“Happiness is when, what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
I want to start with the relationship aspect because I think that’s a big part of what people think about when someone uses the phrase “letting go” and because whenever you’re giving so much of yourself to one particular individual, you are going to run the risk of losing yourself in the process and the art of letting go is a bit more complex in that scenario than to be letting go of other people you come across throughout the course of your life.
So to speak to the relationship side of it, I’ll use myself as an example. I tend to go in the direction of people that I feel need to be fixed. They need help. They have broken pieces that need mending and because my fulfillment is achieved through helping people, this likely makes sense.
Well, what I’ve realized over the course of several relationships and throughout the last few years of my life is this - whenever I start investing my emotions, my time, and my mental state of mind into waking up in the morning and wanting to help them become who they want to be, I completely lose sight of the person that I want to be in the process. Even more mundane, I become someone who is a mirror image of them and less of myself. If you don’t know who you are, then how in the world will you know if you’re someone that is going to help them continue down this path that you’ve helped them to find.
If there is one thing I have learned when it comes to relationships, it is this: whatever you think that you’re going to have, however you think that you’re going to meet the person you’re with or find a friendship or whatever you think is going to happen is probably not going to happen. You need to accept the fact that relationships and friendships are going to be a bit different than what you have.
Tying it into the next point — don’t have expectations of the outcome. Don’t invest your emotions and don’t be invested as an individual in the outcome of a situation. Whenever you have an expectation or you think that something is going to turn out a certain way and you have in the back of your mind an emotion attached to that outcome and that outcome doesn’t happen, you’re immediately disappointed because it’s different than what you had anticipated versus having no expectations at all.
We have to begin accepting that the people we meet are exactly who they are meant to be in that chapter of their life. Don’t go into a situation assuming that because there are qualities about a person that you may or may not want to change at some point, that it’s what they want to do. Don’t assume that the things you think would make them an ideal human for you as a friend, as a partner, etc. or how they would be just perfect to fill a specific role in your life.
And as long as you’re not wanting somebody to come into your life and change, you don’t expect that somebody else is going to willingly let you do that for them. Accept each person as exactly who they’re meant to be and get to know that person. If you think it’s one that parallels with who you are and the direction that you’re going,
(if you’re not sure, spend some time and you’ll realize pretty soon on)
but don’t invest in the outcome of that relationship or friendship or think that it has to end up a certain way in order for you to continue on your journey.
Don’t live your life in chains when you’ve got the key.
And by that I mean — yeah, you have the ability to separate yourself from situations, from people that might not be contributing in a positive way to your life. So you have somebody who is just negative all the time, who’s always upset, who’s going through sh*t, who just always wants to complain about everything that they could possibly come up with under the sun. Right? And, I will take a step back for a moment and acknowledge the fact that there are those in our lives that will go through things that will be emotionally distraught — those that will bring a lot of challenge to your mindset. So when that happens, you want to compartmentalize the time that you allow yourself to give to those individuals.
Well, what I mean by that is you want to allow yourself to give them the attention they may need to seek solace or to get things off of their chest, but encourage them to pursue another method of resolution. So while I am happy to be a listening ear, to encourage you and motivate you and fill a role that you might need me to for a brief period of time, you can’t invest yourself to the point where you are what’s keeping them grounded, if that makes sense.
So if you feel that someone is “binding you”, grounding you into a point in your life or a place that you don’t think is as ideal for you, use your key and break those chains open. Guys, you don’t have to stay. But you can also do this in a very elegant and graceful way. The art of letting go is a very important life lesson to know and how to do that properly.
The thought that you can control others’ actions.
Tying this back to where I mentioned a few moments ago, you can’t change someone that doesn’t want to be changed and you shouldn’t want to change somebody. Now it’s different if somebody comes to you and says, “I want to grow” or “I want to become a better person.” You are somebody that I could see as a mentor, as somebody that would complement the changes that I’m trying to implement in my life that I’m hoping fuel growth in the future. Those are the things…those are the kinds of individuals that you want to surround yourself with.
So I want to tie in a quote because I think that this is the biggest challenge that people have that makes it difficult to let go.
What I am about to say is the number one thing that keeps us from letting go…
We worry about what other people think of us rather than only worrying about what we think of ourselves.
We are so concerned about how that person is going to think of us or what we’re going to do to them that we are so willing to lose ourselves in the process so much so as to create a false illusion of who we are.
“Happiness is when, what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
When we revisit our mindsets and say to ourselves/say to that person in front of us, “I am so glad that you came into my life because you have taught me things about myself that were important for me to know. You have helped me to become a better person, but at this point in time, I feel that we are on different paths and I don’t want to hinder your growth and your future accomplishments and your achievement of your immediate goals in the near future…because I’m going in a different direction. I don’t want to create confusion in where you’re headed, but I am happy to meet you at the finish line if we end up in the same place.” That’s the kind of mindset that we have to have.
We can’t have this mindset or this headspace of, “Oh God, but we were friends for so long. We’ve been through this. We’ve been through that. I invested so much time.”
That is the biggest thing. Aside from us being afraid of what they’re going to think, we give weighted thought to the time that we invested. Time is our most valuable asset because it is the one thing you cannot trade nor get more of. You can’t go back and alter you. You’ve got what you’ve got and that’s it. You’ve got a certain bank of a certain amount of minutes every single day when you wake up and it’s either going to fill the whole day or it’s not depending on how fate is looking for you. Regardless, what we need to understand is that each person who comes into our lives, does so for a reason and sometimes it’s only for a season.
For that, I am thankful, gracious and have tried to gracefully discontinue the relationships in my life because I have felt that they were not fueling the growth that I was looking to achieve in the very near future. I understood and acknowledged the fact that I only have so much time and mine might be less than theirs. So while I’m sitting here so worried about what they think or how they feel or how their time is going to be spent after I make this decision to end the relationship, engagement, friendship, whatever it is with them, I’m running out of the time that I’ve got left. So it’s important that we be selfish in the right moments in our lives and that we acknowledge the fact that letting go is literally just another part of it and letting go is as graceful and as kind and as clean as you want it to be or it’s as messy and traumatic as you make it. Keep that in mind too. The art of letting go guys is different for everybody and with everybody. It is never going to be consistent or the exact same from one to the other.
Ultimately you guys, if someone is challenging your positivity and your growth and your sanity and your self love and your ability to be proud of who you are, cut them out of your life. Cut them out by saying, “I don’t feel like this friendship or this relationship is beneficial to me. I don’t feel like our conversations are constructive anymore. I don’t feel like I am able to love myself, like I feel I love myself because of the environment that the toxicity between us creates.” And it’s okay to admit, and more often than not, the other person probably feels the same way, but one of you was too fearful to admit it up until this point. That’s how many end up wasting a lot of time.
I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become. Carl Jung
And this is what happens after you let go. People let go for a lot of reasons. People let go because it is toxic, because they’re on different paths, maybe they’ve just lost interest in being friends with them. Maybe their interests are different. Maybe you’ve just simply grown up and in different directions. That’s all right. But whatever you choose to become as a result of those beginnings and ends, that is who you are.