Thursday, March 30, 2006

Letting Go to Move Forward

Most of us don’t like change. We want the illusion of control we think we have when we know what’s going to happen and where we are and what we can do—even if it’s not ideal. The reality is that if we want to go from victim to thriver, trapped to free, despairing to truly happy then we have to change.

WE have to change. We have to let go of what feels comfortable or at least known and therefore less scary than the unknown. And often we do cling to what we know even when we secretly wish it was something else, something better.

We have to let go of our beliefs about ourselves—what we think we can and can’t do and the kind of person we may think we are--in order to become the person we want to be.

We have to let go of anger we may have kept wrapped around ourselves thinking it protects us. That doesn't mean we don't try to change what's wrong, only that our energy no longer is consumed by anger and instead goes into actions that truly can make a difference.

We have to let go of blame because if we are focusing on blame, we can’t use that energy to make real changes in our lives and move forward to create the lives we want to have. (Note: Forgiveness does NOT mean we must allow ourselves to continue to be hurt by anyone or allow the person to hurt anyone else! It is possible to forgive AND to choose to protect ourselves and others.)

We have to let go of believing we are limited if we want to discover what we can truly accomplish.

We have to let go of believing that if we try and don’t achieve a goal we have failed in order to realize that true failure is not even trying.

Sometimes we have to let go of people, too. Maybe people who have been important in our lives and who we care deeply about. I’m not suggesting walking away without trying to make things work or walking away in anger because that person isn’t meeting our expectations. Let me be clear on this—I value loyalty and trust and acceptance. I value love and commitment and working things out. I also know that sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes relationships can’t be what we would like them to be. Sometimes even when everyone involved is a good and decent person and means well, a situation or relationship is harmful to one or more of the people involved. When that’s the case, we need to love and let go. The temptation may be to get angry because that makes it easier but in the long run, we will be happier if we accept that life can be complicated and no one has to be at fault.

Why do I spend so much time on this last point? Because for anyone who has been deeply hurt by someone at any point in his or her life (true of many readers of this blog), relations are problematical. Heck, maybe they are for everyone. After all, fear of abandonment is the most profound and basic fear there is. If we believe we are essentially unlovable, we will find it very hard, if not impossible to let go of ANYONE who claims to love or care about us, even when we know, deep down, the situation is destructive.

The thing is, if we open ourselves to the possibility that we are loveable, we won’t feel that need to cling. We may also discover that there is a world of people out there who would LIKE to know and care about us! I’ve long since lost track of all the people I know who say with some surprise in their voices that they didn’t know people could like them. And I’m not just talking about survivors of trauma or abuse.

So...what are you going to let go of this week to let yourself move forward? Because when we let go of what isn’t working we open up room in our lives for what will work. But more about that next time.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),



Holly Desimone said...

Hi April_optimist,
Change is a challenge, as you stated we have to change. We need to heal, move forward, look to the future with a belief about ourselves that we are truly survivors that thrive!! What a wonderful feeling to achieve? Thank you for the words of wisdom! Holly

Timon said...

Thanks for the blog! How do you see yourself moving on from someone realistically...that's the hardship I'm encountering.... how do you mentally move on?

April_optimist said...

Holly, Thank you.

Timon, When I went through my divorce, I focused on what was now possible in my life that wouldn't have been as long as I stayed in that relationship. I let myself remember and value what had been good about it. I reminded myself of what hadn't been--and that I deserved better. I made a vow that I would become at peace with myself and my own company before I looked for a new relationship. I looked for what part I had played in what went wrong and thought about what I could have done differently--always understanding that I did the best I could AT THE TIME. Does that help?