Morning all fellow strollers of life's autumn leaf strewn footpath. Well last week I was talking about forgiveness, and how a big part of which was learning to let go. I think we’re probably all guilty of hanging on to things that hurt us, even if sometimes we’re not even aware of what it is that we’re hanging onto. How many times have you thought about letting go of some form of emotional baggage, thinking 'when I get this sorted, things going to be different, things will get better!'? The sad fact is that most of the time we don't actually get round to letting go of whatever it is, so we never get to escape from it.
The reason 'letting go' is so hard, is because most of the time what we have to let go of is not a person or a situation, but the part of ourselves that emerges when we think about that person or situation. The trouble being that it's not normally us who are in control of that particular person or situation. The only thing we are in control of is ourselves and how we deal with the emotions that go along with those people or things.
Real letting go begins with a kind of unraveling, where we start to recognise that what actually we need to let go of is the part of ourself that believes without that person, or without that situation we will somehow lose a part of ourselves and the stuff that makes us who we are.
Of course that’s the trouble with the human brain; our opinion of ourselves is often given to us by the people we surround ourselves with and the situations we find ourselves in. The trick is, to know what you really need to hold on to and what parts would be better with a bit of pruning.
A lot of the time we feel at a loss, not because something or someone has changed, but because we don’t know who we are without that person or situation that we seem so attached to. So in a way that person or situation was controlling us and defining our sense of self and purpose. From there, we have to try to learn how to give up the way we think about those things if we want to actually give up the pain or the problem that we have because of them.
Ok, so we understand our minds are sometimes wrong to hold on to things that are hurting us, but how do we actually go about getting rid of it? Generally speaking it’s never a good plan to hold a grudge. I doesn’t matter what anybody said or did to you, going around hating people or letting past experiences drive your future about is never going to solve anything.
Let's say you had a suitcase; and everywhere you went, you took your suitcase, and wherever you put the suitcase down, it unclipped itself and out sprung a large mechanical hammer and hit you on the head. Pretty soon you would want to get rid of that suitcase wouldn’t you?! Emotional baggage is exactly the same as that!
That’s exactly what we do! Emotional baggage is a part of us that we carry around, everywhere we go. We all have those idle moments where we thinking back on things, looking at situations, then judge ourselves and others by it, and all the time, whatever we do, without exception, we get another smack around the head by the content of our past.
All we need to do to start letting go of something, is to begin to realize that if we’re suffering by holding on to it. Squeezing it even tighter is only going to make the situation worse and really isn’t going to help.
Whatever it is, if you find yourself thinking “I hope this happens” or “I want things to turn out this way,” we are subconsciously putting promises in our head that if things work out the way we want everything will be fantastic! What we can’t see, is that the more we hold onto the idea of how things should be, the more we struggle with events as they might turn out.
Actually being aware of the things that we're hanging onto is only really the first step towards letting go of them, because if we are continually looking at situations and go over them again and again in our heads we’re not going forward at all. We’re just continually living over and over again in the past.
Day after day, if we think about it, we can see that the things we’ve been hanging onto are less and less important in the grand scheme of things. It’s a very long process because generally the amount of importance we attach to something is the degree to which we’re punishing ourselves with it! So let's start today by mentally shaking off those things that are holding us back, put them into perspective and look forward to a better tomorrow.
Do look after yourself, and each other.