Letting go is rarely easy, whether you’re letting go of a person, a way of being, a plan you’ve been working, or an idea you’ve had about yourself, someone else, or the world at large. As Mumford and Sons so accurately stated, “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” When we’re invested, opening to the idea that we have to loosen our grip to allow something new to emerge takes a lot of courage.
Not long ago, a guy wrote in with extreme anxiety over telling his parents he wanted to drop out of medical school. He’s in his sixth year, and they both saved every penny for years so he could pursue this dream. His dad had two jobs, and they never went on vacations or added onto their house or treated themselves in any way, but everything in him is pulled to do something else, and the weight of the guilt is crushing him as is the anger over feeling trapped. He wishes he’d realized sooner so he could have spoken up years ago, but it took this long for him to accept it himself. Now he’s afraid to tell them, he can’t sleep, can’t eat much of anything, and feels miserable every day.
I get emails from people who are in relationships that aren’t growing and don’t feel right, but they feel stuck because they’ve been together for so long. I’m not one to suggest bailing on something if there’s any hope to revive it. I’m big on giving it everything you’ve got, especially if children are involved, and even if they aren’t, but if a thing is dead, it’s dead. If you’re living in a house with someone you don’t even know anymore and there isn’t any hope for love or connection, kindness or compassion, then I’m not sure how anyone can flourish, blossom or even feel seen. So many people feel invisible. Discarded.
Sometimes you have an idea about yourself that might be really old. Maybe it wasn’t even your idea in the first place. It could be something you heard and internalized along the way. I get emails from people who were told as children that they were stupid or worthless or not measuring up, and they accepted that as truth; now it’s their own inner dialogue. Letting go of ideas like that is essential if you ever want to be at peace.
Fear of the unknown can be so overwhelming it stops you dead in your tracks. The brain might be stuck on a trajectory (“I’m going to be a doctor”), while the heart is crying out for something else and all the can’ts and shouldn’ts and reasons why it isn’t possible to shift gears come flooding in, and create paralysis.
Any time you’re thinking about a big change, it’s good to move slowly. You know in your heart if something has come to its conclusion. You may fight against what you know for quite awhile, but if you know it, eventually you’re going to have to figure out how to accept what you know. Fighting the truth is absolutely exhausting, and it’s also painful because you’re betraying yourself. You’re trying to function in a vise grip. Just getting out of bed becomes a feat. It’s not sustainable, and if you try for too long to deny your own reality, you’ll make yourself sick. I mean that physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Once you allow your mind to go ahead and imagine a different path you’ll find a deep part of you relaxes. Maybe your shoulders have been up around your ears for months. Maybe you haven’t taken a really deep breath for a long time. Maybe this is the moment.
Sending you love,