How many times have we heard these words, “Let it go”? What does it mean to you? In the Disney movie, “Frozen,” Ana sings the song “Let It Go” to release the magic she has kept pent up inside, regardless of the consequences. In the Harry Potter books, Hermione is often telling Harry and Ron to let it go or ignore it when Draco Malfoy is trying to provoke them into a fight. In the Bible, Jesus’ version of letting go is “turn the other cheek” and at the end of his life, when he ultimately “lets go” by turning over his spirit after asking God to forgive those who tortured him.
When I think of letting go, I think of letting go of the little things that irritate me so I can be free of anger, bitterness, resentment, and any other negative feelings I may have in a given situation. I also think of the saying in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step programs, “Let Go and Let God” meaning to let go of controlling people, places, things and situations and to let God take care of whatever it is you are trying to control.
“Letting go” has significant meaning to a parent throughout the various stages of their child’s life. When they are learning to walk, we must let go of their fingers and let them fall on their bottoms so they can learn to walk, finding balance on their own without leaning on their parents. When they reach preschool, parents must let them go again, entrusting them to the care of other adults. Kindergarten is another big step in letting go. This stage is the beginning of 13 years of education, growing, developing, making friends, learning how to be independent and parents learning how to let them become who they are meant to be. The culmination of this process is high school graduation which is another stepping stone toward independence and adulthood. This “letting go” is a big one as it marks the beginning of the end of parenting for the first 18 years of their child’s life. Many parents watch their children go on to college, sometimes moving far away from home. As I prepare to “let go” of my son as he moves out on his own, I am realizing that even though we have prepared him for this his whole life, it marks an important stage in our growth and development as parents. In addition to letting go of the time, energy and responsibilities of raising my son to adulthood, it also causes me to think of other things I need to let go of in my life.
I am letting go of some of the aspects of my business that I have always done myself. I don’t enjoy data entry, so I have decided to “let it go” and am hiring someone who enjoys that type of work and is probably much more efficient at it than I am. I have done my own website for the past seven years, but have decided to let that go, as well. I have hired somebody to upgrade my website and to make it do all the things I want it to do, but more efficiently and easily. I will maintain it, but I am hopeful that it will be easier to maintain after having somebody else who knows what they are doing create it and set it up for me. I am letting go of being a provider for certain insurance companies as I have decided that the cost of time, energy, work and effort is greater than the benefit of the paycheck I receive from them.
In my personal life, I have been letting go of extra weight by being more mindful of my eating and by exercising daily. As I let go of the physical weight, I feel lighter and am ready and willing to let go of other things that weigh me down. I am letting go of clothes that don’t fit me, towels that are worn out and are ready to be used for cleaning, extra dishes that take up too much space in my cupboards and older furniture that my son can use in his new place. I am letting go of petty things that annoy me and am always working on letting go of perfectionism.
I am curious as to what other people are ready and willing to let go of in their lives. Are there people, places, things, or situations that you are in need of “letting go”? As we move into the summer months, which are a time of rest and relaxation, how about letting go of some of the stress, work, and stuff that overwhelms our lives? Consider what you can let go of and set yourself free.
This article was posted in the ATD Newsletter for June 2016.