letting go

Sometimes, I wish letting go of things was as easy as it sounded. It can actually be pretty challenging.

I recently described to you this metaphor, specifically “a box of crap,” and I illustrated how I was inspired to throw it away. The box of crap can hold all kinds of things, and eventually I will explain some of what mine holds.

Rather than address the contents of my box now, I want to bring attention to its presence in the first place and offer more comments on why I could no longer keep it.

To start, I think a major part of letting go of anything is an internal shift. When we let something go, I think we have to prepare to release it for real, and sometimes for good. It doesn’t mean it never happened, it just means that it’s not still happening in our heads and hearts. We are no longer held captive to it, and we are released from the tight grip that it can have on our thoughts and feelings.

For some, the private logic that goes on inside of us can be really negative and disheartening, thoughts like “no one loves me.” or “I am never good enough.” And from the outside, this may seem pretty obvious as something to let go. That’s easier said than done of course.

For me, my private logic was a more pleasant-seeming and adaptive logic that I used to cope with life. It was like a set of training wheels that was really useful for a period of time.  It fostered my growth and enhanced my performance. For where I was, I needed it then. Without it, I would have been incredibly unstable and without some necessary support. Ironically, it got me a lot farther than where I initially imagined, but it kept me from going beyond to where I am headed now.

I don’t know if you remember the day you rode a bike without training wheels for the first time, but I remember my day. I was pretty nervous about falling off the bike, unsure if I could make it. Once I did though, it felt great. Not only was I able to do it, I felt so much better about myself because I actually saw how I had outgrown the training wheels and had proven to myself that I didn’t need them anymore.

Unfortunately, I have not always felt this way about growing up. Sometimes, it’s nice to just stick with what’s familiar and keep things cozy and comfy. I wasn’t anti-growth per se; I was just really pro-comfort. Some might say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and I can see where this logic is useful and sensible.

The truth is though that in the case of the box of crap, that thing is somehow broke and at the same time really useful for many situations. Consequently, I could defend keeping it since it was working most of the time.

It wasn’t until the moment that it didn’t work and I saw myself and my own incongruence that I had to reconsider the logic. It was at that point that letting go became more than just an option or an opportunity; it became optimal for me to let go. And thus, change became possible.

Realistically speaking, change is much more of a process than an event. Practically, I’m not entirely done changing because of this internal shift. I am changing though, and that particular shift was noteworthy for me personally.

That shift of letting go didn’t mean that a box of crap never existed or that the experiences connected to its presence never occurred. It meant and means that I am deciding that the crappy box will no longer define my current or future status.

It also means that talking about the contents of said box is a lot less anxiety-inducing and a lot more life-bringing. That talk is for another day though.

Love Love Love,

Jesse

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