Learning To Let Go
Listening to music has always been part of my life. Growing up with elder sisters who love music made me appreciated music the more, most especially the lyrics. Brandy’s “Have you ever” was one of my favourite, and still remain so. The lyrics of the song is so deep and emotional.
Have you ever love somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad, you can’t sleep at night?
Have you ever tried to find the words, but they don’t come around?
Have you ever, Have you ever?
Have you ever found the one you have dreamed of all your life?
You’d do just anything to look into their eyes.
Have you finally found the one you’ve given your heart to?
Only to find that one won’t give their heart to you.
Have you ever closed your eyes and dreamed that they were there?
And all you can do is to wait for the day when they will care.
It is very hard to let go of people and situations even when they are out of our control. Hearts have been shattered, homes broken, lives wasted and the future destroyed because of the inability to let go. The stronger the emotion and longing, the harder it is to let go. Love is one vivid example that everyday defy the will power to exercise this sublime act of letting go of the unattainable.
Why is it hard to let go? It is hard because the desired object is tied to our person: our mind, heart and will. It is hard because it involves a conscious choice, for we must decide to voluntary detach ourselves. The kind of letting go that involves a conscious choice versus a physical action, can be extremely challenging and scary. It can also be painful as hell if it is not something we are ready to do; especially if the mind and heart are singing two different songs.
The story of the fall of man in the book of Genesis according to various biblical commentaries, seasoned preachers and anointed men of God circles around temptation and disobedience. re mostly the main reason given for the fall of man. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and thus they disobeyed God’s injunction not to eat the forbidden fruit.
However, underlying the temptation and disobedience was the inability of Adam and Eve to let go of the beautiful fruit in the middle of the garden, the fruit that was a delight to the eyes. There were other fruits all around them, but they longed in their hearts for that which was before their eyes yet beyond their reach; thus when the occasion came, they fell. They couldn’t let go of the forbidden fruit thus it tempered the will to resist and made the fall easy.
Letting Go and Living On
It is natural to hold onto things that make us feel good. We typically also hold onto things that once brought us pleasure, joy, happiness or some form of self-worth, and self-validation. It is understandable to want to hold onto things that at one point used to make us feel better about ourselves. We create an emotional attachment to these things, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but at some point, they run their course and lose their relevance in our lives. If what we are holding onto is no longer a valid option for our life, holding onto them will become a burden.
At some decisive periods of our lives, we will have to make the hard decision to denounce some things, to forget and forgo them for the enhancement and betterment of our lives as human person. Letting go creates space for fresh beginnings: stripping us of the ills of yesterday, and enabling the doors of brand new opportunities to open.
Relationship and Marriage
Letting go in relationships and marriage entails discarding all forms of attachment and feelings that have previously shaped and enhanced our lives such that revisiting them will make our present state of life toxic.
The beauty of enjoying life in fulsome circles around relationships, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances; they make life so beautiful and special. For every failed relationship, the human person experiences feelings of heartbreak and depression. A good relationship is hard to call off. The desire to be happy makes us engage in various relationships, especially in sexual relationships where we find ourselves getting attached to a host of persons for different reasons. However at the end of the day, we would only settle down with one person as our life partner.
A lady let go of other suitors so as to be attached to just one person. This letting go of the feelings she has for others and pouring it on just one person makes love and marriage work out well. However if she is not ready to let go of her other relationships because she enjoys a certain form of affection from them, she would not be able to focus on one suitor.
Result of attachment to others always lead to late marriage and sometimes, the inability to get married. A man wants a lady that is classic, beautiful, intelligent, social and yet godly. A woman wants a man that is handsome, wealthy, caring, good in bed and faithful. The truth is that we cannot find all the good attributes we want in just one man or woman, we definitely will find one or more of these attribute in different people, each lacking what the other has in abundance.
A person who cannot let go will definitely want to keep the company of various lovers in order to enjoy the good attributes each of them possesses. This is the reason behind multiple lovers, joggling various partners and finding it hard to stick to one person. The inability to resist clinging to all of them definitely will lead to weakening the will power to attain a stable relationship with one partner
Letting go in religion is about accepting what is happening right now, trusting in what we have placed our hope and not worrying about what will come up tomorrow.
The first step in religion is profession. To be a true believer, one needs to profess belief in the religion or the God of the religion. Profession always do entail a renunciation of other beliefs, faith and practices and clinging sole to the new.
In Christianity, we see Christians who profess belief and faith in God, yet visit other places and houses of magic, witchcraft, traditional witch doctors and the likes. They really do want to belong to the Christian fold, but they just cannot let go of the other places. We may excuse them on the fact that they want to have the benefits of both, however we do know that they are rather on the losing side.
