To the untrained eye, it may seem that life success is defined by everything we win, find, buy, receive and accomplish. But when it really comes down to it, the success we experience in life is much less about what we get and much more about what we let go.
Think about it. Getting a job isn’t the easiest thing in the world; but walking away from a job that sucks eight hours out of every day proves to be an even bigger challenge. That same driving force, a perpetual fear of letting go, rears its ugly head in every aspect of our lives. It’s the source of nearly all stagnation, unhappiness and failure. It’s a story that’s far from uncommon. In an effort to control and hold to everything, everything worth holding onto slips through our fingers.
To what are you clinging too tightly? A location, a way of life, a relationship, a career? A defense mechanism you’ve always used, a decision that’s not yours to make, a belief that’s not your own? Failures, expectations, grief, resentment? Whatever the case may be, remember that it is not what you do, but what you continue to do, that determines your success.
Stop for a moment and consider the goals you have in life. Think about what success means to you. See your ideal life with your mind’s eye. Now, instead of only thinking about what you need to find, learn, buy, or earn in order to get there, consider what’s standing in your way. Are you ready to let go? Does the mere thought of letting go leave you shaking in your boots?
The fear produces your questions: Will something go wrong? Will I fail? Will I look stupid? Even if the answer to every question is YES, don’t forget about the price of holding on. Can you afford to NOT let go?
I don’t suggest for a moment that letting go is easy. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s that anxiety inducing moment between trapezes. It’s a baby bird’s first moment of flight; an infant’s first step. You know—the feeling of having nothing to hold on to, reaching the point of no return, and not knowing what’s next. It’s uncomfortable, but the story doesn’t end there. Behind the blinding veil of fear you can’t quite see the other side. But it’s there waiting for you. Relief is there. Liberation is there. Exhilaration and joy are there. These are the byproducts of letting go.
So, how do you know when it’s time for letting go of something or someone?
It’s time to let go when you’re holding on to something you can’t change—something that’s already happened or something that will happen with or without your angst.
It’s time to let go when what you’re trying to control by holding on doesn’t belong to you—someone else’s decisions, problems or beliefs.
It’s time to let go when the only tool you’re holding on with is worry, fear or grief.
It’s time to let go whenever what you’re holding onto is doing nothing but holding you back.
Maybe you can’t just wake up and wash your hands of whatever person, place, thing or circumstance you’ve been trying to control. Letting go of what you know, no matter how much it weighs you down, isn’t that easy. But you can slowly start to release your grip. Instead of bungee jumping off the cliff, you can gently climb down a little bit each day. You can spend one less moment fretting, fussing and obsessing. You can dedicate that moment to moving forward. All you have to do is take steps, no matter how small, away from your attachments to all things that are no longer serving you.
If someone isn’t listening to your advice, let go with love and they’ll find their own way. If you were hurt badly in the past, accept what happened and do what you can to heal rather than dwelling on what you can’t change. If you followed someone else’s path for your life, cut your losses and begin guiltlessly living for yourself from this day forward.
With today’s inspirational thoughts, I encourage you to step into the fear and release your grip on those false security blankets. You are stronger than you think. Your loved ones are stronger than you think. The Universe itself is churning more perfectly than you think. Stop trying to control what is outside of your control. Walk away from the safety net. Wave your beautiful hands in the air. Get unstuck. Let go.
Love and light to you,
Photo credit: Matt Bell