Have you ever gripped something so hard that it hurts? Remember as a kid and having the last piece of candy and your brother or sister tries to snatch it out of your hand so you close your grip as hard as possible, you might even swat back at them. “No, it’s mine!” As a kid, that piece of candy is IMPORTANT. Because it’s yours! Mom gave it to me for being a good girl at the store and I earned it! YOU didn’t earn it. It’s not yours! But they are relentless. They keep on and keep on and eventually you let your guard down, loosen your grip and let it go. You feel defeated. You felt weak, but you had no choice but to release your grip because it became too exhausting.
As you get older, the grip is bound around more than material things like candy. The grip is bound around relationships, expectations, ideals, hopes and dreams, the past, the future, rituals, spiritual beliefs. I could go on and on. The list is endless.
Gripping hard changes your thoughts. Your thoughts become attached to that which is being held on to so tightly. Your thoughts affect your feelings. Your feelings affect your behaviors. Before long, you’re whole being is revolved around that which you refuse to let go.
What if you didn’t have to hold so tightly? What if you loosened or dropped whatever it was that you were gripping onto?
Have you ever been in a relationship where things are not going as planned? I was married for seven years and during our seventh year he cheated on me. I gripped hard. He was mine. He was my husband and he wasn’t going to leave me and my daughter. I went to counseling, I read books, I tried to please him. Nothing worked, but I maintained my grip for a long time. It became heavy, exhausting. Eventually, I loosened my grip and naturally the relationship fell to the ground. I felt defeated, hurt, lonely, and angry. But I also felt relieved. By letting it go, I opened myself up to the things I was neglecting while hyper focused on saving the relationship. Eventually, it was okay. I was okay. Letting it go saved me.
Have you ever been in a position during your career that you wanted so badly, but it didn’t go as planned? I had a position that I wanted to keep so badly. The pandemic, short staffing and my own depression made it hard. But I wanted it. I earned it. So I gripped hard. So hard that it became the only thing I could focus on. It started as my love for the job, my love for the field, my love for the company, but eventually it became about proving myself and proving I was worthy of the position. My depression took me out of the game for a while, but I learned and accepted that I needed to loosen my grip. Damn did I feel defeated. I was ashamed, sad, angry. But when I loosened my grip, when I let go of what I thought should be and accepted what was, I opened myself up to things that were important to me that I had neglected. Letting it go relieved me of the responsibility for others. I could focus on me.
Have you ever had a loved one in a position where they are ready to move on from this life? They stop walking, eating, hearing, seeing, talking and you are so afraid to lose them that you put them on a ventilator, a feeding tube, anything to keep them here with you. You grip hard and fast because if you let go… well, then you lose them. As a nurse, I have seen this on multiple occasions. But what if your grip hurts those who need you to let go. Sometimes, your grip hurts more than you, it hurts others. Letting go hurts, but holding on hurts more.
Sometimes you don’t need to let it go. Sometimes, it is important to hold on to it. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual beliefs, politics, hopes and dreams. But what if you just gently opened your fist. In this position, you can keep what you need, but you are open to sharing and receiving. Circumstances change, people change, belief systems and rituals change. By leaving it open, you are allowing breathing room for change without losing what you have. You allow room to be vulnerable. Why is vulnerability so underrated these days? Vulnerability is what glues us together.
What makes someone strong? Is it the refusal to let things go? In our society, letting things go often looks weak. But strong and weak are so subjective. What is strong to one person may be weak to the next and vice versa. Life is fluid, change is inevitable, people come and go, circumstances change, what you once believed in may look different now, and we are all individuals just trying to navigate it all.
My challenge to you is to evaluate what you need, and let go of what is no longer serving you.
One Flawsome Momma