I recently read a quote that caused me to stop in my tracks. It was about letting go, and this is what it said:
"There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn't the end of the world; it's the beginning of life."
I was struck by the positivism of this statement, and I suddenly felt more hopeful than I had in months. I saw that I needn't put myself down for feeling the desire to move on, having outgrown my need to hold on to people and events in order to feel justified. It was okay to let go. It was good to be courageous enough to continue on without people who matter to me, if necessary, in order for personal growth to take place. Suddenly, I had permission, a new freedom that made all the difference in the life I was living.
Letting go isn't the end of the world. I have to admit that sometimes it feels like the end of the world and way too painful. There's that parent who let you down, that addicted loved one, that friend who hurt you in ways that make forgiveness seem impossible. When you love someone and you suddenly realize that you have absolutely no control over their actions or decisions, you can do one of two things. You can either use persuasion, compromise, guilt trips, or downright pleading to change their mind -- or you can let go of all attempts to control. "It's the beginning of life." Life for who? For you, the one who has decided to let go. And what will that life be like? Will it be empty now that the loved one has been set free to live a life of their own choosing? Will the focus now shift to your own needs, perhaps for the first time in a great while? Admitting your own powerlessness and letting go of someone else can liberate you to begin life anew. And it's not so much dismissing that person; it's more about the letting go of the need to control the outcome of your relationship.
We are not in control of everything that comes our way. But we do have some say over how we want to relate to others in our life. Still, holding on tightly to someone isn't the answer, for that person may feel the need to slip between your fingers, and then you find you're left holding nothing. You must let go and give others the freedom to make mistakes, run away, and perhaps even return. And while all this is happening, try to mindfully consider the valuable lesson being offered to you. You may turn bitter from regret and the sadness of feeling rejected by your loved one, or you may take this experience and use it to develop greater character within yourself. You can make that decision, and what you choose will indeed impact your self-esteem and your very outlook on life itself. To let go isn't to cease caring; it is to allow for things to take their natural course and to wait for perhaps a time when peace can reign once again.