Because I’ve done a whole lot of it lately, I’ve been thinking about the process of ‘letting go’ and how my process has changed throughout my lifetime.
Looking back to the days as a young child, knowing we would never stay in the same place for very long, I would not allow myself to get close to anyone. I did try to make friends and find connections, but being the new girl in school all the time made it rather difficult. Girls were rarely accepting of ‘the new girl’ in school. The boys didn’t care one way or the other, but I didn’t need male friends, I needed girlfriends.
We would always manage to make a few friends in the neighborhood we would temporarily call home, but again we always had to say goodbye.
When we finally thought we had a place that we might finish growing up, I let the walls down and made some great friends. We had the neighbor girls Debbie and Jeannie, who became our best friends. We had the girls around the corner that took us horseback riding. We had the family in the cul-de-sac where we learned how to twirl the baton and got to be in parades. The boys next door were a lot of fun, as well as the girls across the street. We had friends all over the neighborhood! That is until the day my mom shot my dad. I never went back to the house or the neighborhood.
After that, I realized saying goodbye was a process I didn’t want to go through again. With a life chock full of pain, the last thing I wanted to do was self-inflict! From that moment on, I installed a switch. This switch was easy for me to flip on and off as needed. This switch carried me through high school.
Because I was…let’s call it “interesting” in high school (saved for another post), I went through about 27 boyfriends. There were many bets riding on “who would get to 2nd base” with me. Sadly for the boys and the bet they would lose, no one ever did. I remember I would be walking through the halls of my high school holding the hand of the guy I just started dating. As we were walking, I would excuse myself as I had to go break up with the guy I dated previously.
I refused to take any of it seriously. There were a few nice kids that I think maybe genuinely liked me. Sadly I was a joke and a good laugh for the kids in school, so I never allowed myself to get too close to anyone nor to trust that they really could care about me.
I had a switch, and I knew how to use it. This switch did me a great service for years to come. No matter what kind of relationship I was in, when the gut kicked in telling me it the relationship was threatened, I would flip the switch and with no feeling, I would be gone. I refused to feel.
Many years down the road I let my walls down and allowed myself to feel again. It was a safe place, and I thought it would last forever. When the time came to end this relationship, I was broken. Little did I know at the time that years down the road, I would be stronger than I ever imagined I could be.
When this relationship ended, oh how I mourned. I yearned for it to be fixed. I wanted nothing more than to glue all the broken parts and pieces back together, yet I knew it never could happen. It was beyond repairable because I had been growing as a person. There was no way the woman I was evolving to become could take that backward step. No matter what, I cried for years wondering about it. I cried, and I journaled.
It took about four years of long nights and pity parties, but I got over it. Not only did I get over it, but I continued getting stronger and becoming someone I never imagined I could be. It’s funny how the process of letting go changes when we are changing and growing as a person.
Over the last year or so, I have taken myself off the grid. I have spent very little time with friends. I’ve spent quality time writing, walking, evaluating and planning the direction I want my life to be headed. I’ve joined associations connected to what I will be doing to set the plan in motion. My daughter will graduate from high school in three years and will be going off to college, at that time, my writing and speaking will be my focus.
In removing myself from the grid, it enabled me to look at the relationships I have had over the last 15 years. In looking in from the outside, I was able to see that when I was the one doing all the planning and organizing for everyone, I was surrounded by many enjoying the fruits of my labor. When I was no longer planning for everyone, they no longer sought out the connection.
Being alone was a strangely wonderful turning point for me. Since I have had so much time to think and introspect, I have stopped wasting time in just being busy with people! I have clearly defined what it is I will be doing for the second semester of my life. These truths don’t just come to you when you enmesh yourself in everyone and their drama. When you walk away and let go, your life comes to you!
You need to surround yourself with people who are already successful doing what you want to be doing. Taking that advice has opened so many great doors for me. I now surround myself with strong and powerful people. It is exciting to run in circles with people that know who they are, they have a plan for their future, and they move hard and fast to get there.
The final phase of letting go comes after all the painful years learning how to do it correctly. It comes with ease. When you can see your situation and know toxic people are involved, you can let go the moment you have that realization. Healthy people do not allow unhealthy life sucking people to exist in their environment. When you know who you are and what you deserve, you never settle for less. It comes to all who work to achieve it.
Letting go can be down right hard because it stirs up change. People don’t like change because it makes them uncomfortable. These yucky, gut bomb feelings are misery, yet they give you the opportunity to close a door and open a brand new window. Discomfort is the best thing you can experience if you want to improve your life. Staying safe and holding on to everything keeps you right where you are; stuck and afraid. If you never have the strength to accept change and jump off a cliff, you can never have more than you have now.
My niece Jenna said this once, and I can never forget it. “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Letting go sucks, but it is worth it.