Letting go of something or someone is hard for everyone. Over the course of our lives we routinely face forks in the road where we need to let go of people, expectations, plans, relationships, pain and a whole lot more.
It is normal to struggle with letting go because of the feelings, hopes and dreams we have invested in something or someone dear to us. Everyone struggles with letting go. It is important to learn how to let go because not letting go results in pain, disappointment and bitterness as we try to make situations or other people be different than they are. Reality can be hard to face.
Believe me, I know
About 6 weeks ago my health worsened to the point that leaving home for any reason is exhausting. The amount of oxygen my body can take in to send to the rest of my body has decreased by 20% in the last 6 weeks, resulting in the need for more supplemental oxygen. I am on a very high level so getting around is difficult, and did I mention… exhausting.
Facing the progression of my disease has caused me to face letting go of some things now that my energy is waning. Most of my energy is used up doing the normal things of life like dressing, eating, paying bills and simple home tasks. Even walking around the house is a struggle. Because of this I’m needing to let go of some things I love to do.
Facing reality and letting go
I retired over two years ago as a marriage and family therapist due to pulmonary fibrosis. Letting go was painful for me, but I was encouraged to still have a way to make a difference in the lives of others online by writing this blog, a column for Pulmonary Fibrosis News and authoring three books about self-compassion, including the latest one for PF patients and their loved ones. I also enjoyed interacting with others through social media.
This recent exacerbation has convinced me that I can no longer interact in all the ways I love online. I’ve already deleted two of my social media accounts and put a hold on two others. I am so sorry to let you know that I will need to put this blog on hold. I will post updates about my health from time to time, but I won’t be able to blog regularly like I used to.
Part of letting go involves grieving and letting go of pain. Holding onto pain and ways we were slighted doesn’t fix anything. Ruminating on the past and wishing things were different doesn’t change things either. When it comes to the past, all we can do is accept whatever it is we’re holding on to and then let it go. We have to let go of what is hurting us, even if it feels impossible.
As you contemplate letting go of something or something precious to you, make share you take good care of yourself. Take time to pamper yourself and talk to yourself kindly about how hard this process is.
“This is so hard. It feels impossible to let go of ____. I’ve been holding on for so long, wanting things to change and be different than they are. But they aren’t. Holding on is hurting me. I want to take good care of myself as I let go of ___.”
Make sure and get the support you need from loving family and friends.
Here’s what letting go looks like: It means we stop trying to control another person or situation, and live life as it is. Some people let go of something that isn’t working when reality suddenly hits them in the head. Others let go in steps.
Reach out to God:
He is an expert at grief and wants to be right by your side. We don’t have to through this alone. Let Him know, “I need to let go of this person, or pain, or unrealistic expectations, or the hopes I had for the future. It feels impossible. Please give me the wisdom and strength to see reality and let go and process my grief.”
This means accepting what is true about what is actually happening, as opposed to the way you wish it would be. This applies to your relationships, financial situation, health, job and other areas.
Accept the things you cannot change:
Stop wishing things could be the way they once were. Stop trying to make someone different than they are. Live in the present moment. This is where life happens. You can’t change the past; you can only make decisions today to affect your life now and in the future.
Grieve the way things actually are:
This entails facing the hard realities you don’t want to be true. This means moving out of denial and allowing yourself to work through the emotions of grief: sadness, anger, confusion and finally acceptance.
Make appropriate decisions:
Sometimes this means ending relationships, adjusting your finances or making changes in your work or daily life.
Build a new life or routine:
These changes are based on what you’ve let go of. Look for and embrace the good that is front of you.
Letting go it isn’t a failure. It is the acceptance of an unwanted reality. Keep living. Keep breathing. Keep moving forward. Click To Tweet
This process is healthy, and hard to go through. You can do it. Sometimes growth and a bright future only come from letting go of something or someone that isn’t working in your life.
Please keep me in your prayers. I hope to get on the lung transplant list next month and receive the gift of life. My life and future is in God’s hands, just like all of us. I’m in good spirits and am grateful for every breath and every day!
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you struggle with letting go? What is the hardest part? How did you feel when you finally let go of someone or something that wasn’t working in your life?
Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media.