Being vulnerable to someone is a scary thing. We fear judgment. We avoid repercussions too risky to take. But we all long for that safe place. A place where you and I could just be us.
Sometimes you can take people with you only so far, and then you part ways, you pursue different things. Each of us is in pursuit of our own happiness and we should give that freedom to one another, even more, when we endeavor to create a sense of meaning into our very existence. I think beyond happiness, “meaning” is the utmost desire of our souls.
Letting go is obviously one of the hardest things that we can do, but at times, stepping into that new kind of freedom is very much worth it.sundaewrites
The year came like anything normal and in so many ways I have underestimated it. Certainly, you’ll never really know where life would take you.
During the first few months, inspiration struck. It triggered me to make small decisions and subtle changes affecting very important aspects of my life.
Letting Go of Stuff
It started with a few clothes, some old, some new, that I’ve never really worn for months. Like most, I’ve held on to those pieces of clothing because I’ve paid for them and I already own them.
I realized later on that possessing or not possessing them didn’t really affect the quality of my life. Nor has it affected the level of my happiness in the long term. Maybe that’s why you and I call this and similar things as stuff because literally, they’re just that. Most things we can live without and some we can only need enough of.
On the other hand though, our stuff can be a piece of gold to someone who really needs them. With that, I gave away clothes to friends, neighbors, relatives and some more things to charity.
I was able to sell some of the stuff too and more will be sold in the comings months. I remember meeting this buyer and our conversation went like this.
Buyer: So how long have you had this?
Me: 6 months
Buyer: how many times did you use it?
Buyer: It’s in superb condition and you’re selling it for half the price. Why did you buy it in the first place?
Me: Well, I thought I needed it and would do me good. Later on, I realized, it’s bulky and cumbersome. I can actually get rid of it and make do of what I already have.
Buyer: Well, this is a gem for me. Sorry, you had to sell it.
Me: Oh no, I’m glad I did! (“and I met you”! – bonus point that I felt he didn’t need to know – insert “grin”).
Letting Go of biases
I think you would agree that we all have our biases when it comes to culture, people of a different race or sometimes people from our own race. I for one am guilty about this. In the past, my generalizations about people have hindered the possibility of me knowing them at a deeper level and understand how they see things.
I’ve come to realize that it was a mistake and a loss on my part. I mean, some of them could have been my close friends. They could have contributed to my growth. Most could have been helpful mentors, teachers, coaches or perhaps role models. I remember a colleague of mine said to me one time. “It’s not you. We’re just not used to saying please and thank you as often as you do. We don’t even say please or thank you to people from our own country”. Another shared, “We look like we’re fighting because we seem to be shouting at each other, but we’re not. This is just a normal conversation”.
When I decided to finally open myself to other cultures and other communities, I felt like my heart expanded and my understanding broadened. I began to see these people the way I see myself and my friends- just human beings with imperfections like we all have, and trying their very best in life as we all do.
Letting Go of Who I thought I was
We are who we are. This belief also limited my success as a person.
I always thought that I’m an introvert and therefore, don’t have the ability to connect with people and actually be energized in the process. I always thought, I could never write, just because I barely passed my first essay in college. My English teacher would always ask me to explain what I’m trying to say. That time I have a knack for tying two words together, not because they mean anything but because they just sounded good. Well, it’s hard when English is not your first language. These are just two of several beliefs which crafted my idea of Me. This same idea pushed me to stay in my comfort zone because venturing out, I assumed, would lead me to failure.
After years, a breakthrough came. I decided I will no longer fear failure. So I started a journey of self-discovery and that meant trying new things and doing things that actually scared me or made me nervous and uneasy. I tell you, when I look at myself now, I like what I’m seeing. Frankly, I still make mistakes but I’m growing and continuously learning.
The good thing about letting go of who I thought I was is that every day I am embracing the opportunity to reinvent myself and expand my horizons. It opens a whole new door of possibilities of what I can still be, and the results usually astound me. What you can or cannot do, is indeed entirely up to you. Henry Ford puts it this way “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
My friend, is there something in your life that you need to let go and why, or, why not?
“Life is all about the dance. The colors. The sunny afternoons and cold mornings. The starts and stops”.- sundaewrites
What are Closed Doors?
For some, it could mean an end of a chapter while for others, an end of a season.
End of a chapter means you’re finally done and you’re supposed to carry on to the next. So the story keeps on unfolding, and it’s altogether new to you. It is possible though that you could have brought along characters from the earlier chapters of your life or maybe lessons from your past.
End of a season means you could just be taking a break or a sabbatical. It’s the journey of hills and valleys. After a while, you come back to the same season, but this time, you know better and you‘ve grown stronger.
