If I had £1 for every time I’ve heard or even been told “let it go”, I’d be super rich. It just doesn’t sit well with me – especially when it comes to our grief journey.
Why Not Let it Go?
For starters, it always raises the question “how?…how the heck do you let it go?” Have you ever thought “I’m going to let this go” and then found the ‘doing’ part of letting go an absolute struggle? I know I have in the past. That’s because when it comes to grief, there isn’t any action required – there’s no intentional way to make feelings disappear into a puff of smoke. I don’t care how much you meditate and watch your emotions float away on a balloon – the reality is that the feelings will most likely re-surface.
The fact is that letting go is all the rage. But it carries a certain expectation that we are supposed to just let go of situations that challenge us, hurt us, or even cause us pain — because, heaven forbid, we are in a difficult situation that we cannot control. We are told to take control in the form of letting go, and push away the thing that’s instigating the feelings we don’t want to have.
For me, letting go is a false sense of control, an illusion even. While we can choose to remove ourselves from situations and relationships, the reality is it’s a lesson that will just keep coming back until we have learned all we are supposed to.
It’s super difficult for us humans to allow an uncomfortable situation to run its course. None of us likes open endings, loose strings, confusion, or disappointment.
“And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be”.
Lyrics from the song, ‘Let it Be’ by The Beatles. Songwriters: John Lennon & Paul McCartney.
Let it Be.
Instead of letting it go, we just need to let it be. We can’t force endings, make choices for others or teach ourselves that which we still need to learn. Letting it be means we need to simply pause…..and do nothing.
Letting it be means accepting the feelings and letting them arise. There’s no action to take and nothing we must do. It’s about taking note, and just letting it be – which also means we create no attachment to the thing we’ve noted.
Letting it be means that we don’t need to analyse, second-guess or resist our emotions. They are what they are. And when it comes to grief, this is an important part of showing ourselves compassion in order to move forward (so please don’t confuse letting it be with staying stuck). We are simply directing energies (mindfully) to working through the emotions rather than fight against them or struggle with them. That is to say, accepting where we are in the journey without any judgements of how we “should” be feeling.
This is an act of letting things play out, however they are meant to be and regardless of the outcome. By letting it be, we are still moving forward in our grief. We are still opening ourselves to healing. But we aren’t forcing ourselves to expect a particular outcome.
To let something be requires much more strength than just letting go, because we’re learning to sit with things. And in a world where we expect instant gratification, this is more challenging. It’s a choice to let a situation remain unresolved, let the loose ends dangle, and allow the options to remain.
When we resist jumping into a story about our feelings, we seek not to problem-solve but to allow them to leave of their own accord. We are actually asserting far more control over things than we realise. Sometimes these feelings can take all day to leave, sometimes they can take days or weeks to leave. And that’s ok.
So what if you could just let it be? What would that feel like?
Frustration? Let it be. Sadness? Let it be. Anger? Let it be. Overwhelm? Let it be.
Doing nothing, is doing something. Time may not heal all wounds, but it does have a way of clearing even the murkiest of waters—if we just let it be.
You aren’t alone in your grief and I’m here to help. Drop me a line to see how I can help you to move forward.