Knowing When to Let Go

Be brave and let go. Let go of fear, and pain. Stop holding to the thing that is tearing you apart. While you hang on, grimly gripping and clutching this to you, you deny yourself freedom, new gifts, love. It is madness to presume that you are more wise than the Universe. Let go. Trust. – Nicole Cody

There are so many reasons why we struggle with letting go.

Some of us just don’t like to fail – if we say we’re going to deliver, if we take a marriage vow, sign up for a deadline, have ethics that are all about family or mateship, have strong religious or spiritual beliefs, made a public proclamation about a certain thing, have other people telling us that this is what we need, then we may hold onto a person or situation longer than we should.

Sometimes we are spending our lives thinking about everyone else; not wanting to let people down, wanting THEM to be happy even if we must sacrifice something or all of ourselves to do that. Perhaps we have been raised to see this as worthy behaviour, or the way to be lovable – earning love through good deeds and sacrifice.

Sometimes we have become so fixated on achieving the end goal that we’ve stopped asking ourselves the right questions “Does this still serve me?  Does this still honour me?”  Did it ever…

Sometimes we’ve let something define us for so long that we no longer know who we are without that thing in our life.  Even if it’s killing us or making us miserable.

Sometimes we let our heart rule our head.  Sometimes we let our head rule our heart. And it’s not making us feel good. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Or maybe we are afraid.  Afraid that if we let go nothing will ever come to replace it.  Afraid that people will judge us or turn away from us, or leave us. Afraid that if we let go, the thing might suddenly come good, and all our struggle will have been worth it.

Sometimes we think we don’t deserve any better.

So how do we know when we need to let go? When duty is the only thing that drives us and all the joy has faded from our lives.  When we’ve forgotten the reason we signed up for this in the first place.  When we’ve become indifferent to life, our relationship, this thing…  When our health is in tatters, when the person in the mirror is a stranger, when our finances are in ruins, when we’re choking down anger and resentment on a daily basis, when we are no longer a person we like or believe in, when we’ve lost ourselves, it’s time to let go.

When we have gotten to a place where everything is hard, everything is dark, where we can see no place in our lives for hope, or joy or happiness, then it’s time to let go.  When we can no longer keep our eyes open and our hands on the wheel, and we’re popping pills to keep going, white knuckled from fear and exhaustion, it’s time to let go.

When it’s in the past, where we have no way to change it, we need to let go.

Why do we need to let go?

When we are in struggle, we are out of the flow of Universal Good. In that place where we are battling against the current of life we exhaust ourselves, and often have nothing to show for our efforts.  It is all hard, hard, and harder.

When we surrender and let go, we stop swimming against the current.  Life picks us up and supports us and begins to move us in a new direction.  There is a wisdom and grace in the Universe that far exceeds our own.  It we can only trust and let go, finally, we can begin moving towards a better future, to new opportunities, new relationships, new adventures.  We give ourselves a fresh start.  We give ourselves a chance to be happy, a chance to find ourselves and to open ourselves to bright new possibilities.

Even if that means for a time we must sit alone, hands empty…

How do we let go?

Sometimes we need to ask for help. It’s not important to have the answer, it’s only important to have recognised that we need to change. There are many skilled and caring people in the world who can help you make the shift once you’ve decided that it’s time.

Sometimes we will already know what to do.

All change requires effort, but change is possible. If you know you’re unhappy and you can longer work out why,  imagine the current choices and relationships in your life. Imagine the problems.  Now imagine removing them.  Is there a sense of loss or panic, or a sense of relief?  Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Sometimes we only need to put our burdens down for a time.  When we’ve rested, or found someone to share the load, then we find we want to continue, that we can continue.

So many times we let go of the job, and we land on our feet.  We let go of the relationship, and we meet our soul mate.  We pack up and go, and an unexpected direction leads us to a happier and more fulfilled life unlike anything we could have imagined for ourselves.

When not to let go

You’ll know it. It’s as different a feeling as night is to day. This is an energy within you infused with light, hope, clarity, determination, strength, courage.

