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Letting Go

Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

Why do we have such a difficult time letting go?  Many of us have a fear of letting go and tighten our grip rather than releasing the person, thing, and/or emotion that we are so desperately hanging unto.  We question and fear what we’ll be left with after letting go and often assume that the consequence of letting go is more painful than the hanging on.  Sometimes hanging on to a relationship, even a dysfunctional one, seems better than being alone.  We would rather avoid, deny, and/or distract from this decision rather than confronting it head-on.

Throughout life we encounter times where letting go is our only option.  We may lose a loved one or a pet, a relationship ends, we lose a job, our health fails, we move, face unhealthy conflict or children leave the home.  The process of letting go can be painful, but necessary.  We often go through the stages of grief, initially resisting experiencing the pain until it overwhelms us and we have no choice but to deal with it.  Many people take action only when inaction becomes more painful than action.  The bottom line is letting go causes inevitable pain but the longer we delay the process the greater the pain becomes.

What do you need to let go of in your life?  Maybe it is an unhealthy relationship, a habit/addiction, unresolved emotion, unrealistic expectations, control, or need for approval/acceptance.  Write it down along with the emotions that letting it go produces in you.  Writing a letter and saying goodbye to whatever it is can make it more real and tangible.  Forgiveness can help with this process whether it’s forgiving yourself or someone else.  Remember, we have to go through it to get through it and that which we resist, persists.  Letting go can enable the pain to be acute rather than chronic and starts the healing process.  Suffering and healing often occur simultaneously, so make the choice today to let go.

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