As I mentioned in the last post, we've recently relocated across the country, which is why I haven't posted in a while. While we were packing our things for our cross-country trek I looked through my bookcase for a few books to read on the way, and I came across a true gem that I hadn't read in a while. It's a book by Melody Beattie, one of my favorite all-time authors, called The Language of Letting Go
As I read her beautiful words once again, I thought about the whole idea of letting go. And what the point is. And how that helped me when I was doing everything except letting go. And I wanted to share some thoughts on that with you here. Because what I realized letting go is really all about, is control. The control we believe or think we have over situations, people and circumstances. Because the reality is, we really don’t have control over almost everything outside of ourselves. But the other part of that reality is, we really do have control over what we think and do about things within ourselves. And that’s why letting go is so difficult to do.
In her book, Melody Beattie defined letting go in this sense that we're talking about, as the process that happens when we stop looking at the past or the future, but instead focus on our reality today and how that frees us up to let life happen without struggling so hard to control outcomes that we really have no control over in the first place. Like waiting around for someone to come around and make a commitment instead of accepting the reality of what is right now. Like looking back on a past relationship with such regret and shame that we didn’t do something different if only we had known better. Like believing that if we were just more of something it would mean he would finally give us the commitment we’re looking for. Like looking at what could be instead of accepting what is. Falling in love with someone's potential, instead of who they really are right now.
The memories of my own struggle with letting go came flooding back to me as I remembered my own scenarios where I clung so hard to that false illusion of control that I thought I held over yet another him and yet another circumstance if I could only be something different from what I was. Yet another scenario destined for heartbreak because I had yet again missed the point of it all – that to release him, and to release any outcomes and instead focus on myself and what is, I would have discovered I didn’t need to do anything different with myself except to accept myself and all that I was and in that process finally get that there was nothing wrong with me and learn to love myself in that process.
Because letting go is really about letting go of that illusion. Accepting what is. Without trying to control it and hang on so hard to what we really think can be. But isn’t. And won’t be. Until we learn to release it. And release him. And the relationship, if there even really is one. And if there isn’t, it’s about accepting that to. And learning that we don’t have to change anything about ourselves. That it’s about embracing ourselves and finding out who we really are and what we’re really looking for. And always keeping in mind what we truly deserve. And refusing to settle for anything less than that.
Because where it’s really at, is focusing on ourselves and getting in touch with where we’re at and what we want out of life instead of focusing on everyone else. Melody talked about this in her book as well, as she revealed “I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people's lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life”. And that’s what we so often forget. It’s more than OK to think about ourselves; it’s actually the key to learning to truly love ourselves and invite love into our lives.
It’s a simple concept, but one of the hardest things to do, especially when we’re caught in the thick of it. So today, the next time you find yourself thinking about what you could have done differently, what you should have known better to do, what you’re beating yourself up about, what you know it could be if only he or you or your circumstances were different, stop. Just stop right where you are. Take a deep breath. Let yourself feel whatever your feeling. And breathe again. Keep feeling your feelings. Then let it go. All of it. All the hoping. All the wishing. All the if onlys and the what ifs and the why nots. And just accept that what it is. Right now. And let it all out.
It’s hard to accept reality, I know that all too well. But it’s only in that acceptance, in that present mind thinking that we can truly move on to the productive side of things where we actually start focusing on you and what is true right now. And that’s where everything real begins.
It’s the fine art of letting go, letting be, and accepting what is.