The beauty of religion lies in single mindedness of heart and faith. Even the scriptures tell us about the end result of the double mindedness (Rev 3:16).
Family and Parents
Letting go here deals with the ability to detach the self from what has previously been part of us and which defines our person. It drives at the ability not to cling too much, but rather to learn to free those dear to us.
Parenting is one odious task but it is also fulfilling. Parents do get so attached to their children that they dictate everything about their lives. Children lives are fashioned by their parents; some parents go as far as to choose the careers, occupations and even life partners for their children. This attachment gets so strong that when the proper time for their children to pursue their lives and family comes, they find it hard to separate themselves from them.
I have encountered a number of females who complain about their dating and married partner’s mothers. Recently I saw a tweet by a female saying “I don’t understand mother’s obsession with their sons…go and marry them then,” another female responded “My girl’s mother in-law went on their honeymoon with them.”
Parents and children should naturally have this strong bond, however, parents should realize that the moment of physical separation will definitely come, this will be accompanied by another bonding with their spouses and then their own individual families.
Attachment brings about undue intervention by parents in their children’s marriage; exercising control over their affairs, influencing family decisions and dictating how the family finances should be managed.
Parents who keep their married children under their protective canopy, within the radius of their control and subjective to them decisions for them are plagued by over attachment. They have not learnt the lessons of letting go and freedom. When parents fail to let go, they will have to learn it the hard way, for they cannot always be available for their children.
Life and death
Letting go as regards the imminent end of life in death has to do with an appreciation of life and the acceptance of death as an event beyond our control of which we should submissively accept the outcome.
Life is so good and beautiful that the thought of ever leaving the world brings instant sadness. We cling to life and to the world as if we won’t ever leave it. Even with the assurance of death, there exist in our mind that probability that ours will be different. Our proclamation and acceptance of death rest on the lips, our disposition contradicts what we profess.
The secret to letting go lies in living worthy lives so that when the hour of death comes, we will heartily surrender ourselves to eternal life and let go of the physical world. At the hour of death we see great regret and lament, we see the inability to forgo our earthly possessions, the desire to cheat death, to buy death over.
Letting go when death comes will make our passage to eternal life smooth and fulfilling. When we cling on to life and it is forcefully taken, we are down with pain and regret even to the last minute. However if we have learnt to let go, we will peacefully commend ourselves to the care of God and place our trust in the hope of resurrection and eternal life.
Life in General
Letting go is a choice to decide that you will no longer ruminate on things that are out of your control, and focus on what you can control, instead. It involves much more than just saying you have let go. It is an internal process that must happen for you to truly feel better and get on with life in a healthy way.
Cultivating the ability to let go of things, situations, emotions and people will be an added advantage to achieving a healthy life style and for navigating through life successfully.
In life, people will offend us, accuse us and step on our toes; we just have to let go. If we decide to cling onto every wrong that is melted on us; we will be filled with so much bitterness and vengeance.
Corruption and vices are a result of clinging to the needless, basking in the euphoria of wrong and not trying to let go of them.
Overcoming Unnecessary Attachment
First, we have to control our mind, learn to subject our heart to the dictates of reasoning, and keep tabs on our actions. When we have all these in check, it will be easy to reason properly and know when to hang on and when to give up and let go.
Second, we have to get it all out, to purge ourselves of all negative and toxic emotions that we find hard to let go. With this we will be able express our emotions in a healthy way. Once the negatives are out, we will be able to reach out to seek the positives.
Third, is the ability to accept what comes our way. Accepting situations that life and chance brings across our path is key to letting go. Once we have expanded our energy, time and resources and yet things do not work according to our plans, acceptance is the best way to deal with and come out strong out of such situations.
Fourth, we just have to learn the virtue of forgiveness. Letting go involves forgiveness, to forgive all that have offended us and also to ourselves for our mistakes and wrong choices. Forgiveness entails a new beginning, a detachment from the old and an embrace of the new.
Fifth, it is important that we stay in the present. Attachment makes us dwell in the past, act in the past and order our lives according to our past. Living in the present is important because the present is all we have; and we need to make the best of what we have forgetting about what we had and have lost.
Sixth, we need to learn how to relinquish control. It is natural to want to be in control, to order things according to our desires and make sure that they are set in motion. However, when we are always in control, it is hard to face denial and setbacks. The desire to get through with what we have started hold us down and make us cling recklessly to things that are beyond our reach. When we learn to relinquish control, we are able to let go.
It is important to know that when we cling onto things, we get stuck to them. The interesting thing about being stuck; whether on a person, memories from a past pathway in life, an idea for the self, a career, possessions, or grudges; is that many people don’t realize they are in fact, stuck. No progress, no movement and no change in the situation; stagnancy is the prevalent state of life. One who understands this will surely not want to cling on and be stuck.