Have you stayed in a job, relationship or any life situation longer than you should have? Are you in a situation now which doesn’t feel right, but you just don’t know if or when to let go?
Letting go is not easy because we fear the void that will be left behind. And the more emotionally embroiled you are with the situation, the more time you have spent on it, the more you are likely to struggle to let go.
One of the main challenges with letting go is that we often don’t have something new to hold onto, we feel like we’re going to fall into the abyss. But you see that abyss, that void? It’s not a void. It’s space. Space for something new to enter.
Life is impermanent, everything comes and goes. The more we can grasp this, the more we can realise that it’s OK to let something go and let something new take its place.
So how do we know when it’s time to let go?
- You’re experiencing more pain than joy
Sound pretty obvious huh? But how many times have we stayed in very painful situations, feeling stuck or just hoping that maybe it’ll get better? Maybe it will, but if the balance has tipped heavily in the direction of pain, it would be a healthy act of self-care to let this thing go.
Fall into the space and see what comes to fill it – something always comes, something better.
- You feel physically and emotionally tired and drained
Holding onto something that no longer fits, has run its course or is causing more pain than joy is draining. Do you feel drained, inside and out? Are you done? This is clear sign that it’s time to let go. Spend your energy on things that energise you back.
- It’s affecting your ability to enjoy other things in life
It’s pretty impossible to segment our mind and emotions into boxes for different parts of our life. If you’re home life is a struggle, as hard as you try not to, you will carry that into your work life and vice versa. If you find the struggle of this situation seeping into other areas of your life, areas you used to enjoy, then consider it might be healthy to let it go.
- There are no real benefits
A real benefit is something that you simply cannot do without, or something that contributes to your deeper wellbeing. Let’s say you’re in a job you don’t like, what are the real benefits of staying? You might think that earning money is a benefit, but is it a real benefit that you can’t get anywhere else? Is it worth sacrificing your joy and wellbeing for this particular job?
List the real benefits, be honest and then decide whether or not it’s time to let go.
- The big picture shows that this situation doesn’t ‘fit’ anymore
Life is too short to spend it holding together pieces that don’t fit. You are constantly evolving and changing and so it’s very possible that a job, person or situation is simply not a good fit anymore. Don’t hold back your growth because you fear change.
- The big picture shows that this situation is simply a catalyst
By this I mean, it was an important part of your growth and transition into something greater. The most painful experiences which are hardest to let go of often propel you into some of the best experiences of your life. Try and keep this greater perspective and be honest with yourself – maybe this thing was not meant to stick around for the long term.
“Holding on is believing there is only a past. Letting go is knowing that there is a future”
Daphne Rose Kingma