Letting Go

Much of my time at work is spent helping others learn to let go. Seems like the antithesis of the American Dream, right? We spend so many of our days and hours and minutes gathering. That’s what we think we are supposed to do . That’s how we make our lives complete, yet the more we gather the less we gain. I wonder what would happen if we just stop, stop gathering and instead let go.

What if Ann Landers was right when she said, “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength, however there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and do it ?

It is so very difficult to let go. To let go of people , to let go of unhealthy ideals, to let go of old ways that no longer serve a purpose, to let go of damaging stories you tell yourself about you, to let go of damaging stories you tell about others, to let go of victimhood, to let go of entitlement, to let go of yesterday and the way things were.

How many times do we hold onto old stories that letting go of would make our lives richer? The story we tell ourselves and others about how we got in the place we are that was no fault of our own. We would likely have to stop pointing the finger at others and then of course, face the reality of the possibility that we in fact, put ourselves in this position. Its so much easier to blame it on another and be the victim. Being the victim allows us not to look at us. That is uncomfortable, and who wants to be uncomfortable when it is so much easier to spin a story we tell ourselves and others that makes someone else responsible for the bad stuff in our lives.

I wonder what our kids would be like if we let go? What would we be like if we let go of our kids? Would we have to find another “project” to keep us from having to sit with ourselves and be our own project? How much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our kids looking good, so we can look good? I wonder if letting go of micromanaging our kids and propping them up (enabling), might send them the message that we do in fact think they are capable and responsible and we don’t need to do it for them, because we believe in them and know they can do it for themselves? What if we let go and let our kids fail? Would it be so much better for them to fail while young and in the safety of a loving home to encourage them to keep going and try again until they get it right, as opposed to waiting to let them fail until they are grown and the stakes are so much higher?

School is starting back this month. I wonder if we might possibly let go of telling our kids teachers how to do their jobs? What if we let things unfold exactly as they should rather than as we think they should? There is so much beauty in the C student, that we cant let go of needing the A student, to appreciate. Did you know that C students run our world and often have the important attributes that aren’t visible and don’t win awards, but actually helps them keep their wagon between the ditches when times get hard ? The kids whose parents let go , these kids had the benefit of failing and learning to handle it and how to rebound and push on toward their goals. Read the stories of successful people, most did not grow up in homes with helicopter parents. Quite the opposite.

Letting go is hard for us because we want to hold on and be in control. This makes us feel safe and it feeds our ego and sense of self. Imagine if we could only live an authentic life as a hot mess and embrace each part of that. Imagine if we could let go of the ideal that we can’t let go, because if we do , what might happen?