Why do we find it so hard to let go? Of unhealthy relationships, expectations, outcomes, maybe even that dessert or cocktail we know we don’t really need?
I think it’s partially due to HABIT. We ARE what we repeatedly DO. And most of what we have learned to do in our adult life, stems from mimicking patterns and behaviors we observed as a child. We are so use to how things have always been done, that we don’t stop to think about how they could be done differently.
We also tend to wade in FEAR. We become paralyzed by the idea of changing behaviors that no longer serve us, with loyalty to decisions and thoughts that have kept us safe and comfortable for so long. In short, we like to be (or believe we are) in control- even if that control is only bringing us temporary satisfaction.
And finally, it is in part due to our innate sense of RESPONSIBILITY. We love to help others and convince ourselves we are needed by “fixing” or “saving” someone or something. We believe that without us and our input, people won’t get better and things simply won’t get done.
The problem with all of these however, is that all three are ENTIRELY FALSE. And without personal reflection and challenging ourselves inside the day to day interactions with others, the cycle continues and our growth becomes stagnant. Here is where we find ourselves confused, unfulfilled in our relationships, and emotionally dried up.
The first step and best litmus test is to take inventory on the quality and satisfaction found in your close relationships. Do they bring you anxiety? Turmoil? Stress? Do you find yourself gossiping or judging? Do you feel guilty saying “no,” or taking care of your needs and priorities first? Do you get a “high” or “rush” by meddling in others lives?
Authentic happiness can only be found inside relationships that are founded on repeatedly letting go, and a constant searching for the courage to identify when and why you are attaching yourself to problems or situations that aren’t yours to solve. It is found in a simple (daily) shift of reverting your focus from other people, back onto yourself. Your bonds will flourish in personal relationships when you no longer attempt to fill the gaps in other’s lives, while letting go of the expectation that others are to do the same.