“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.” ~Daphne Rose Kingma
One of the most challenging things in life is knowing when to let go—when to let go of a job, a relationship, a belief, a repeating thought, a situation… fill in the blank.
Most of us have defaulted to safety, which often means procrastinating and generally feeling stuck. While there’s nothing wrong with safety—it is, after all, one of our basic needs—we must learn to discern what is truly safe and what is safe for the sake of comfort and conformity, the latter of which ultimately leaves us feeling depleted.
“Safe” is a subjective term. What feels safe to you may not feel safe to me. For most of us, the unknown feels unsafe, yet as you may have heard, the magic happens when we surrender to the unknown. Chances are, if we are seeking more, longing for more, yet feel paralyzed to move because we feel “safe,” we are probably stuck.
I recently experienced one of the most challenging transitions of my life when I let go of a long-term relationship. It didn’t happen overnight. It all began with a nudge and a deep knowing that I felt stuck, yet all the outer signs evidenced a “good” relationship, and my mind wouldn’t let go of the idea that there was nothing “wrong” with it.
By societal standards, I shouldn’t have been complaining or contemplating, but I believe we all really want one thing: to thrive and experience change when it’s necessary for our evolution and joy.
Resistance and fear will try to tell us a whole lot of stories about why we should be grateful and stay put, but if there is an inkling, a nudge, a quiet inner voice that keeps nagging and telling us it’s time to go, then it’s time to release and move on. Even though letting go may not immediately make any logical sense, listening to that voice can bring new, fulfilling experiences.
This phase in my life has taught me that life is all about flow and movement, and that living, truly living, means that we are constantly changing and evolving. Living means being called to practice detachment to make room for new energy.
I also learned that when we don’t listen to that inner voice that says it’s time to let go, and sometimes screams it loud from our heart and gut, life will conspire to make us move, whether we want to or not.
If we wait long enough and dismiss our deep truth, life will make sure that truth comes out one way or another. Events and circumstances will happen that will cause us to move, and sometimes cause us to move at a rate that we did not expect or plan.
The biggest lesson for me was, do not wait for life to force you; check in daily and connect to the deep truth that overrides logic and analysis and simply nudges you along.
This isn’t easy when the voice of fear is loud and untamed.
Letting go is part of the human experience, but there are ways to minimize the impact of transition if we are mindful. Here are some actions I took and lessons and insights I learned during this transition that helped me embrace letting go. These can apply to any situation that requires letting go.
I took inventory of all the gifts from my relationship and sat in gratitude.
I reflected on how I could have shown up differently and more authentically.
I took responsibility for what I had contributed to the situation.
I promised myself that I would never betray my inner voice.
I embraced alone time often.
I constantly asked myself, “What do I need in this moment?”
I allowed myself to mourn and grieve whenever those feelings arose.
I allowed myself to have hard days and was extra gentle with myself during those moments.
I asked myself what part of me needed to heal so that I could hear my inner voice and override the fear-based thoughts that keep me stuck.
I indulged in a self-care routine and opted for activities that felt nourishing.
I kept a daily promise to myself, no matter how small it was.
I surrounded myself with people I love and with whom I feel safe.
I traveled and welcomed the energy of newness and curiosity,
I hugged myself a lot—it is so nourishing!
I got comfortable with patience and surrender—two great lessons that I needed to learn.
I embraced the unknown.
I learned that you can love that job, that person, that circumstance, and still feel a deep urge to move on.
We are all worthy of feeling fulfilled and nourished; that is the point of life
Sometimes, we just grow apart from that person, thing, or circumstance. It’s that simple, don’t fight it.
It is never about blame or shame; it is always about experience and experiencing life right where you are and where you are nudged to go.
It’s okay to say goodbye and still feel love and gratitude.
Nothing is ever wasted. Every experience has a meaning in your life.
Everything has a season—sometimes the season lasts a minute, sometimes it lasts years, but eventually there is a new season on the horizon.
Here is the thing, if we don’t listen to the voice that is asking us to let go, then we will never know what beautiful blessings await us on the other side—in the unknown. Our minds cannot possibly conceive what lies ahead.
I had to make room for new love and new energy, two elements I longed for daily. I had no idea what my life would look like, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that with newness comes great curiosity and joy.
If resentment, wonder, curiosity, longing, stuckness, and boredom seem to keep circling in your mind, it’s time to take inventory and ask yourself a very hard question: Is it time to let go?
Even if you don’t feel any “negative” feelings but feel a nudge, a knowing pushing you forward, listen and listen with your heart.