When is it right to let go and why?
Letting go of anything that you have invested some time or effort with can be difficult. The first thing we of think is relationships. But this can literally apply to any part of our lives. This includes important projects, hobbies, friends and even our belongings.
What these all have in common is that at some point this was an important part of our life. Let's use the analogy of a ship. An important distinction is that a deadweight on our ship is not necessarily something difficult or challenging to keep in the journey across the sea. In fact, the best things in life require a lot of challenge and effort. This is a deadweight simply because it is still there because of what was, not what it is or what it has the potential to be. It was of value, so removing it from our ship is hard. But then it takes up space and maintenance we could use for things that are needed.
A good example I can use for myself (which inspired this post!) is saying goodbye to a project that at the time I wanted to go all the way. Let's call it Project B. I invested time, effort and resources so I could complete it in the long-run. I compared it to Project A, which I had been doing for much longer and I seemed to naturally spend a lot of time developing this.
I realised that Project B had become a weary load.
It was always in the back of my mind that I hadn't worked on it. The times I did, I worried that I didn't have time to spend on Project A. Both projects were challenging in their own way, and very fun. But I realised with Project A, I did it so seamlessly, the effort and challenges were not a burden or waste of time. It was easier to scale it up and face up to the next problem. Project B was well intended, but I realised it was something I wanted to keep as a hobby or in a lighter way, not invest everything into like Project A.
In this way, if I had continued down doing both these projects, neither would have flourished, and it would (and has!) caused me undue stress. Letting go of Project B, allowed me to focus on A, wholeheartedly, and in turn reached its potential more. I am also overall less stressed, as spreading our resources thinly (including work and other responsibilities) does eventually lead to burnout. This is because our downtime to just be is the first thing that goes. After a while, we will become overwhelmed, and will need to come to a full stop.
This is the same with people. Many find it hard to cut off a flourishing romance or a long-time friend, as we remember how much promise it had, and the good times. The problem is we blindly ignore the fact that it has a strain on the rest of our life, right now, for whatever reason. Like a duty we must perform.
Time is the most precious resource we will ever have. And remember, there is a reason it isn't working. It doesn't have a part in our life moving forward. This is not an easy decision to make, by any means. But a decision we must make. Without proportioning time and resources correctly or not looking after our wellbeing, we cannot reach our potential. Letting go of what is not meant for us will leave more room for what is and increase our satisfaction and quality of life.
This is why knowing when to let go in any situation (no matter how significant or well-intended it was) is crucial. It allows us to do our best in what is meant to be for us.
But a good questions is, when is it right to let go? Ask yourself are you letting go simply because of the fear of venturing out or because it feels too challenging? In this case, we should think of someone who we personally think could rise to challenge. If you could be as confident as them would you want to pursue this? If the answer is an emphatic yes, then this is the type of letting go that is really running away.
I wish I could tell you an exact time, but I think this is why spending time to get to know ourselves is so important. Personal development isn't just some fancy term. It allows us to be in tune with what is the right way for us. Then we can act more instinctually to make the right decision, difficult or not.
Important things to note, is that we are not frivolously abandoning things because of their inherent difficulty or we feel we cannot deal with it. We've all done it. I can only speak from personal experience, but the right paths usually fill us with excitement as well as trepidation. Anything new or challenging can be scary. The difference is that we want to see it through. We want to see it reach its potential. We may not do it effortlessly or perfectly, but there is no hesitation that it has a place moving forward.
I will leave you with this:
"Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on" (Eckhart Tolle).