Standing backwards on the edge of a cliff 50 feet in the air, I had two choices. I could either continue holding on in stark terror to a rope that was wrapped below my buttocks or let go of the rope, push off the ledge and begin a rappel down the side of this shear cliff.
I was frozen with fear and the voice in my head told me that, “ Yes I was surely going to die.” I have never in my life been this afraid. But another little voice whispered convincingly, “ I have to do this” and at that moment I released the rope, pushed off and began my decent. To my utter amazement, the moment I let go, the terror vanished and with absolute joy, I performed the routine of tightening the rope and then letting go until I reached the bottom.
With my feet firmly planted on the ground and a triumphant smile on my face, I learned that sometimes the only way things will get better is to let go. Had I continued to hold onto that rope, nothing would have changed, only the length of time I was willing to be terrified.
I don’t think you have to rappel off a 50 foot cliff to learn this lesson. It will however, take a leap of faith for you to trust that letting go will indeed make the situation better.
Letting go is not always an easy task but with practice can be mastered. Depending upon the event or relationship, you will decide which route to take. My marriage of over 40 years has seen its ups and down but I have happily hung on. I did, however, end a long time friendship that was becoming strained. I didn’t see a resolution to the difficulties and pain and holding on only made it worse.
The beauty of letting go is that it opens up opportunities for new ideas, people and events. Your rope will represent many things to you. As a parent, friend, sibling and spouse, I have learned that holding on to my expectations of how I want people to behave and not accepting them for who they are and what they want only causes me pain and frustration. Situations that I couldn’t control, outcomes not expected and the unforeseen daily circumstances that occur all become part of the letting go process.
You will decide as the situation warrants when and how you will “let go”. Just don’t leave yourself hanging on that ledge too long.