“There are far better things ahead than any we may leave behind.” ~C.S. Lewis
Rose told Jack that she would never let go of his hand in Titanic, Randall loosens his glove to keep Fisher from having to hold on to him in The Guardian, and Tyler Durden brings home a most difficult idea of letting go in Fight Club — Stop trying to control everything and let go. LET GO! Letting go is one of the most difficult things for most of us to do, but if we heed the words of C.S. Lewis, we might find it an exciting option to look ahead instead of always looking behind.
It’s been just over a year since I cut my hair. The first cut was a little over 10 inches. My trusted stylist, Mallory, and I talked about it for quite a while before we agreed on the plan. I was so nervous to let go of so much hair — it had become a safety net for me of sorts. Our conversation reminded me of how important it is that we each let go of things that might hold us back from wonderful new experiences. Yes, it was just hair, but it was a big part of my identity. It made me think, though, of what else has been part of my identity that I’ve been afraid to let go.
There are many reasons we hang on to things, but fear seems to be one of the most popular.
Fear drives so many of our choices. It is both a weapon and a gift. Fear is the weapon used by abusers to keep victims quiet. Fear is a gift when we are in a dangerous situation and need to run. But there are times that fear simply exists, creating terror in the gut of a person who might otherwise move forward from a situation that isn’t horrible but could be so much better, as my fear of cutting my hair.
When have you needed to let go of something so you could move forward?
Maybe you could have let go of a favorite car that ended up being broken down more than it ran.
Have you hung on to clothes that you thought you might wear ‘someday’ but are still two sizes too small or too large?
Maybe you’ve been afraid to let go of your beliefs about another person, and if you did so, you could open yourself up to a more fulfilling life.
Are you hanging on to a person — the one you seek to control, or perhaps, the one who seeks to control you?
What are you afraid of losing if you let go? Often, we are afraid of losing control, yet it is the loss of control that actually can free us. Think about it. When you grip the steering wheel too tightly, driving is more difficult than if you let go a little and let the wheel move freely in your hands. What would be better if you let go of your need to control?
One day, Lewis’ words took hold in my head, and I’ve let go of a lot. You might not see it, but I can feel it. It’s so good to let go of ideas that haven’t served me, of relationships and responsibilities that have hurt me. Someone else is available to fill my spot and your spot.
What are you afraid of? What in the past are you tethered to so tightly? Detaching from what lies behind doesn’t always mean severing ties, simply giving yourself permission and freedom to see what’s ahead. There are far better things ahead, but how will you know if you haven’t let go of the past?