“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
I've encountered this many times, but it's a still a lesson that's always being taught and is never mastered. There have been countless times when I'm faced with the question, "Is it time to let go?" Be it and idea, a person, a friendship, a relationship, a dream, a hope, etc. It leads to an inner debate between better and worse, pros and cons, and the weight this will have in my day to day life. This is how I've come to find that it's not only important to let go, but there's a lot of strength in doing so.
There's a large focus placed on quantity in today's youth: how many likes you have, how many followers, how many parties you get invited to, how much money you can spend, and so on. But what's gotten lost in the shuffle is quality. We forget what we deserve in an effort to keep up with this popular image; essentially watering ourselves down. We want to be the person everyone likes, that's always getting a warm hello when passing someone in the hallway, and who struggles to fit everyone into their schedule. There have been times where I feel I've sacrificed what I deserve in an effort to hold on to things that really haven't earned that place in my life. I definitely experience a lot of fear when it comes to letting go, especially in regards to people. What I've come to realize, however, is that this gives them more control over my life than me. And that is NOT something I want to continue.
It's a hard pill to swallow when you think about the people you spent time with becoming memories. Or the thing you've put a lot of time working towards falling into the past. But when you're defining what's important to you and what you deserve, some things are better off left behind. This isn't to say it's easy by any means; I still feel the holes in my chest that were once filled with people, things, and ideas I once loved--I would hope you take great care in deciding what you put time and effort into and therefore it should be difficult to say goodbye. But each loss is an opportunity to grow, it's cutting the strings of the things that are tying you down. It's helped me to become more independent, to push myself to socialize with other people, to fill my life with things that make me feel valued and vise versa. I like to see my life as a funnel, like one you use to pour liquids into a bottle with a small opening. It begins being very broad; you're open to anything, exploring, learning, taking it all in, and it's the time where quantity has a place. You're basically discovering what's out there and laying the foundation for you to build upon. But as I get older, the funnel shrinks; I decide where my time is most valuable and stop doing things or hanging with people that no longer interest me or help me towards my ambitions, while at the same time I'm solidifying what makes or will make me happy; be it things I'm doing, people I spend time with, or new goals I have in mind. So although the space is smaller, the things that I'm allowing to pass through are of much greater value to my life, well-being, and future. There is a shift from quantity to quality.
Is this expecting too much of others? Unforgiving to walk away? Selfish to be thinking of things in the sense of how they serve you? No, I don't think so. It's important to realize that these things are a two way street; give and take. You aren't only thinking about yourself but of how what you give will be received. This can apply to literally anything. You want to know that when you'd do anything for your best friend, they'd do the same for you; that when you'd drive 100 miles to see the person you love that they'd find a way to get to you; that when you've worked so hard for your career you'll get the respect in the office that you've earned; if not you have every right to walk away. We all deserve this. Many adults in my life have said things along the lines of, "It took me so long to realize I was better off without people like that." So I want to get a jump start on this idea, not only in the sense of people but really anything. On the J-Train Podcast, by Jared Freid, he says "messy house, messy life." You've got to clean out the house, that is start going to the gym, hanging with a new crowd, getting your job in order--basically pull it together, and the rest will all come.
You won't have room to hold on to these new things without realizing the importance of letting go.