“The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go of the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.” – Seneca
Letting go is an essential practice to maintaining balance and inner peace. It is a cycle of surrendering, acceptance, having faith and self-love. This cycle is not something we do once but a cycle we must repeat everyday, maybe even numerous times a day, due to the incessant chatter of the mind. The voice in our head will continue to chatter in hopes of bringing us back to a place of self-doubt, fear and control.
So what are we letting go of? Whether it’s a relationship we are trying to make work, a job we really want or of what people think of us, we are letting go of trying to control the outcome of our desires.
Desires are good, they motivate us, but sometimes life has a different, better plan for us… So, when do we know when it is the right time to let go? When our ego is running the show and our self-worth is at stake. This is usually the time that letting go seems like the least possible scenario. This is when letting go is necessary so we do not lose touch with ourselves.
Let’s take a look at five of the most common reasons we tend to cling onto our desires instead of surrendering and letting go:
Usually we are resisting change when we are stepping into the unknown. Let’s face it, the unknown is scary – we have no clue what to expect. This is a totally normal feeling! This is where reason #2 comes in…
2. Lack of FAITH.
As a society, we are always looking for external gratification. We tend to have a lack of faith in our abilities, our worthiness as well our universe. This lack of faith will always bring us back to that dark place of fear, shame and control.
3. GUILT and SHAME.
Shame – that pesky feeling of, ‘I’m not good enough’ will keep us sticking around instead of letting go when the time is right. Shame allows us to inter-tangle our self-worth with our desires and the outcome can be crushing for our self-esteem. Guilt on the other hand, will make us question our actions and hold us back due to the thought that letting go = betrayal. Letting go is not betrayal; it is practicing self-love. These feelings of guilt, per Melody Beattie’s, The Language of Letting Go, are “Just after burn. Let them burn out.”
Let me clarify, the beliefs I am referring to are those beliefs that stem from our ego (the ones self-constructed and linked to our self-image). For example, the belief that we would have control of the situation if we were ___ (smart enough, pretty enough, taller, thinner etc.). This is why it is important to step back and be able to identify and witness the Ego at work and stop it in its tracks.
Sometimes it is not the time for us to let go. For some reason, there is a lesson the universe is trying to teach us before we are able to let go, learn our lesson and move on. When the time in right, trust we will know…
So now, how do we let go when it is so difficult? Stay present. Listen to your heart. Then literally let go. I know it sounds hard, but this is one process we have total control over. Just like you have total control over the ability to let go of a physical object and let it drop it to the floor, you can let go of your desires, detach emotionally and walk away. Will your mind bother you about your decision to let go? You bet! Just ignore it… it will go away.
There is a tremendous amount of freedom and power that comes with letting go. We all have a choice – we can either:
“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen proverb
The choice is yours.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
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