12.15.2012

Let it go in order to go with the flow

Like most people, I find that my most brilliant flashes of insight occur at the most inopportune times. Like when I'm in the shower. For those ten minutes as I stand under the water, in my head I have

  • written the perfect blog, 
  • composed the penultimate email that will solve a communication quandary,
  • figured out the best organization system for my closet, 
  • written the most persuasive advocacy letter to an elected official, 
  • verbalized the perfect voice mail apology, and
  • solved the world food crisis.
But sadly, by the time the shower ends, and I've dried off, dressed, blow dried my hair, had my second (or third) cup of coffee...poof. Insight gone, into the ether of the day. 

Certainly here or there I might be able to recapture that moment of perfect clarity which I was going to share with the world, or at least the twenty or so folks who actually follow and read my blog, and be praised for writing the most amazing thing that helped transform their way of thinking or inspire them to quote me to someone else. 

But...that didn't happen. At least not today, and I have to let go of the what I thought this would be and the reality of what it actually is. Which is what I was going to write about: the concept of letting go. 

To be honest, I completely, without any protest or debate on my part, totally suck at letting go. I am a people-pleaser and have spent most, if not all, of my life sacrificing much of my own personal happiness so that others could be happy. I over think every conversation or comment, and can never just "go with the flow." But letting go is important, for all of us, because if we don't let go we find that we get so weighed down with the chains of the past that we are unable to move forward into the future. That's the deep, quotable thought in case you were wondering. 

"We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are" - Anais Nin (emphasis mine)

But as we are closing out 2012 (a trans-formative year for me in so many ways) and in anticipation of 2013 (a year everyone tells me will be my best yet!) here are some observations:

  • Relationships are complicated at times because people are complicated. We connect with all kinds of people at different moments in our lives. As we navigate those connections, we give a certain amount of value and energy to them. But the sad truth is that sometimes the people to whom we consider important...don't feel that way about us. They really aren't "into you." That can be hard to handle. But when you recognize that there is an imbalance, you need to...let go. It doesn't mean that they don't care about you in some way, but if it isn't helping and only hurting, then why put yourself through it? 
  • Sometimes people say or do mean things not because they are mean people but because they don't know how to express their feelings or communicate well. Apologies are the hardest for everyone it appears. So many times we know we need to make an apology, but we do it in such a way that it feels inauthentic to the recipient. We say "I'm sorry, BUT..." and then say an additional something which requires and additional apology. And the longer we wait to say the apology, the harder it becomes, and soon we find we aren't talking to that person any longer, that there is only...silence. Silence is the worst. Silence eats away at the corners of our soul and self-esteem, making us feel small and insignificant, invisible in fact. And when we feel we are invisible we spend an extraordinary amount of energy trying to get others to see us in some way, which can cause more mis-communication. So as hard as it can be at that moment, the moment when you are waving your hands in the air frantically trying to get someone's attention, put your hands down and...let go. You sometimes have to acknowledge that you will never get the apology you feel you deserve. Apologize to yourself for their lack of apology. You'll feel better...at some point. Really. 
  • Life is too short to spend your time trying to figure our other people's motivations or solve their problems. Sometimes people carry the baggage of past relationships into their new ones and blame you for the actions of others. It happens. It sucks. We are all damaged. Some of us are able to recover better than others, but we all have faced hardship, sorrow, and loss in some way. And while I believe that we all wake each day determined to not let the echoes of those stories resonate or impact our behavior with people who had nothing to do with those stories, we can't help but behave in certain ways because we are the sum of all our experiences, both good and bad. So we unintentionally take out the crap that has been dumped on us on those in our lives who are completely unaware of that past crap. When this happens, it is most definitely time to...let go. Yes, you are totally deserving of an apology, but as said above, that may not happen. Walking away from someone doesn't mean you don't care about them, it just means you care about yourself more. No one should take out their past on your present. Period. 
So there you go. Let go. I am going to let go of thinking that I will ever write the perfect blog post, because I'm not perfect. I'm going to let go waiting for an apology I will never get (and I'm trusting that Karma is watching, just saying). Like everyone else, I'm just trying to fit all the puzzle pieces of my life together one day at a time. Sometimes I'm fortunate to be able to put several pieces in all at once and get a glimpse of the bigger picture, and sometimes I find there is a piece missing and I have to go looking for it before I can continue working on the puzzle. Letting go doesn't mean letting go of care, of compassion, of respect, of just being plain old nice. Letting go means acknowledging that ultimately the only person whose actions and reactions you can ever control and should ever control are your own. If you speak the truth, if you give the best of yourself, if you just navigate your own path in the healthiest way possible and don't dump your crap on someone else's head, you can count it as a successful day. 

And if you get a nap in along the way? Sweet! 

So for me, letting go means being able to stand tall, breath deep, and start 2013 with a clean slate. For myself, for others. Sometimes we need to be silent. We need to not clutter up a relationship with so much conversation. We need to let the people we care about walk away and leave us behind not because we don't care, but because we do and we understand that our time with them on their journey is over. We need to let go of the job we never got, the gift we never received, the call that we were waiting for that was never made. We need to not over-think. We need to just, gulp, go with the flow. 

We let go and step out on the promise that something better is waiting for us to hold onto. Just like Emily Dickinson, "I dwell in possibility." Don't you? 

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