The Art of Letting Go

Isn’t it interesting that sometimes when a lesson is delivered it arrives in multiple forms and usually saturates every element of our existence until we pay attention?

That was my experience this week. For the last seven days it has really hit home to me that there is a finite line that exists between the importance of hanging on and letting go, in all aspects of our lives.

For example, sometimes in order to succeed, in order to grow and move forward or to express our authentic selves, a certain amount of grit, determination and digging in of the heels is required. It is in those times, when we know we really want or believe in something and the Universe is telling us contrary, we tend to hold on with all of our might and prove that we will make it happen.

From an early age it was impressed upon me to be tenacious and relentless in pursuit of what it is that I wanted to achieve in my life. That advice has been beneficial for me in a number of ways and is certainly something I am grateful for.

However, as I have grown older and hopefully just a little bit wiser, I have found that there is also a beautiful grace and peacefulness in learning to let go of things that were never truly ours to have, and things that were also not ours to control.

Letting go willingly, genuinely and without anxiety or fear.

The ability to release things that do not serve us, or were never meant for us, is particularly difficult to master when most of us perceive letting go of things as some sort of failure.

I know for myself, I had always thought it best to fight tooth and nail for the people, things, ideals and dreams that I held close to my heart. I still believe that there is nothing wrong with having the courage of your convictions.

What I refer to here is something different…

A recent period of immense growth has enabled me to see that there is a happy medium between letting go of absolutely everything and forging forward with everything, and that reaching the middle point is often where true contentment is found.

Some battles are not worth fighting, just like some people and situations are not worth fighting for. Our ability to choose between the two is paramount in determining our enjoyment and quality of life.

In order to successfully let go, we need to exercise a certain amount of faith. Faith in ourselves to determine when to push forward, backwards or sidewards and when to release, let go and walk away.

Faith in the Universe that it has our back and will deliver us what we need when we need it.

Faith that things are always working out for us even though we may not understand it at the time.

It is no secret that the best managers and leaders in business, particularly in the modern world, have an ability to let go of the reins and delegate to those around them without fear of what will happen if they are not entirely responsible for the subsequent outcome.

In personal relationships oftentimes the more control you exert over the people and situations around you, the more you hang onto them and your expectations of what they should and shouldn’t be and do, the less successful they generally are and the less happy individual parties often become.

The biggest realisation I have had however, is that if we don’t allow the proverbial doors in our life to close when they are organically meant to, we are actually preventing the right ones from opening in the same fashion.

This takes courage. However, what a tragedy it is for us to stand in the way of our own happiness, success and progress because we are hanging on so tightly to all the things that weren’t even meant to be ours in the first place.

I have always operated under the impression that we should control what it is that we are able to, and let go of the things that we aren’t. The last year has taught me that even those things that we can, we often shouldn’t anyway. Some things are genuinely better when we leave them alone and let them unfold in ways we may have never expected they would.

Therein lies the magic of life.

If you can relate to the above, you have likely been in situations that are similar to my own past experiences. Making decisions out of fear of the future, fear of failure or getting it wrong and exercising little faith that everything would work out as it was meant to.

It is such an empowering feeling, to relinquish control over certain aspects of our lives and just enjoy the ride that follows. I am not sure if there is any freedom experienced like that of the person who throws themselves into the universal flow of life without fear of the unknown and what it will bring.

Rather than seeing situations as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, perhaps we can look at them objectively as just another part of the journey, as things that come and go freely and moments that don’t last forever. In this way, they hold less power over us and are less able to affect us or influence the ongoing state of our being.

Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. I truly believe that to let go is a skill to be learned in itself, in that it is mastered by few, takes practice, focus and dedication.

I for one, would certainly rather my life to be a work of art, created by myself in conjunction with destiny, and full of beautiful and unexpected moments that I could never have manufactured single handedly. Especially not whilst hanging on to all of those that were not right or meant for me.

As Eckhart Tolle put it – “Sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than defending or holding on.”

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