, not dismantling the old — you'll realize that doing so is not usually a sign of failure or defeat, rather, just a natural part of life. Nothing is really forever at the end of the day. And sometimes, if you pay close enough attention, you'll also find that the things you're forced to let go of almost always pave way for something better than you could have ever imagined. (The world is funny that way.)
There Are Many Things You Need To Let Go Of In Life — Least Of Them Sour Relationships
Jobs that don't work out, dreams you had that no longer suit you (or reality), friend break ups... the list could go on forever, but that doesn't necessarily mean any of them aren't for the best.
If You Actually Can't Let Something Go, It's Because It Has Something Left To Teach You
It's not people we have the hardest time letting go of, but ideas we have about them and what they could (should?) be doing for us. If it seems absolutely impossible to the point where you're obsessing, forget what you think you desperately need to hold onto, and start asking yourself what it represents to you (love, safety, etc.) and then figure out how you can actually give that to yourself.
The Art Of Giving Up Is A Practice In Relinquishing Your Ego, And It's Crucial For Everyone At Some Point
It's really healthy to have to learn to let go in life, mostly because it's how you get your first solid hit to the ego — which not only puts things in perspective, but helps you realize that you are more than it (and hopefully one day you can learn to think and behave out of something better).
Any Transition Requires Mourning
And mourning, believe it or not, is something you really have to learn how to do. Otherwise, you're left with the remnants of a broken heart years and years later. Not knowing how to really mourn is basically why the past haunts people, or worse, controls them.
Letting Go Teaches You To Never Attach To Outcomes
If nothing else, having to let go of something reminds you that you never really knew what would happen regardless — all you can do is try your best, and work your hardest to make a go of what's in front of you, not try to lock it down forever.
Telling The Difference Between When It's Time To Try Harder And Give Up Is Difficult For Everyone
And there's no "one size fits all" answer to being able to know when it's time for either.
Letting Go Is Not About Releasing The Old, But Building The New
This is the biggest secret of all — and ultimately what you will have to learn to move on entirely. Letting anything go is not a matter of evaluating it, overthinking it, or picking it apart over and over again — it's a matter of simply building a new life for yourself, one in which the thing you had to let go of is not even an aspect.
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