Learning to let go is one of the hardest things we can master in this life. In my own personal journey of letting go, I have encountered many people who have never learned how to do it. But I have also encountered people whom have, and they are the happiest and most content people I have ever met.
Being in the present, freeing yourself from anxiety and depression, advancing your spirituality, healing old traumas and toxic shame, all require the ability to let go. But how do we do it? Simply wanting to let go doesn’t seem to be enough.
Something that I had to recognize was that “holding on” was something I was doing to protect myself. When I was a child I was very quick to “forgive and forget”. I was very trusting and was not someone to hold a grudge. What changed was that I got hurt over and over again and became angry with myself for loving people that were cruel to me.
By the time I finished up my first year in College I was well and truly done with ever relying on anyone again. I became an avid journal-writer during this time. I now know that secretly my motives were so I could have a written record and never have to worry about forgetting all these wrongs ever again. Not surprisingly, I was crushed under the weight of everything I was carrying and found myself the most depressed I had ever been and remained in that state for many years.
Holding-on is essentially a defense mechanism to protect you from being hurt again. The problem is that it takes you from one extreme to another.
When first trying to heal, we’ll often over-compensate by pushing ourselves to the opposite extreme. This may actually seem to help at first, but then at some point we realize that this has it’s own set of problems. We then throw our hands up in frustration and say “See! There’s nothing I can do! I must be cursed!” We decide that change isn’t possible for us.
Interestingly enough, I’ve also seen it where people will blend elements of the two extremes together. We often see this in the people who join conspiracy theories or cults. People act like their lives depend on them staying in the cult because that’s how trauma makes you feel. These are all just attempts at healing.
It took me a long time to realize that embracing the middle ground was the only real way to heal. However, you can only do this by embracing and accepting the lessons of your old traumas. You have to forgive yourself for being a normal child. It is NORMAL for a child to be gullible and forgiving. Most children are taught healthy boundaries and discernment from the adults in their lives. When that doesn’t happen, it’s NORMAL to then try to learn through a trial-and-error approach. It’s NORMAL to experiment by doing the opposite of the previous approach that wasn’t working for you.
This is how human beings learn. It’s okay to still be learning all of this at whatever age you are now. Learning never stops. Learning is a good thing. Learning to forgive yourself for not knowing then what you know now is the next step. All things happen in time.
If letting go is something you are trying to embrace, I have created this guided meditation to help you get there.