I flew back from Seattle on Thursday after closing out a consulting assignment that lasted 7 weeks and now I’m faced with letting go. I’ve been in this situation before and it’s always a bit of a challenge.
Letting go is hard to do sometimes. I’ve found that before I can let go of anything, I have to be ready.
Take relationships as an example. They can be difficult to let go of depending on how invested you are. Of course, this is always the case but when the relationship is easy and positive, we don’t pay much attention to it. But at the end, when things get messy and one partner leaves, the other is left hurting mainly because they aren’t ready to let go.
Letting go is something we all do each day. Sometimes it’s painful, as in the previous example, and sometimes it’s nearly effortless. Take letting go of your garbage each week. That’s pretty easy.
Examples of Letting Go
Let’s look at some examples of ways we let go. Each of these is clearly easy or difficult.
- Relationships that we know are over ….easy to let go
- Relationships our partner says is over …difficult to let go
- Old clothes that don’t fit …easy
- Old clothes that still fit …difficult
- Trinkets from McDonalds …way easy
- Trinkets your lover gave you before he left …way difficult
Emotion Is Why Letting Go Is Difficult
You can’t really let go of anything unless you divest your emotion.”
Garbage is easy to get rid of, but that bracelet your lover gave you, yeah …not so much. You’ve not invested any emotion into the garbage (let’s hope) but the opposite is true when it comes to a bracelet no matter how cheap it is. The emotion is the issue; it like a tether connecting us to the person. The bracelet is just an object that symbolizes the emotion we invested.
Letting go of anything requires us to first deal with the emotion. In terms of a relationship that ends, we have to allow ourselves to experience the pain that comes with such an event. We have to mourn the loss of the relationship, the person’s role in our life, or a meaningful possession.
Mourning the loss of anything we want to let go of can’t be avoided. Avoiding this emotional activity isn’t optional if you truly want to move on…evolve. And this is the point.
Evolution Occurs When We Let Go
Evolution occurs daily if we are paying attention. When we pay attention to that which we form emotional bonds (tethers), we can make the decision as to whether or not an emotional investment is appropriate. Sometimes, it’s not the object we form a tether to, but the emotion surrounding it.
Here’s a personal example: Today is my 58th birthday. I mention this because I’ve had in my possession a certain brown leather attaché case since I turned 21. 😯 It was a gift from my parents. Actually, they just sent me money and I bought the attaché case. I used the case for many years, even had to mend it once by replacing the handle…it looks kind of like Frankenstein’s monster in this regard.
So why have I hung on to it for 37 years? Because of the emotion I’d invested in it. I don’t use it any more – it just sits in my office. I’ve kept it for 37 years because I didn’t want to deal the emotions linked to it. Lately it’s been weighing on me and I’ve been mourning its loss. I’m ready to give it away and see it come to a much better use. Once I do, I’ll have cut the tether that linked me to the case.
I’ll be free to move on… to evolve.
“Untether To Evolve” – Words To Live By
The concept of untethering to evolve was a book title. I re-read it again recently to prepare for TYDL. It made a huge impact on how I perceived my existential environment. And it’s so true. We are unable to evolve unless we untether from what no longer serves us.
Relationships, jobs, belongings, places: they all served us at one time. But to evolve on a daily basis we need to evaluate them all and ask the question: ‘Is this serving me now?’ If the answer that resonates is no, then it’s time to mourn the loss and let go.
Are you ready to let go of something?