We Have to Stop Trying to Let Go


Written by Heidi Priebe from Thought Catalog.

“Because here’s what they don’t tell you about letting go: It is an inherently paradoxical notion.

The harder we fight to leave the past behind, the tighter the past clings to our sides. The more energy we expend trying to tie up loose ends, the more pressure we pile onto the new beginning that we are forming. And our life crumbles under that pressure. When compared side-by-side, the present never looks as good as the past, because we’ve idealized the hell out of the past. What imperfect present stands a chance against that?

What they don’t tell you about letting go is that for it to work, it has to happen unintentionally. Trying to let go is like the senseless mind game we used to play as children – as soon as you’re thinking about the game, you’ve lost. You can only win by ceasing to play.

In the same vein, letting go will never happen until we stop trying to force it to.

We don’t let go by staring at the past and willing it to disappear. We let go by welcoming the present. By inviting it into our lives. By saying “Yes” to where we are instead of just “No” to where we’re not.

For a while, we simply have to let the past and the present inter-mingle – engaging in an uncomfortable fusion of who we’ve been and who we have yet to become. It’s an unwelcome condition at first. But it’s one that lets the past naturally bleed itself dry. It’s one that carves out room for real change.

Because the truth is, we don’t let go by deliberately trying to do so.

We let go by carefully, uncomfortably uncurling our fists, opening our palms, and welcoming the new into our lives.

With time, whatever is meant to come next falls into our open palms.

And in the midst of living, whatever we’re meant to leave behind slips carefully, scarcely noticed, through our fingers.”

Can we read this every morning when we wake up, and every night before we go to sleep?

I just might.



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