The Art of Letting Go

By nature I’m an overthinker and one of the hardest things for me is to let things go. Even when I know it’s time to move on, I’ll still keep going through conversations and messages over and over in my head. Things I could have said differently, things I had hoped for. Whenever I have tough conversations with someone I’ll have gone through a billion different scenarios about what could have been said and I’ll analyze every word that has been said. Maybe it’s because I’ve played so many videogames where you can choose different dialogue options, but I’ll always have gone through conversations that I’m about to have over and over, until I’m tired of myself.

Recently there’s been quite some stuff going on in my life that has kept my overthinking brain busy and caused me to get close to a burnout. The most clear sign of this was that while driving to work in the morning I’d find myself yawning constantly and feeling dead tired, despite having had enough hours of sleep. I suppose there’s just no rest for my wicked brain. When I get up, the first thing I usually do is head for the bathroom and brush my teeth. That’s where my brain starts its overthinking process, as if I just booted it up. And before I know, I’ll have thoughts about my expectations for the day, but also whatever kept me busy the day before. It’s something I wish they’d invented a button for, so I could turn it off.

The sad truth is that even with all the promises in the world, we’re still human and although we make promises, sometimes it’s just impossible to keep all of them, however much we’d like to. In the end, what is important is that you stay true to yourself and although I can say that I have shifted perspectives on a lot of different matters and know why I’m the culprit in the other party’s story, but at the same time, I know I did the right thing for myself. And that’s all that really mattered. By nature I’m a problem solver, and usually when I have a conflict with someone I’ll try to mend whatever was broken, but there are times when you simply cannot do so anymore. Especially if your side of the story doesn’t seem to matter to the other party. Or they clearly didn’t want to understand what you were trying to convey. When that happens, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. Sound easy, right? But a stoic approach to these things can really help and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do and will keep doing, going forward in life.

Realizing more words won’t change a thing

There should be a realization at some point that any more words added to a discussion won’t change a thing. Especially if both parties aren’t likely to come to any sort of agreement. Once you feel like enough words have been spoken, make sure you won’t keep trying, despite yourself. If you value yourself and your sanity, just don’t reply to any further messages you receive from someone that hurt you badly. If you know it won’t help, just don’t bother. And if you agree that it’s for the best to just let it rest, but you’re prone to replying anyway, just block that person. That’s one of the beautiful things of modern technology 😉 According to the stoic school of thought we cannot change other’s interpretations of our words and actions, but we can change how we act and what we say. In cases such as these, silence is golden.

Out of sight, out of mind

One of the things that really bother me is that there’s so many places you’ll be reminded of someone nowadays. I didn’t realize this until I faced it myself. Especially when someone is particularly close to you, there will be tons of places, both offline and online where they’ll keep showing up (literally and figuratively). I made a conscious decision to avoid using social media as much as possible for some time. Later I even went as far as unfriending/following, because I felt that I had to let go. In a sense this made my decision feel much more final, by actually clicking an unfriend/follow button. Another perk of modern technology, I suppose. It can really help you to feel like you’re cutting the proverbial cord.

Consciously watching your thoughts

Now, I wouldn’t be an overthinker if I didn’t keep going back to thinking about nasty situations all the time. However, noticing you’re thinking about something that is ultimately proving to be a waste of time is the first step to not doing it. Whenever you catch yourself doing it, take note of it and consciously shift your attention elsewhere, like that book you’re currently reading, or any other topic, except that one that just keeps creeping up like some dark cloud over a blue sky. Especially the nasty parts will have a tendency to keep recurring in your thoughts, but always consider if more thinking or reflecting upon it will be of any potential benefit to you. There will be a point where this is no longer the case and you’re better of shoving those thoughts back from where they came, however hard it is to let go of them. I’m still working on it now and we’re all human, so there’s a good possibility you won’t ever be able to rid yourself of all these thoughts. We’re men, not machines after all 😉

Move forward with your chin up

Always realize that no matter how badly things were fucked up, you’ll always have a chance to learn when situations like these arise. You can come out stronger. Don’t let anyone drag you down to rock bottom. Especially if they’ve hurt you bad. Sometimes the best solution is to let go and it’s really fucking hard to do that if you were really close to someone. Not all relationships last forever, not everyone can be your friend, no matter how much we want it.

Be more like Darth Vader and throw your Palpatine down the proverbial endless pit! It may hurt, but you’ll have redeemed yourself.

I hope my words give you the strength you need. You owe it to yourself to choose for yourself. Never compromise if it will lead to more pain. It’s hard and you might end up being scarred for life, but knowing you did the right thing for you is worth much more than a crooked relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to care about you, or your well-being.



4 replies »

  1. Jeffrey, What a soul/mind/heart searcher you have written here. As usual with so much you have written about in the past, a book’s content in a review, perhaps, I can identify with what you are dealing with here. A technique I learned many years ago in a teacher workshop may be of use for you. It is very simple & those I have shared it with say it really helped them. You simply picture what is bothering you “in the air” in front of your forehead; a face, an object, something that brings to mind/symbolizes what is bothering you. Then, keep it there & pretend/picture shrinking it into a box. Now make that box even smaller. And now try/pretend/picture moving that tiny box into your head/mind through your forehead! Now push it to the back of your head & shrink it even more & just leave it there. Let it go!!! Crazy, huh. Try it! I really liked your discussion here & hope you work things out. Here, I just returned from day 4 at the hospital with Geri. She is slowly coming along very well really…on fluids….maybe solids tomorrow…& maybe discharged & home on Saturday! Hi to Bren! –Excellent post! You really “spill your guts”!!! Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Philip! Sorry for the late reply, I often miss the comments on my blog for some reason… I will try your technique and hopefully it will help me as well as it did you and the others you have told about it!

      How is Geri doing now? Is she recovering well?

      Kind regards, Jeffrey

      Liked by 1 person

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