It’s the thing thing that helps you keep swimming, towing a drowning soul with their head above water, when you are both exhausted.  It’s the thing that helps mothers lift a car to release their trapped child. It’s the voice inside you that tells you to call someone, or turn up at their house, or dash into a burning building. It’s the conviction that helps you stand by someone when you believe in a better outcome for them but they are in a place where they can’t yet see it for themselves.

That’s the energy of Love.  That’s the feel of God as our wings.  That’s Divine Grace working through us. There is something within us that will not give up the fight, something within us that KNOWS we can do it, that we will do it. That we would rather do this and die trying than to walk away.  This is a feeling of being energised, vital, alive, burning with a seering focus.

Tune in.  How are you feeling? Answer yourself honestly.  Make a decision.  Trust..

39 thoughts on “Knowing When to Let Go

  1. Very wise words, as always. There have been times in my life when I’ve needed to let go, and the way to be sure was to think of the pros and cons of doing it. As you say, if you get a feeling of relief and as if a burden has been lifted, then it’s a good decision. It’s amazing how often we lose track of how we really feel, considering we should know ourselves better than anyone else does.

    • That’s the thing, isn’t it, Lorna… Your line “It’s amazing how often we lose track of how we really feel, considering we should know ourselves better than anyone else does” says it all. It’s easy to work so hard, and get squeezed so tight by life that we DO lose touch with who we are and what really matters in our lives.

  2. I love this! This is so true. I also believe when you are busy holding on to whatever it is you are holding on to, you rob yourself of connection with others…. And how many times have I been surprised to find that whatever it was I was holding on to – when I looked within my grasp was already gone anyway?

  3. Letting go has been one of life’s big lessons for me…from one who wants control and has little faith in being taken care of by existence..all mixed in with feeling so down..so dark and despaired…to being shown very clearly these past few months that I am being taken care of…that something more fulfilling is awaiting me…so how do I let go of those last few tendrils that connect me to the past. I so want to let go…and no telling myself I can make that choice right now seems to be working. I am still practicing your heart meditation daily..thanks..

    • Satisha, bless the past, bless yourself and keep affirming your commitment to this new life, your new choices. It’s unrealistic to not have echoes of our old life when we are still so close to it. But every day keep putting one foot in front of the other as you move in this new direction. Sit and rest if you must, but keep going. Eventually the echoes will be faint. One day you won’t hear them at all. xx

      • Thank you very much for your reply…that was so helpful being realistic about my feelings as the past is still so close by…and that each day..one foot in front of the other to a new life…and being patient and loving to myself in the process..X

  4. Letting go is for me the hardest thing to do. All the reasons you stated apply somehow, but it’s mainly the feeling that I need to earn someone’s love by sacrificing myself completely. It’s like accepting a hurtful situation, accepting toxic relationships others can’t accept, give me a plus that makes me “special” and lovable. I just read another Blog about the importance of affection in childhood, and my reaction was directly tears and sobbing. This now gives me the same effect as i struggle so hard. I can’t let go of anything, not only people, anything whether its a good or bad reminder. I can’t let go of the bad because it gives me a proof that i am not insane and that i don’t feel bad out of nothing. There is also a post on another blog i read on a daily basis to force myself to learn how to let go and to also remind myself that there is hope and help.

    http://healnowandforever.net/2011/12/07/let-it-go-let-it-go-let-it-go-o-o-o-o/

    • Hi Nikky,
      when it’s this painful, when bad things have happened and you feel that you need the past to remind you that you are not insane, then a good psychiatrist or psychologist can help you see your way through.

      Someone once said to me, why do I need a psychiatrist? I’m not insane!

      Ah, yes, I said. You’re not. That’s true. But the other people in your life were. The crazy-makers from your past were. And in that place we need someone who understands the damaged and the damagers to help show us how to embrace and accept what is normal, and recognise what isn’t, so that we can move to a healthier place in our lives. So that we may know healing and peace.

