Why It's O.K. to Let Go - And The Big Question To Ask Ourselves In The Process

Last week I practised letting go. BIG TIME. And it took me a LONG time to get to it. But before I tell you about that let me take a step back and start the story a tad earlier.

Being loyal - or letting go?

If I learned one thing during my childhood, it was loyalty. And as a woman to be the one who lives it, triggers it, makes sure it happens.

* Regardless of how bad the situation. 

* Regardless of how much people crossed boundaries.

* Regardless of how tough a situation might be.

* Regardless of how useless things were.

 Don't get me wrong: Loyalty is a great trait. 

It helps in relationships - not dropping the person at the first sign of difficulty or non-alignment. 

It helps in the career to fighting through issues and uncomfortable situations. And can result in more confidence in self and a more conscious career path.

It's environmentally friendly as it means holding on to things longer and not fall into the mindless consumption trap.  

But like everything - when taken to the extreme - it can become harmful - often for ourselves.

Staying in a workplace despite a culture we cannot abide or support.

* Sticking it out with a partner who's disrespectful or has completely different values (this can be both in love and business).

* Letting things pile up at work or at home we never look at. Or not throwing out what doesn't serve our purpose well enough anymore.

I knew for a while that my sense of loyalty is exaggerated. I stayed too long in some workplaces, with people in my life, gave both one chance after another (always in the irrational hope that things or people might change), despite knowing in my guts that it was time to move on. AND I held on to stuff far too long - beyond its use!

Sometimes it's time to let go.

As those things, situations, or people will hold us back. Or worst case harm us.

And it doesn't end there.It could be a habit, a thought pattern, or a belief for which it's time to let it go. 

Often easier said than done.

I know loads of people who have issues with that. And it's not necessarily about the "big" things. It can show up in the small stuff. 

"Oh, I could use this xxxx(thing) again - eventually"

"The job is actually quite o.k….."

"Hey, in his heart, he's really a great person with wonderful qualities…."

"I've always done it that way...."

Because letting go means losing something. And that is scary and can create fears.

Even if we somehow know it's not good for us anymore.

It feels comfortable. At least we know what we're in for - the infamous "better the devil you know"-situation. 

Everything that's coming afterwards we don't know - it's uncertain.

Could be better, could be worse, right?

"What if I don't like the new thing (or miss the old)?"

"What if the new job turns out to be less attractive than it seemed?"

"What if I will be alone/lonely?

It takes courage & trust- in yourself and life - to let go.

 That is what I finally mastered in the last few weeks. 

  • I finally switched my phone from a Swiss phone to a German one (I moved 2 years ago, and the contract cost me a small fortune during that time….). Letting go of a telephone number I had for 15 years. 
  • I bought myself a new mattress, replacing and letting go of a sinfully expensive and formerly incredibly comfortable, but now an old and saggy one.
  • I got myself new glasses (letting go of my totally beloved 8-year old ones, which are definitely past their best times and don't have the right strength of glasses anymore)
  • I had some massive trees cut down in my garden that I planted 20 years ago and became too big (but created a fantastic privacy shield). I struggled with this decision for more than 2 years.

 Small things? 

 Yes and no. 

Sometimes the little things represent more than what meets the eye. 

* I finally cut the last tie (the phone number) to my Switzerland era of 15 years. 

* I started trusting that there are other great things out there that can be beneficial for me, even if I let a good thing go (the mattress, the glasses).

* I realized that the big trees created privacy, but also prevented me from looking further - seeing more (and maybe even being seen).

This is why it took me so long. 

I simply wasn't ready before.

And despite asking others for their opinion or thoughts - and most told me just to move on with it - something was still holding me back. The fear of the loss being bigger than the win. 

The principle stays the same - I lost something with each decision to let go, AND I will gain something too - NOW fully trusting that the benefits will outweigh the "loss". 

The big question while letting go 

What I already know is that I feel great having let go. It's freeing, it took a weight off, it's progress and the opportunity for a new start. 

There is always a "price to pay" when letting go.

The question is - what price ARE you willing to pay?

A question I ask myself regularly when it comes to letting go. 

And if it takes a bit longer - so be it. Because it's your choice. And your choice only. You will know when the moment is right - but only if you dare to be truthful. To yourself. 

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