What does ‘Letting Go’ mean and why is it so hard? We are creatures of habit. We are committed to others. That’s how we are built as humans, so it’s hard to let go of a relationship with a person, a business, or a habit. We are driven to be loyal. What do we do when that loyalty does not align with our personal goals? Do we let go of certain habits or people to be successful?
I wonder if it’s loyalty or is it fear? We call it commitment and loyalty when we are actually staying in our comfort zone. We would rather complain about a person in our lives or a habit that is hindering us than do something about it. We feel attached to that internal angst and think it drives us when it is what holds us back. I find being uncomfortable and positive at the same time are the keys to a growth mindset, which is key to the change we need to reach our next goal or level in our journey. But no, typically we would rather complain and sulk than change and grow.
We are so focused on the result that we forget the true joy of loving and living in the moments of growing. Ralph Waldo Emerson is often attributed with the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” but he never said this. In an essay, titled: Experience, this is what he said, “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” What does he mean by this and how can it help us consider our steps in our journey? I think it means that having goals is wonderful but not being rigid about those goals is essential. Enjoy the steps along the way, and you may be surprised where the journey takes you. And whoever said, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” was on to something, too.
If you find a relationship or a habit is no longer benefitting you, then commit yourself to the change that is necessary to let that relationship or habit go. I know it’s easier said than done and there are some relationships that you cannot let go of due to the importance of the person in the relationship: a boss at a great job, a friend that you truly love and care for, or the comfort of the midnight bowl of chocolate ice cream after a long day and evening of work that seems endless or papers that do not grade themselves. Wait that seems super specific on the ice cream front, so I better explain. I have a terrible habit of eating ice cream at midnight. I had to set myself up for success by not having ice cream in the house and choose to do some yoga when stressed instead of my lovely ritual of eating ice cream. Oh, and there it is, ritual — that comfort. It’s hard to let go of those things. No matter how terrible they are for us. Guess what I found when I stopped eating my beloved ice cream late at night. I slept better, and I felt better the next day. Imagine what life would be like without the unhealthy habit you’ve been trying to break or the relationship that is dragging you down.
How do you start? Find different people to hang out with and learn from them. Try listening to some new inspirational people like Mel Robbins; her work on self-improvement and her book the 5 Second Rule is life changing. Or Brené Brown and her research on vulnerability and being brave; especially her TedTalk and her books from the past two years. Start listening to people and reading books that challenge your current perspective. Stay true to yourself. Discover all the facets of who you are and who you can be by challenging the status quo and letting go of things that are not growing you.