Letting something or someone go can often be the most difficult thing that you have ever endured. I have always struggled with letting go of things out of my control. Sometimes that was a person I cared about or closing the door on a career choice that wasn’t meant to be anymore. Other times we can hold onto the pain that has been caused to us and are unable to forgive. Maybe you have witnessed something painful and are unable to let go and allow yourself to express the pain that you are feeling. As difficult as letting go may be, I’ve learned and grown so much as a person by letting go of the things outside my control.
We often create strong attachments to things that are always changing. Even within ourselves there is constant change, including our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Holding onto things too tightly can prevent us from moving forward.
There are many, many reasons why letting go is actually good for you. Below are some great reasons to let go of some of these unhealthy attachments.
1. You realize that you are in control of some things. Letting go of something outside of your control, helps you realize what you can control. You may not be in control of most things, but there are things you can control. You might realize that you can control your thoughts. You can seek personal development and improve your skills to help you get better opportunities in the future. You can put yourself out there and meet new people. You can set healthy boundaries with your loved ones. You can say no. You can also say yes. When you hold on tightly to what you can’t control, you significantly downplay the areas that are in your control and you may even be blind to them. Let go, and embrace the beautiful fact that there are many things in your control, even if this situation is not one of them.
2. What you desire is often not what you need or even want in the long term. For instance, many of us have had an unrequited crush or love. In many cases, as difficult as it may be to admit at the time, holding onto an unrequited love is like holding onto an ideal or a fantasy of a person. In your mind you put this person on a pedestal and create this fantasy of a relationship that you think may happen if this person ever returned your feelings. The reality is that you may not genuinely love this person. In many cases, if you had the opportunity for a relationship with this person, then the relationship wouldn’t even work out due to incompatibilities. When you let go of an unrequited love, you open yourself to a relationship filled with mutual love and that’s based in reality. Unrequited love is just one of many examples where letting go often shows us that what we desired is really not what will benefit us for the long haul. The same goes for bitterness and resentment. You may feel like you have to hold on tightly, to prove to yourself how much this situation hurt you. But letting go of those negative feelings helps you realize that you can be happier when you let go of negativity in your life.
3. You realize that things sometimes work themselves out when you let go of the uncontrollable. Looking back on the last decade of my life, I can honestly say I ended up getting much of what I wanted when I simply let go. Sure, these things didn’t happen on my timeline nor in a way that I ever would have predicted, but many of these things did indeed happen. Some things didn’t happen but I can honestly say it was for the best and would have prevented me from better opportunities that I could not even imagine at the time. Holding onto things outside of your control, makes you frantically try to alter the situation to work on your exact timeline and to work in the exact way you hope it would. Life has a funny way of allowing the things you want to happen, but not specifically on your timeline. You might end up getting that great job in a few years, when you have more experience. Letting go of a toxic friend, leaves room for healthier and happier friendships to blossom. The relationship with a toxic family member may improve in a couple of years when you walk away and establish healthy boundaries with that person. You are closer to finding the right partner for you when you let go of previous partners who didn’t value or love you. One door opens when another one closes.
4. You know your worth. This is particularly true when you let go of someone or a situation that is always hurting you. Immediately after letting go, you may feel intense pain and tempted to go back and hold on even tighter. But after those feelings pass, you get clarity on the situation and accept that you deserved so much better. Leaving a job that made you feel very unhappy helps you realize there are other career opportunities out there that are a better fit. Letting go of a partner you love helps you realize that she took you for granted, didn’t value you and mistreated you.
5. You learn to appreciate and value other things in your life. Letting go of the uncontrollable can help you reflect on the things that are going right in your life. Sure that opportunity didn’t work out, but there are many other amazing things in your life to be grateful and happy about. When you let go, you start to take notice of the supportive people in your life, the qualities you have to offer others, the daily things we often take for granted and other opportunities that you maybe didn’t notice before.