      Trust. You are worthy of love and good things. This post might help too:

      http://cauldronsandcupcakes.com/2011/12/26/what-to-do-if-you-cant-love-yourself-5-steps-towards-healing/

      Hang in there. {{{HUGS}}}

      • Thank you very much Nicole. I was seeing a psychiatrist on regular basis since May 2007, and I was on heavy medication. I also had since that time therapy twice a week.
        I guess it’s a big relapse since I have decided to stop everything, and i did. I stopped as i was going nowhere.
        Nicole

      • Make sure there is someone in your life who is helping and supporting you, Nikky. And be kind to yourself. I know it’s hard, but if you can find little ways to make a start, it does get easier over time. Most importantly, do all you can to relax and feel good. Much love to you xx

      • I have no one physically there with me, but i have found some great supportive friends online. I am getting help in some positive pages and groups on facebook, by reading Blogs like yours and few others. That at least, he couldn’t control. He doesn’t let me have friends.

  5. I need to let go of the fear (well, knowledge) that my family will hate my decision. It is right for me. It is right for my life. I have the support I need, and I shouldn’t worry. The universe has already shown me it’s the right decision, I just need to learn to not get upset that other people can’t see they’re crushing me.

    • It’s a common thing, Joanna, to put the happiness of others before our own. But this life is no dress rehearsal. This is the only shot you get for this lifetime. Honour your heart, lean on your support, make the changes that help you to lead your best life. You deserve to have a balanced, healthy and satisfying future.

  6. I woke up this morning thinking, I have to let go but do I have to let go? What happens when the mind is saying this is not your path, but your body is craving the intimacy and the love that is there. After reading your blog I could see both sides. The unimaginable feeling of loss with the possibility of relief. The determination not to let go but with the feeling that maybe it is just fear keeping me bound in that determination. O to step out for a moment, take away all judgment, fear and fuzz :) Thank you Nicole, your blogs always bring me some beautiful truths about myself :)

  7. You are such an incredible creature Ms Cody! Your words contain a power and resonance that not only gently disarms one’s defenses but also pierces through the veils of programs that promote the illusions saying otherwise, and in speaking your truth you bring comfort to the soul! God Bless You!!! Love you so much and all that you are… You words simply invigorate my soul and revitalise my spirit…. THANK YOU!!!!

  8. I have sat here trying to think of something profound to say…
    went and answered some emails, came back and still….
    Cauldrons and Cupcakes
    one I stir, the other I crave
    words of wisdom in black and white
    stark, glaring with no room to hide
    for once I know not what to say
    I think you covered it all anyway
    I had a new friend tell me the same words
    just different somehow, and as i was thinking
    he may have been right you came to my blog today
    and here I am…synchronicity and confirmation…
    This is really beautiful and eloquent and
    speaks from heart to heart, such a unique language the heart
    is….
    I will enjoy following your blog…)0(
    Take Care..
    maryrose
    has…

  9. Perfect timing. I needed to read these exact words–an answer to a prayer. I have a housing situation I need to let go of, but I have not found a new place to move. But I need to let this go and trust…

  10. Thankyou Nicole that was a great read and exactly what I needed to read today via your daily post “When it’s ok to break a promise”. I have been questioning alot thinking maybe it’s time to change but the burning faith that we are right where we are meant to be and your chapter – “When not to let go”. So thankyou. Lynette xx

    • Gee Lynette, I have made deep circles in my mind going over these questions during my life thus far. It is only lately that I have learned the wisdom in including myself in any of these equations. This present situation didn’t start out the way it ended, but as things changed I had to acknowledge that keeping my promise to another would mean breaking one with myself, and with my loved ones. Hard choices, but I’m glad I drew that line in the sand today and said ‘enough’. Much love to you xx

  11. Thanks again for your words of wisdom. It is a fine line sometimes – that tenacity of spirit to keep driving forward on something that you know is correct and worth fighting for against all odds – and on the other side the capacity to ‘let go’ when it is not. The choice and response lies within us all.

  12. Pingback: Ditch those Toxic Friends! | Cauldrons and Cupcakes

  13. Pingback: Healing Old Hurts | Cauldrons and Cupcakes

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