The Evolution of Letting Go

I found that the more I let go of what I could not control, the more I was able to control. The distance was hard at first—you know, the whole separation thing. Your whole life you’re used to holding on, to making an effort to keep it all intact, and to willingly distance yourself, to walk away from what you know and how you know it, well, the lack of control isn’t easy. But you find the further it gets away, whatever you let go, the more you are able to see it on a larger scale. Many times I didn’t see the bad parts about what I was letting go until I watched it float away. Thoughts, people, ideas, feelings, ways of living. They floated on, just as I did. They drifted into the realms of other people and other lives, other worlds and other experiences, just like me. And once they were gone—I mean really, truly, no more faded yellow glow of taillights in the distance, gone—I found that I was better off without them. I was not better because of their lack of presence but rather I was better for being able to recognize the hurt more than the help, able to anticipate long-term hurt and ignore short-term satisfaction.

The funny thing about letting go is the space that it leaves at first. In the beginning, all you see, and more than anything, all you feel is a hole. A big, empty part of you that was not meant to be filled by anything else. For in the uncertain beginnings of letting go, we are blinded by the newness of not having what we held onto for so long. It becomes hard to see anything ahead of us. We are so used to that space being filled by the familiar that we reject anything that could possibly take up any of that precious room. Sometimes our rejection is subtle in the sense that we do not even reject consciously. We tolerate the could-be’s without acknowledging the potential good they could hold for us. We tolerate and tolerate and tolerate, without really allowing. But there reaches a point when mere toleration is not enough—when we crave something more, and this is when we truly begin to let go. When new experiences are no longer an obstacle standing between us and the notion that the past could continue into our future, but these experiences become our future, we have begun to let go. We begin to see that we are less than the potential that rises in front of us, much more than the sum of our past experiences, and powerful beyond measure.

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