6. You can work on improving yourself. Once you start letting go, you can take a closer look within yourself. You might be sabotaging your own happiness when you hold on tightly. Not being able to let go, prevents you from exploring things within your own life that are holding you back. If you had a difficult time letting go of a friendship, you may want to explore why it was so hard for you to leave a toxic and one-sided friendship. Were you afraid to put yourself out there and meet new friends or reconnect with old ones? Do you have low self-esteem and felt that if this friend valued you, then that would prove you are a worthwhile person? Are you afraid of making changes in your life, and holding onto this friendship felt comfortable, safe and easy? Are you secretly fearful that you don’t deserve a good friendship and maintaining that friendship was another form of self-sabotage? When you cannot let go of a situation or person, you might be afraid of opening yourself up to change and challenging your own weaknesses and negative thoughts. Change involves taking an honest look within yourself and it’s difficult to change when we keep holding on.
7. You embrace acceptance and peace. Until you experience this wonderful sensation, you may not realize how uplifting and peaceful it feels to just accept that something is outside of your control. I’m not talking about the kind of acceptance that happens when you’ve had a few drinks and tell your friends that you are really over the situation and will let go. I’m not referring to the situation where maybe for a few hours or even a day, you feel really good and are ready to let go. I’m talking about truly accepting that you cannot change a situation and are ready to let go. True acceptance is not a temporary state of mind that lasts for just a few hours or days, and it certainly doesn’t happen because of external factors either. When you truly accept a situation and let go, you stop fighting, resisting, plotting, manipulating, overthinking and instead spend all that energy into moving forward in a positive and healthy way. As a result, you feel at peace, calm and ready for whatever life has to offer you.
8. You develop patience. One of the greatest benefits to letting go for me personally has been my ability to be patient. When I allowed myself to let go of the uncontrollable, I continued to be patient and see what happens organically. Instead of competing against some ridiculous timeline, I just gave my best self to any situation and allowed whatever is meant to happen, to happen in its own way.
9. You can understand. Letting go of bitterness, resentment or any negative situations, allows you to look back and understand what happened. The world is not black and white. You can be honest about what actions you made to allow a situation to happen or not happen. You allow yourself to develop tolerance and even listen to what others have been telling you. You might reflect on painful memories and seen the ways you have grown since that situation and forgive the people who have hurt you.
10. You allow something that controlled you, to stop controlling you. You can free yourself of a toxic cycle or of bitterness that paints the world in a negative light. The thing you cannot let go of is controlling you. This can be difficult to accept, especially if you have been holding onto something for a long period of time. You may perceive your reality to always have this situation, person or bitterness always in your life. The great news, is that whatever your situation involves, you don’t have to have a life that includes being controlled by this feeling or situation. When you let go, you realize that your life is actually more amazing, healthy and stress-free in ways you never imagined when you truly let go.
11. You start ditching bad habits that prevent you from moving forward. When you hold onto the uncontrollable, you probably have developed some negative behaviors as a result. You might constantly gossip or talk badly about a person who hurt you. You might refuse to meet new people because of trust issues. Or you might feel resistant to being open and vulnerable with your loved ones, to try and prevent yourself from getting hurt even though those very actions prevent you from being open to love. Negative thoughts can take over as you constantly question why you haven’t been able to get what you desire no matter how hard you try. You develop a pattern of overthinking and obsession as you try to manipulate a situation into what you desire. As you let go, these negative patterns of behaviour will gradually diminish and even disappear completely. When you let go, you realize and accept that you were embracing bad habits that ultimately were holding you back. You make room for positive behaviors instead.
When you let go, you become more secure in yourself. You also realize that life isn’t black and white. Situations change. The world changes and people change around you. As a result, you need to be willing to be flexible, walk away from a situation that isn’t working for you and gain a better understanding of yourself and the people around you throughout this process. Letting go is a process. You may be able to let some things go, but struggle with letting other things go. That’s okay. It’s a process but as you keep letting things go, you will become better at letting go of all kind of things.