"Just let it go," I've often heard others say, but for some reason, I have never quite understood how to successfully do so. I have not yet mastered the art of "letting it go" - that ability to rid yourself of the things that drag you down or cause you stress, to walk away from the people who contribute nothing positive to your life, or to abandon the demons that you no longer want to carry with you. No, I have not fully mastered this art.
I have not yet been able to let go of the pain I carry in my heart. The wounds from my past that weigh me down, taking pieces of my soul with each day that passes. I let the memories haunt me, allowing them to linger in my mind. And on my worst days, I let them consume me. I blame the darkest parts of who I am today on the hopelessness I was surrounded by, the broken home I grew up in. The burdens and heartache throughout my childhood shaped me - some of the worst sides of myself were unknowingly molded into me, leaving only little room for strength and normalcy to be weaved in. I have never truly let this go.
I can't even let go of my fears about the future, as unrealistic as some of them may be. I don't know how to let go of the things that scare me most. Getting hurt by someone I love - what if they let me down, what if I let myself down? What if our love crumbles the way it did with my parents? What if we forget the meaning of love? What if I lose sight of myself? What if I let the darkness that lingers fully take hold of me? These fears live within me and I have been unable to release them.
I struggle to let go of fights, especially petty ones that are fed by drama. And if it's a fight with someone I love - between family or a friend, I waste a great deal of my energy on it. It takes over my emotions, and I drown. I don't know how to let it go. If someone says something hurtful to me, or about me behind me back, I replay it in my head. I stress over it. It feels like a knife through my heart, even though I know this will pass. But in this moment, it takes over. The frustration, the pain, the sadness - I can't easily let it go.
If I am mistreated or disrespected, or when someone is just entirely rude or inconsiderate, or truly out of line, I don't know how to let it go. I feel the need to speak my mind, get my feelings out there, but often times that causes more trouble than it's even worth. I let people like this bother me. But, I try my best not to take it personally because I know they are the ones who are probably so unhappy with their own lives, that they mindlessly take it out on others. I let these little things get to me, sometimes way more than I should.
I still grapple to let go of the friends who decided to leave me behind. The ones who were once such a big part of my life but suddenly left. Or, the ones who turned out to be the furthest thing from the definition of a true friend. I always think about how close we once were, but how you so easily forgot that, pretending like none of it ever happened. As if we didn't spend years of our lives together side-by-side, growing up together. How do you let go of someone you once knew so well and the countless memories you shared together? Now, the harsh reality is, that person is nothing more than a complete stranger.
How do you let go of feeling like a failure? If i fail, if I made a mistake, or if I should've tried harder, put in more effort, the regret begins to take hold of me. I continuously replay all of the things I could've and should've done differently that potentially would've resulted in another outcome. Poor decisions I made, certain paths I went down, what if I did it all differently? That thought always returns, especially during tough times.
There are many things in life we eventually need to let go of, but sometimes, even recognizing that is, in itself, a remarkable feat. Maybe it's pure anxiety, maybe it's just the way my brain works, or maybe I'm weak - but letting go of things has never been easy for me. I believe we hold on because sometimes it's all we know. It's all we think we have, all we think we are able to do. We fear letting go because the other side is unknown. We think holding on is easier than letting go. But the truth is, it's not. Because once we do find the courage to let go of all that drags us down, it is only then that we can start truly living.