Have you ever found yourself putting up with something and wished you knew how to let go? Clients often report feeling stuck in that they put up with all sorts of things. From unfulfilled relationships, to people owing you money, to unresolved or incomplete tasks or situations.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” Herman Hesse
The importance of letting go
There is a very good metaphor to help explain the importance of letting go.
There were two monks walking on their way to their monastery. On route they had to cross a river. As they got to the river, they noticed a young lady crying at the river edge. She was crying because she needed to get across to the other side. The problem was that the river was flowing too fast. She was scared that if she slipped, she would drown, as she did not know how to swim.
The senior monk picked her up in his arms and quickly carried her across the river. Putting her down safely on the opposite bank. She thanked him and the monks carried on with their journey.
A few hours went by, before the junior monk could not hold his thoughts any longer. He asked the senior monk, “You know we are not allowed to touch women, why did you pick her up?” To this, the senior monk simply replied, “I put her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
Why people put up with unresolved stuff
All the things that we put up with, start to accumulate over time and eventually starts to weigh us down physically and emotionally. This can be very unconscious and it may have a detrimental impact on your health and happiness.
The problem is that we often put up with these things because of the belief that we may be benefiting from them in some way. This is called secondary gain. It is when the gain of keeping the problem is greater than the gain of letting go of the problem. Mistakenly thinking that it is better to put up with the issues.
“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
How to let go
Here is a very easy exercise that you can do to help let go of those things that you have been putting up with.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. In the left hand column, write down all the things that you are putting up with in your life. In the corresponding right hand column, write down what you think you gain by putting up with those things. So for each thing you put up with, you will write down all the things you get from putting up with it.
Example, you might be putting up with a partner who cheats on you. The gain might be, that you think you are lucky to have him/her in your life. You might think that putting up with them cheating, at least means that you are not alone, etc.
This exercise creates awareness of what you are holding on or putting up with. By creating awareness you can then realize what the perceived benefits are for putting up with these things. This is a great way of learning how to let go of those things. As you notice, that very often the gain is not really a gain. By putting up with those things, you might actually be putting yourself down or creating stress and anxiety in your life. Ask yourself what other ways you can have those gains or benefits instead. That way you can let go of those toxic things. Benefiting in being free from the negative, energy sucking things in your life.
In doing this exercise, be kind to yourself and be done with what needs to be done with. Set yourself free from toxic relationships and unresolved stuff. Remember that you are special and deserve to be happy.
If you need any help with letting go, feel free to reach out. We are always happy to help.