"All the art of living lies in the fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
For a lot of people, it's hard to let go. It's hard to let go of people, of things, of emotions. It's hard to let go when you know you have to. It's hard to let go when you don't want to. I find that some people are better at letting go of some things than others. I, for example, have a terrificly terrible time letting go of people, but when it comes to letting go of actual things, I have absolutely no trouble saying goodbye. Other people don't seem to cling to people the way that I do, but ask them to get rid of a dress they wore in high school and they act like you're asking them to sell their soul. We're all different when it comes to letting go, but I bet that no matter who you are, you have a hard time letting go of something.
And, you know what? That's okay. It's okay to have a hard time letting go. Whether it's things, people, or thoughts, it's difficult to give up something that you once thought of (or still think of) as yours. But that's no excuse to keep hanging onto it. When you keep things you don't need (and, yes, this includes people) in your life, you're causing yourself to have to deal with things you don't need to. Extra things create clutter in your home, just the same way extra people create clutter in your heart. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have clutter of any kind in my life. I like things neat, I like things organized, and, above all else, I like things clutter-free.
Of course, getting rid of clutter -- emotional or physical -- is usually easier said than done. It's quite easy to say you want to get rid of something, but quite another to actually take action and get rid of it. It takes a lot of courage to get rid of something when, for whatever reason, you don't really want to get rid of it. You might be thinking yourself, "Okay, why would I get rid of something if I don't want to get rid of it?" It does seem a little backwards but there plenty of things we hang on to that we don't need. For example, there are plenty of people in this world who are hoarders (hello, Clean House!) and, though they know they should get rid of some of their stuff, they don't want to. Likewise, there are people out there who spend time with those that drain them emotionally. Though they know they should get rid of these people, they don't necessarily want to. In both of these examples, you can see that sometimes we hang on to things we don't need. And it's up to us to make a change.
Just like happiness, getting rid of things you don't need in your life is a choice. You don't usually get forced into it (though sometimes this can happen) and usually no one is going to do it for you (how often to people really come into your house and start de-cluttering your living space?). Therefore, it's all up to you. You have to make the choice to get rid of what you don't need in your life. Ready? Okay, let's go let go!
Letting Go of What You Do Not Need
Decide what's really important. When you take a step back and think about what's really, truly important to you, you'll begin to realize that many of the things you're holding on to aren't as important as you once thought. What's important is being healthy, happy, and living your life to the fullest. If you are clinging to things or people, you're not really living happily and at peace with yourself. Step back and assess what really matters to you and letting go will become a lot easier.
Assess what benefits you're getting. One of the reasons we hang on to things or people is because we believe we need them, we believe we're really getting something of value from having them around. But is that true? Think about it -- and I mean really think about it. Are you benefiting from the clutter in your life? Is your life richer because you are surrounded by negative people? Probably not. If you take a moment and list the benefits you're getting from something you should let go of, you'll probably have a short list. Use this to motivate yourself to let go.
Recognize that you're overvaluing it. Typically it's you that's placing all of the value on a person or thing that you're holding on to unnecessarily. More often than not, you're idealizing that person or thing and telling yourself that, for whatever reason, you need to have it in your life. However, that's not true. If you believe you should be letting go than you should let go. What you need in your life is you. You also need things that are bringing you up, not down. If something isn't bringing you up, if it isn't absolutely necessary, stop overvaluing it and let it go.
Let it go -- no matter how hard it is. It really does come down to the old Nike slogan, "Just do it." No matter how hard it is, no matter what obstacles stand in your way, sometimes you have to just suck it up and let it go. I know, firsthand, that this is much easier said (or written!) than done, but, honestly, it really is the only way. Whether it's a person or a thing (or even a feeling), the best advice is just to let go (and don't go chasing after it either!). When you actually take action, you'll see that you're just fine without it.
As much as you might think you need something, keep in mind that "need" is a very strong word. What you really "need" in your life is very different from what you might think you need. Remember that, deep down, you really do know what's best for yourself. If there's something telling you that you need to let go, listen to that instinct. Your gut feelings will let you know what's right and what's wrong. You just need to open your mind and listen to them. And then, when you hear that voice telling you that you need to let something go, have the courage to really listen and to take action. Letting something go isn't ever easy, but you can make your whole world better and more positive just by loosening your grip and letting go.
Do you find it hard to let go of people or things?
If so, how do you deal with situations when you really need to let go?