Figuring out how to let go is one of the hardest things to do. We have so many hopes, dreams, and expectations, and they all mean a lot to us! But after all the crying and gnashing of teeth, we get to a point where we want to be able to move forward. Sometimes we struggle with knowing how to understand what has happened enough to let go of some frustration, anger, and hurt.
Letting go is harder the more important our hope was to us.
Maybe a relationship with a friend or loved one meant a lot to you. Maybe it was an opportunity you really felt was the next step in your life. Maybe it’s the direction of a group you were involved in. The more it meant to you, the harder it is to understand what happened and accept the outcome. Acceptance, of course, is not approval: we don’t have to like that something happened to be able to say “ok, I’m going to stop trying to change what has already happened.” But where can we find our peace, even in that acceptance?
Understanding that everything has a lifespan can bring peace.
This is a bit of a metaphor, but everything has a lifespan. Let’s look at a business: there was the time the business idea was conceived, and the company came into being. There were the early days, and then there were the ways things adjusted for growth and time. Companies tend to change as they grow, and many changes happened to adapt. Traditions for the employees came and went. And, at some point, perhaps the company becomes a different company with a different name all together. Maybe it ends and closes. I’m sure there are people at the end of it all who fight to try and keep it going, but the longer they fight the more it all falls apart: it’s time for it to end. The same flow is true for relationships, for ideas, and even our favorite television shows. The challenge is letting it go gracefully.
Respecting these lifespans helps us balance complicated emotions.
If I understand everything has its lifespan, I can appreciate good times while also having space to express concern or frustration for parts that were a problem for me. I don’t have to say, “it was great and it should’ve stayed that way forever and I am angry it didn’t.” I don’t have to stubbornly claim everything was positive and block out my experiences of pain or annoyance. I also don’t have to let any negativity wash out things I might have enjoyed. Everything has its place, and I get to respect my whole experience.
Now, of course, just knowing this doesn’t make it easy to do! Moving forward and thinking of big picture life spans can be a process we have to deliberately practice. Sometimes we need a supportive space to voice our initial impressions and feel validated before we are ready to move forward. Absolutely reach out to us if you think a JEM clinician can support you in this work! And in the meantime, be good to you.