So let goMon, 20th Nov '06, 7:15 pm::
Casually talking to a friend today I realized how one of the personality traits that I've acquired over time has changed my life so drastically and mostly for the better - the ability to let go. Letting go of someone or something is different than forgiving or giving up. I mean let go in the same sense as Chuck Palahniuk's Narrator in Fight Club remarked, "The ability to let, that which does not matter, truly slide."
For a species that is free to move around, we are remarkably predisposed to hanging on. As toddlers, we hold on to our blankets and teddy bears. As kids we latch on to our toys and mommies. In youth, we hold on to our music and friends. And as we grow older, we cling to our families, jobs, cars, houses, and every person that we've ever cared for. We just can't seem to let go of anything. Hanging on is what we do!
It is not a secret that people change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The friend that cared about you so much last year doesn't even think about you anymore. The little boy down the street you liked saying hello to, doesn't seem all that respectful anymore. When a person changes, we all notice it. You knew it the moment your cousin got married that she turned into a whole new person. When a person changes, we also know if they changed for the better or worse. Your friend for the worse and your cousin for the better.
The problem is that we ourselves aren't willing to incorporate this change into our world view. We don't want to admit that now that this person has changed and is suddenly treating us like crap, that we should just let go of them. We keep trying to get their attention, to show them that we are still worthy of their affection. We need to let go. You need to let go. The relationship is over. The friendship is over. Just let go.
Letting go doesn't mean you stop talking to family or friends when they're in trouble and are more work for you to put up with. Letting go means when someone clearly no longer wants to include you in the next episode of their life, you gracefully accept that your character was killed off and go back to starring in the remaining forty-seven other shows. If that's not enough, find new people and become a guest star in their lives.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that many people no longer want me to be an active part of their life; some very close friends in the years bygone. Often I blamed myself for the turn of events, thinking I must have done something to push them away. Turns out, it wasn't me or anyone else. It wasn't even them sometimes. Life changed them. They moved on and were hoping I would too; the sooner the better.
When it takes more effort to maintain a connection with someone than the mutual benefit and support we obtain, it is not worth trying to make things work anymore. While we shared some good times in the past, if you don't have enough time for me anymore, it is in my best interest to let go and find someone else. The longer we hang on to after the bond's broken, the more it hurts when we finally let go.
Letting go doesn't have to be painful or sad. It can be a wonderful culmination of good times had. I let go of my angel after she helped me finish my first marathon. I said bye, smiled, and never looked back. I still think fondly about her and I'm certain it's because I let go of her before she started ignoring my phone calls and emails. If someone is meant to come back to your life, they will. Otherwise, just let go.