In life, we will come face to face with a lot of closed doors:
- Graduating from College
- Graduating from Singlehood
- Graduating from parenting small kids
- End of a career
- End of a project
- End of a relationship
- Failure of a business
- Failure of a lifelong dream
- Failure of a marriage
Though some doors are meant to be closed forever, some are just waiting to be reopened for you to come back in and finish what you’ve started. Every closed door presents an opportunity, to grow, to rest, to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go. It gives us space to think, a chance to reboot, to renew, regenerate and refocus.
So how do we deal with closed doors?
We welcome it. We don’t resist it.
At some point, we need to stop fighting battles that we are not meant to fight. We need to stop holding on to things we’re supposed to let go. We need to stop anything that doesn’t serve us or make us better.
What we’d rather do is begin to summon that courage to step into unfamiliar waters or cross that river. We need to feel the ground we’re standing on and focus on the road up ahead instead of looking back. We need to run through the rain instead of wishing it to stop. For life, is all about the dance. The colors. The sunny afternoons and cold mornings. The starts and stops.
Do we need to worry about closed doors?
Four years ago, I lost someone. There was no way for that loss to be reversed. So I questioned life, I questioned God. Demanded answers that in my heart, I already knew but refused to accept. So I kept banging on heavens doors for answers to my “Why”.
Then, I got tired. I lurked in darkness until I realized dwelling in that state is not serving me anymore. So my “Why” turned into, “What now”. As I opened my self to receive answers to this question, new things started to unfold. Things I never thought of focusing my life on. Things that allowed me to re-ignite my desire to live and do it to the full.
Some of us live through two seasons during the year, some four. Regardless of the number, you have to live through them to understand and appreciate one full year. If you’re reading a book, at any point you’d know how many chapters there are to go before you reach the end. But if you’re the character in the story, you don’t know that. So you do the best you could to make the best of what you have, relish it and still give something away.
In life, you don’t show up just to get, you show up to give. Trust me, being able to give, is a much better place to be in.
Everybody loves a happy life. But a life story with no struggles, setbacks, detours and closed doors, is not as exciting to hear compared to a life story that has. Nobody can relate to a life with no pain, and nobody can be proud of a life lived devoid of meaning and purpose.
Are you still staring at a closed door? If it belongs to the past, leave it. There are still plenty of new doors waiting to be opened. In God’s universe, there’s an abundance of everything and it’s ours for the taking.
Are you looking at a closed door right now? What choice are you making? Comment here.
Have you ever started a day with disappointments? You’ve perfectly planned out everything, moving every possible obstacle out of the way just so you can guarantee a smooth-sailing journey towards accomplishing your goal, then it happened. You arrived one hour late, you got the wrong schedule, and just when you’re trying to save yourself from having a bad day, you drive 16 miles to a rescue venue and then, boom! You can’t find a parking spot. So you turn your car around and drive home for another 20 miles.
You feel like a total failure, a pathetic loser. You sink deep into frustration, then to anger, and then finally to hopelessness. At this point, all the negative thoughts parade in your brain like a bunch of cheering squad, clapping, jumping and shouting “hurray” knowing they have conquered your day.
I know, it’s exhausting. But hey, enough already. We can’t wallow in these feelings for the rest of the day, worse for the rest of the year. So granted things started off wrong, let’s just make good of whatever is left.
Blow off some steam. Get some fresh air. Instead of heading back to your place with a grumpy face, why not stop over somewhere just to take your mind off from what just happened. See something different, hear something different, that way you direct your focus to something nice, beautiful, relaxing or even peaceful. I know nature is the best remedy, and so is simply saying hello (and mean it) to people you pass by.
Someone wise told me if you can’t drive negative thoughts away from camping in your brain and make bonfires, replace them. How? Simply plant new thoughts. And that’s exactly what you can do when you look around. You will see something good. When you quite all the noise, you will hear something good.
Sometimes, our brains can be devious. They can trick us in many different ways, but if it’s already attacking the better part of you, fight back. That’s what will power is for. You resolve to find what’s good, what’s working and slowly you beckon gratefulness back.
Get some perspective. As what Tuesdays with Morrie once taught me, “Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long”. Even successful investors know when to cut losses, so we should too. Well, each case is unique, so you’ll get that wisdom from a lifelong experience. But I believe, that if you seek for answers deep down, you will know when it’s the right time to let go.
For a petty experience like the one I had today, I just thought of writing about it. It didn’t seem petty at first because I felt a thousand needles poking into my brain and my heart. Oh how I love my heart, so I’m guarding it with a thousand more soldiers so the enemy can’t invade.
Talking about it now gives me clarity. Maybe you can try it too. It’s true what they say that when you take a problem or an issue out and put it on a table, you can see it for what it is. Isolate it and you’ll know it’s completely unattached to you. Break the connection. You were never the problem. You just made up your mind that you were.
Selecta had it right when it flashed that message on the tv screen not so long ago. Love yourself. Do that, and you’ll be happier.