To be certain I am cornering the market on an original idea, I conducted a precise Google search of the exact phrase, “how to let go”. This returned 67,100,000 results in 0.40 seconds. I then conducted a precise Google search of the exact phrase: “how to be let go”. This produced only six results in 0.32 seconds.
At a glance, the topic “how to let go” has people’s attention by an astronomical margin. I have personally read books about letting go, watched movies about it, sang songs about it, and memorized poems about it. My reward for this goliath effort is a mediocre success, wholly unequal to my time and tears invested.
I am, however, unqualified to advise people on “how to let go”. Certainly, my recovery from addiction has helped my life and relationships more than hurt. Yet, thinking through past trials, regrets, shames, and heartbreaks—both given and received—a novel observation presented itself: There must have been key moments when someone I loved sincerely was Googling “how to let go” while thinking about to me.
I thought carefully through decades of close friendships and past loves, noting life’s river-like rhythm of flowing people I love in and out of my presence. To be clear, these are not just people you love. These are people, who, for periods of suspended time, help you define yourself. As if you are the river, and they are the rocks influencing the currents of one’s being. It can be hard to say which direction a life might take without them.
What moves the tide is anyone’s guess. Yet the great ones seem able to appear and reappear at times it most counts. Yet, not everyone can be there, and not everyone will.
A person whom I loved dearly once said to me, “you have no idea how much I love you.” I carried those words inside for many years. Then, one day, after they were gone, the truth of it struck like a bullet in the night. This is an example of being let go.
There are other times when I could not recognize what people were trying to give to me. My intentions, my behaviors, my words were not my best. I saw they were right to let me go. Between errors of omission and commission, the mistakes that scare me most are the ones that are invisible to me.
In the journey of loving and growing as a human being, I grow doubtful that very much can be truly held on to. I am not sure if there is such thing as getting people back. All lives are present and sweep forward. We are subject to change. We have to be now. This is minority opinion may add little to the millions upon millions searching up “how to let go”.
“How to be let go” is unconventional. In a culture of doers, this subtle idea may gain little traction. But if one were to try, I would start by asking myself, “How might I have loved differently if I comprehended what it took to let go? How might I have valued people’s time differently? How might I have paid attention to people who gave me their presence?
Perhaps “being let go” was the wisest answer. This is growing up.
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