There comes a time when the best choice is to let go. When we care deeply about something, however, this is a very challenging decision. Usually, letting go comes in the form of two types: 1) we unexpectedly lose what we once had and must accept that it’s gone and beyond our control to change, or 2) we must make the decision to consciously let go, taking some kind of action to sever the tie.
While both are difficult, the latter always feels more challenging to resolve. If something is taken from us, the surprise can be upsetting, but we can justify that it was beyond our control. This can help us adjust to the new reality. When we need to consciously make a decision to let something go or cut our losses, reaching this decision can be pure torment. And many of us end up hanging on longer than we know is best.
In my career practice, I often hear clients say that they would welcome a layoff package, but don’t feel it is wise to proactively resign, even though the job or company is clearly no longer a fit. While there are practical reasons for this, many often stay longer than they need to, avoiding a job search to remain in the comfort of what is known, even though it’s become unbearable.
This situation can also be found in relationships that have run their course, habits that no longer serve us, and big plans that are just not working out. We view the decision to let go as a failure, an admittance that we couldn’t make it work or are not good enough. We ignore the sage advice and question our perceptions, doubting what we know to be true and discounting the evidence in front of us. It’s a pattern I have repeated many times in my life, and in turn, usually ended up with a bigger loss as a result.
While most of us long for a clear sign of when it’s time to proactively let go, it’s rarely black and white. However, I believe that if we trust our instincts, pay attention to the signs, and avoid letting fear get the best of us, we can sometimes see the path more clearly.
In order to reach our dreams, we sometimes need to let go of what is in our grip right now, no matter how comfortable and safe it feels. One of the only constants in life is change, and if we never find the courage to let go, we end up suffering and leaving little space for growth or moving forward.
So what are you holding onto? Can you find the courage to let go and have faith in what lies ahead?