Walking away from a situation for any given reason can be an overwhelming decision to make.
The grueling process of moving on demands seemingly contradictory ends: In trying to let go of whatever is fueling the need for change, we are forced to face that which we must release from our minds, our hearts, and our lives. This reflective, introverted state practically begs doubt and fear to crawl up our throats, and we begin to question. We question the what, the where, the why, and the how; we question the answers we find or create; we even question the very questions we ask.
One of the most unnerving questions I have asked myself is this: How do I know if my choice to let something go is rooted in weakness or in wisdom?
Leaving a situation in search of change can be a choice encouraged by fear or by strength. It seems that the outcome would be the same regardless of the intention; no matter the reason, we made the choice to walk away, right?
Right. But we’re human, which means that our intentions matter.
Our reasoning matters. They matter because our memories are marked by the thoughts and emotions through which we perceive life. So, if we try to let go of a situation out of fear, we try in vain; we continue into our futures lugging the remnants of weakness, ever-hanging above our heads.
If we let go as a result of strength and wisdom, we give ourselves the chance to be resiliently free.
But how exactly do we know? How can we trace our need for change to its core intention?
Tracking the journey of how we became who we are is yet another grueling process, and working backwards is the only way to discover how and when we clung to the idea of change at all. Letting go only happens upon acknowledging and accepting what was and what is.
Still, as appealing as it sounds, we can’t just let everything go; in fact, an unwillingness to go deeper and find the real “problems” can easily fall under the curious pretense that is “letting go.” It is fear that shields us from facing the pain that may coincide with discovering our true selves. In this case, letting go comes from a place of weakness, and it is the halfhearted awareness of our feeble state which curses us once we let fear dictate our lives, decision after decision.
Letting go becomes an action marked by weakness when we stop seeking the truth.
Letting go and giving up are entirely different courses of action; they lead to entirely different results, the events that dance around time, loosely stringing themselves together to make up our lives.
Sometimes, it is best to persevere, to persist despite our interpretation of circumstances, because our perception is always subject to change. If we take enough time to let things unravel and become more obvious, then we invite the situation to develop in its potential, for better or for worse.
And sometimes, to persevere and persist is to let go.
Letting go becomes a choice inspired by strength and wisdom when we seek the truth, accept it, and change ourselves accordingly, if we must. It is finding the courage in our cowardice, the beauty in our vileness, the calm in our chaos, and the vulnerability in our introversion.
When we act from fear, we let go of all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. We know we are weak. It is a heavy load we bear, until we collapse and try again.
When we act from strength, we let go of the unnecessary in order to make room for what awaits. We become wise. We know we are able to ease the strain of others, and so we do; when we see them collapse under the weight of their fears, it is our responsibility to help them stand again and carry the load for a little while, until they realize their own strength. Then, they can lighten their load and be of service to someone else.
I use the word “we” to describe both the weak and the strong, the fearful and the wise; please know that this is not a mistake. You and I, we fall under both categories—we all need someone to pick us up and help carry the load, just as we are obligated to be that someone for someone else.
We are weak, and we are wise.
And despite the pain of the process with each attempt to get up again, it brings us together. It gives us a purpose, for ourselves and for each other.
We question ourselves together.
We learn to let go by holding the hands of those who need us. We do it together.
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Editor: Dana Gornall
Photo Credit: Pixoto