Something I tell myself on a pretty regular basis.
I’m the type to hold on to things. Whether it be people, relationships, problems, clothes, or “stuff”, I have a serious problem letting go.
I don’t like to let go of “things” or “stuff” typically because of the sentimental value it holds. I have a real “I’ll wear that again one day” problem, and an “oh my gosh I totally forgot I had this, I’m definitely going to use this now” issue. I have a lot of stuff, that slowly I start pitching, but it really does take a lot of self-talk to get rid of things sometimes.
But hands down, my biggest struggle when it comes to letting go lies in people, my relationships with them, and problems that I seemingly have no control over.
I don’t like not having control. I don’t like not knowing why someone may be upset with me, and I don’t like losing people. All of these things send me into straight panic mode, and I sit there, in my panic, for quite a while. I can’t even give you a time frame because it can come and go periodically over the course of months. I don’t like to feel like I’ve done wrong, and would do probably anything to fix the problem immediately just to know everything is OK again. I don’t like when people leave because I physically can’t stop them or force them to stay. I don’t like when things feel like they’re happening to me, rather than because of me, and I spend a lot of time in my head as a result.
So, as someone who battles both depression and anxiety, I’ve started having conversations with that voice in my head, trying to combat the worry and the fear.
“It’s OK to let go of this”, I remind myself.
“What exactly am I holding on to?”
“It’s OK to let go of the need or desire to control this situation.”
“You don’t have control.”
“It’s not up to you.”
“You have to learn to be OK with changes.”
“It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s also OK to choose joy. It’s OK to choose to loosen your grasp on that rope that’s burning your hand, or to completely drop it.”
No matter what, whether you choose to hold on tightly or to let go, nothing will be different. Letting go isn’t going to make anything about the situation worse. In fact, in the end, letting go can only be better for you because the only thing you’re accomplishing by holding on is inflicting more suffering on yourself with every passing second. Why do that to yourself? Why sacrifice another day, hour, minute of happiness on something that you can’t change?
Just. Let. Go.
What I try to remind myself is that the only thing I can control is me. My thoughts, my actions, and my decisions. Those are the only things I have direct control over, and they are the first things that matter in any given situation.
We spend so much time and energy worrying, fearing, stressing about things that are inevitably out of our hands — the unknown. We don’t know what the end result is going to be, or how it’s all going to unfold, and that scares the sh*t out of us. But what if instead of permeating fear into our lives, we start filling them with hope; with positive outlooks and happier thoughts. What if we just start saying “f*ck it”, and actually mean it? What if we start freeing ourselves from these mental prisons we continue to build over and over, and allow ourselves to just be OK? What are we even holding on to?
My aunt has always said to me in stressful, emotional situations “it is what it is”, (I’m aware that it is a common quote, but that’s always her advice. It’s always accurate, might I add) and I try to remind myself of that as often as I can. It is what it is. It will be what it will be, no matter how much thought or how many ounces of stress I put into it. It will be what it will be no matter how much joy I choose to feel, too.
Letting go also means making room. Making room in your life for better people, situations, and relationships to enter. It means allowing positivity to be the main focus of your life, rather than your obsession over what you lack. Letting go ultimately sets you free, and creates a healthy space for the things you want most to flourish.
So, with all this said, today I take a step forward. Today I am choosing to feel joy where I start to feel worry or fear. Today I am choosing to enjoy the day as it comes. Hour by hour. In the moment. Making room for the positive. Then tomorrow I will try to do the same. And the day after, and the day after that. It’s an uphill battle, I know that. But if nothing else, you and I deserve to feel free.
It’s OK. Just let go.