It can be hard to let things go. We grow attached to people, material items, ideas and situations. We can become so comfortable with these things in our lives, that it can be difficult to imagine life without them. Also, sometimes the thought of no longer having the thing in our life can be more painful than not actually having it.
Sometimes we are forced to let go of the things that we are attached to. For example, we may have a health crisis that requires us to let go of certain foods we enjoy or the belief that our health is better than we thought. Sometimes we lose someone, or we choose to leave someone who does not treat us in a loving and respectful manner. It’s not uncommon for people to cling to things that are no longer good for them. We cling to things we need to let go of for many reasons. One reason is, at one point in time, whatever it is we are having a hard time letting go of, brought us joy and a sense of fulfillment. We can get stuck in a place of not wanting to let go because we often think back on the times that we were happier or remember the joy we felt when the thing we are having a hard time letting go of first entered our life. Another reason we struggle with letting things go is the pain from the loss. Pain often arises when we are fighting to hold on to something that is drifting away from us. I often visualize it as watching water slip through my fingers. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make it stay for good.
Most of us know when it’s time to say goodbye to something we have outgrown but often struggle to let go. Change can happen so subtly that we don’t realize that we are growing until one day we stop and reflect on our lives or someone we know points it out to us.
Letting go of someone or something that we have outgrown or that we no longer need in our lives doesn’t have to be so painful. Taking a step back to look at the situation from a place of gratitude can be extremely helpful. Often, there are many life lessons that we gain from each person or challenging situation that we experience in life. Sometimes we realize that we are stronger than we thought, and sometimes we realize that we need more loving support in our lives so that we can face things that we are not strong enough to face alone. Also, letting go opens the door or clears the space for someone or something else to enter our lives. When we let go, it clears the way for us to meet a new and better partner, home, friend, job or healthy habit.
Letting go takes courage. It’s better for us to choose to let go instead of trying to force something to stay that needs to go. When we make a choice to let something go, we face our fears head on, and as a result grow stronger. Also, when we choose to let go, we choose to acknowledge our power in the situation, become empowered and are less likely to feel like a victim of circumstances.
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice. She supports residents in both Kansas and California.