The Struggle Between Giving Up and Letting Go
As young people, we’re told giving up is bad.
At some point, we learn there is a delicate struggle between giving up and letting go.
When we’re older, we’re faced with the idea that maybe giving up isn’t something to dread.
Maybe giving up is learning to let go.
When we give up possessions, or time, or money, we tend to think of giving up as being with less. We don’t see the potential freedom in having one less thing in our lives.
I have been thinking a lot lately about our 24/7 lifestyles. Just today, I spoke with someone about the idea we’ve created which she called “the magnet of not having.”
When we desire a certain outcome and don’t get it, we tend to blame external factors. We blame our parents, our friends, the clerk at the grocery store, society… there is an endless list of other potentially responsible parties and we feed on them.
Our magnets are set to a certain strength; the more we believe we lack, the more we consume, yet the less we seem to have.
When we continuously consume, we forget the reasons we needed the things we desire. We fill our lives with stuff only to remain in a constant state of unhappiness or general confusion.
That sounds counterintuitive, right? If we don’t have what we need but we go and get those things, won’t we have more?
The issue doesn’t lie in the lack of something; it lies in our desire to fill the spaces those things leave. And not necessarily in our homes or any other physical spaces. But in ourselves.
The person I spoke with also mentioned a quote she heard that says something like we will always be able to measure what we lose but we can’t measure what we’ll gain.
Lose stuff – gain space
Lose people – gain perspective
Lose time – gain gratitude
Each list looks different because loss and gain are different to all of us. But when something leaves, something else will come. It always does.
When we have a better understanding of how we want to live our lives, we gain a sense of knowing what should stay and what should go. We gain a stronger sense of belonging and worth.
When we learn that letting go is allowing ourselves more control over our stuff, we can see that giving up was never meant to hurt us; it was showing us the beauty of letting go.