Alexander Graham Bell once said,
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
It makes logical sense to understand this concept. However, being emotional beings we humans are, it is one of the toughest things to accept. Lately, much of the topics of conversation in which I have been engaged surrounds the difficulty people have been experiencing with “letting go” and “moving on” in order to deal with a stressful situation and enter the healing process. Letting go is one of the hardest things we can do, but it is necessary in order to make progress in life. So, you ask, “Why don’t we let go?” There are many reasons why we don’t let go.
Even though we know what we should do intellectually, we have the tendency to do what we are comfortable with or familiar with, which has much to do with how we have been conditioned to act on our emotion. In the sales and marketing world in which I am involved, we understand that a company’s product or service appeals to the emotion of the prospective customer because buying decisions are influenced mostly by one’s emotional state. Similarly, whether or not to “let go” is also a decision influenced by one’s desired emotional state. In short, we act out what we are passionate about, whether that translates to positive or negative behavior.
Take a break up of an intimate relationship for example. One may be inclined to not let go completely because the existence of the “painful emotions” felt by holding on to the memory of the breakup provides him some sense of connection to the ex-partner whether it is a good or bad feeling (I know I have done this in the past). In other words, “I won’t let go because holding on to the pain of that memory makes me so angry and becomes the catalyst for me to work even harder to prove to her that I was a good enough partner.” I did this a couple of years ago and what seemed like a good idea at the time to fuel my energy and desire to become more successful to prove to “him” he should have chosen me, I found myself regressing because I still allowed thoughts of him to dictate my actions. The unhealthy thing with this thought process is that the time and energy I exhausted in doing this took away from the time and energy that I could have been exerting on my own forward progress.
When we are focused on our past, which is all said and done, we lose time in the present to work on creating our desired future results. All of my achievements or developments were still being attributed to him in some way, giving him control over my life even though he did not know this was occurring. Simply knowing that this what was I succumbed to filled me up with continued sadness and disappointment in myself regardless of the successes I had seen. That is when I made the decision to finally let go.
Ann Landers quoted it best,
“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”
So, you ask again, “Why let go?” Because it is necessary in order to grow, develop, and open the door to opportunities that you might not see if you are living in the past. Embrace the present because it is a gift. Do not give others, even if it is just a thought, the control over your emotion to dictate what actions you will take. Own the responsibility for taking action for your future. Take action. Trust the process. Let go. Always remember to keep breathing.