Knowing When to Let Go
Moving Onward and Upward
|Time to jump upward!|
Yesterday I impulsively cut off all the friendship and string bracelets I have accumulated over the past 9 months through treatment and from treatment friends. There were 12 in total! So I quite literally cut the strings that were keeping me connected to not only friends but also my illness, treatment, and an unhealthy part of my identity. I should have cut them off months ago- I am 22 and they are not exactly appropriate in the "real world"- but I just couldn't. I wasn't ready to let go. But as the new semester approaches and I anticipate returning to school I knew it was time to let go. I am moving onward and upward and the strings were holding me back. Every time I looked at my wrist I was forced to think back on my hardships and experiences of this past year. They were an unhealthy reminder of what I have gone through. I can never forget the people I've met, the struggles I have endure, and the challenges I have overcome- they will be ingrained in my mind forever. But I can put these memories elsewhere in my mind and access them when I choose rather than be reminded of them multiple times a day every day. We all need to know when to let go. Whether it's removing a physical reminder, in my case literally cutting the strings, or simply recognizing that it's time to metaphorically cut the strings by releasing painful memories, giving up on an unhealthy relationship, or accepting that a time in your life has passed. We need to know not only when it's time to move not just onward but upward as well, using the release as a platform to build upon or propel ourselves upward like jumping on a trampoline! As usual I have had a hard time sticking to just one quote to carry out my message or enhance the theme so I have chosen three diverse quotes that I have found both useful and somewhat intriguing-
This first quote speaks about the burden of certain things, the weight of them that debilitates us, and the need to free ourselves from such things-
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”
- C. JoyBell C.
I like this quote because it provides a visual. I imagine myself walking around with weights on 10 lbs weights on both of my wrists. How freeing it is to remove these weights. It's so much easier to move, walk, go forward in life once these weights have been removed. How can we expect to move forward with ease when we have these metaphorical weights hindering us every step of the way? It's time to let go, remove the extra baggage, and make room for new memories, experiences, and relationships. I found the next quote especially interesting because it reflects a thought I have had multiple times. Why is it that I wanted to hold onto something that caused me so much pain?
“No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.”
- Haruka Murakami
Why is it that it is so difficult to let go of memories no matter how painful and move on from relationships despite their toxicity? I don't have the answer and this quote doesn't provide an explanation either. However I chose it because it brought me comfort to know that other people share this experience and ponder it. I am not alone in wanting to hold on to hardships, unhealthy relationships, sad or bad experiences. I am relieved in knowing that I am not alone and neither are you. Perhaps we want to keep them because they remind of us how strong we are or what we have overcome? Maybe we wear them proudly like battle wounds. Or perhaps we fear that letting go of them means forgetting them. But there is a difference between forgetting and letting go. I suppose letting go simply means that we no long allow the past to dictate how we live in the present. Just because we have let go doesn't mean that we have forgotten. We will always have these memories but they do not need to be in the forefront of our minds. I chose the last quote simply because I feel that it completely sums up the point I have been trying to make throughout this entry. Perhaps it would have been thoughtful of me to put it at the beginning and save you some reading and time. Either way here it is-
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
- Steve Maraboli
|Me with my "new" wrists-|
I think this quote is relatively straight forward and would not benefit for detailed explanation or over analyzing. Unless we let go of this past there is no room to create new memories and relationships. We cannot live in the present, move forward, and build a new future if we remain in the past and allow it to both consume as well as dictate our lives. Cutting the strings of my friendship bracelets was more difficult and emotional than I expected it to be. I suppose it was symbolic- detaching myself from a lifestyle, a world, an experience that has been such a huge part of my life and what I perceived as my identity. It was an impulsive move and a part of me regrets it but another part of me knows that it was the right thing to do. How can I return to school and enjoy my life there if I refused to let go of those physical reminders? Every time I looked down at my wrists I was brought back to a different time and a different world. If I want to live a "normal," fulfilling, and happy life on campus I need to embrace the present, look forward to the future, and leave the past where it belongs- in the past. Removing my bracelets was my first step of letting go and preparing myself to move forward. What do you need to let go of and what will your first step be?
Take your first step and get ready for the rest of your life- it's waiting for you!