Letting Go. Those two words sound so carefree, yet getting there can be hard. And then there is that fact that you’ll have to do it again and again and again because letting go is not a once and done kind of thing. Quite the opposite. It’s something you might have to do multiple times a day. And it’s so important for your mental health.
I had to remind myself of all of this recently. I had been looking forward to our third annual trip up north to a cabin with my family and my sister’s family since we booked it in early January. We would be trying out a new place this year, so this was an exciting year. It was a nice place. I was dreaming up all the stuff we would do together, all the time we’d spend together, plus the memories we would be creating. This was gonna be so much fun I thought.
Then, the coronavirus hit us in March. We thought the virus and precautions would be long gone by the time our vacation rolled around. Yet, they weren’t. We had to decide back in late April whether to keep our plans or postpone them this year. Since things were looking grim back then, we made the decision to postpone our plans until next year. Talk about disappointment. We wouldn’t be on the pontoon. We wouldn’t be paddle boarding. We wouldn’t be grilling together. We wouldn’t be at the beach first thing each morning. We wouldn’t be staying up until midnight laughing until our sides hurt, hoping someone would win the game of Uno we started two hours before just so we could get a little sleep before the next day’s lake-time agenda. So much disappointment.
I was ruminating with all of the disappointment for weeks, to the point I was becoming resentful and not enjoying anything that was in front of me at the moment. If only thoughts started to pop up, followed by dreams of the memories from last year’s trip. This continued for days, which turned into a few weeks, until I was snapped back to reality. I remembered something my DBT therapist had said during my treatment. She said something like, “You need to radically accept what is to let go. It doesn’t mean you necessarily have to like what is. You just need to accept what is.”
So powerful and so very true. Accepting what is really is the way to letting go. We spend too much time trying to control the outcome that we miss everything before us. I missed precious moments in time that I will not get back because I was too busy holding on to the memories I so desperately wanted to have.
As you think about your own life, what do you need to accept so as to let go? How will you incorporate this practice of letting go into your day to day life? Let’s work together to identify what life will look like when you accept what is and chose to let go.