The Art of Letting Go

teatimethursday

teatimethursday2

I think this is something many of us struggle with. Letting go. The way we hang on to dead things;things that no longer benefit us anymore. The way we build up our closets with things we have outgrown or no longer fit. How you still think of that person who is no longer present in your life. To the things that torment us, begging to be forgiven.
Daily habits that no longer serve us. False illusions of stability,happiness,achievement.

We all have things we’re not proud of. Mistakes as we call them. Regrets. And when we are reminded of them,a part of you want to curl up into a ball to hide from the shame. You repeat the scenario over and over,reliving that not so grand snippet of your life.

One if the things that sucks the most is the feeling you hurt someone. Maybe something slipped out of your mouth that wasn’t intentional. Something you can’t really take back. Yes it may have hurt somebody. But if you are truly apologetic, it will show. Time will heal. Its you who is left to forgive. Forgive yourself, for saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Be grateful if that someone has forgiven you,and is still present in your life.

One of my closest friends,
Its hard to believe but she once was a ruthless bully. Even to her best of friends, she manipulated,controlled and harassed. To this day, she still regrets her actions. At this time, she has become one of the most beautiful,poised and timid people in my life. She appreciates the few close friendships she has with a mighty power.
When she looked down,her voice full of shame ,she said “I feel so bad for who I was”.
At that time, I made little serious commentary, a little laugh,brushing away the past.
But really,I’d like to tell her to forgive herself. Whatever wrongdoings she had committed cannot be reversed,but the person(s) she hurt has evidently forgiven her long ago. Besides she has probably changed into ten different  people over the years to become the person she is now. She has redeemed herself with hundreds of hours of being a honest listener,the pep talks,the laughter,the ardor she goes through for someone else,the happiest moments she had created for someone else.

I know many people,like myself, go through many changes over their lifetimes. Sometimes, we are ashamed of our pasts, the not as “pretty”, “smart”, “friendly” or “popular” versions of ourselves. But it’s always important to appreciate where we came from, and instead of treating our pasts like something to be hidden and tucked away, we should reflect back at all the good times, the starlike innocence we once possessed as children,and the nonchalance.And if something that happened in the past that wasn’t so great, we should appreciate how much we have grown up through the years and be proud of who we are today.

Sometimes we commit ourselves to things we hate, thinking they will benefit us in some way whether now, or in the future. And with the way the world works, sometimes it is necessary(like education and brushing your teeth). But I see people who relentlessly commit to things they are uncommitted to. And if you are disinterested in what your are doing, it will eventually show, and it will wear you out emotionally.If you’ve been doing something for a long period of time and you still hate it, maybe it’s time for change. And quitting can be scary. Maybe you have pressure from people around you whether be parents,teachers or peers to continue. But at the end of the day, they are not the ones who are living your life. And change is scary as hell. It’s scary to start over. It’s scary to explore into the unknown. But trust me, it’s so worth it to let go.

For example, I was in band for a couple of years from the seventh grade. And leisurely in piano for quite a long time before that. Which is funny because the only song I can play now is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star . The first time I set my eyes upon these instruments, felt it in my hand, opened up sheet music, all very exciting times. I found even the trips to the instrument rental stores exciting.In the seventh grade, the first year I started the clarinet, I practiced almost daily for what seemed like hours in front of the mirror and in the bathroom. I don’t remember if I particularly liked it, but I felt the need to be good at it. One day I found a lump on my chest, almost like a gas bubble. I was scared to death.Even at that time I was still practicing every day, because I felt like it was part of this rigid routine I had made up for myself. It was when I was in the bathroom one day, when I noticed my chest hurt when I blew into the instrument and discovered this odd shape form on my chest. After a trip to the doctors, the ER, and multiple blood tests,the results were all pretty inconclusive. Thankfully after a week or two it went away. But I felt that was somehow a sign one that this wasn’t for me. Yet the next year of course I continued band while a majority of my close friends quit.It was in the eighth grade I met one of the wisest,talented,kind and funny people ever. My band teacher. He was tough to make the whole band perfect, but a great teacher nevertheless. Even though band was one of my least important courses, encouragement from this teacher when times got tough would make my day.The concerts were highlights for me. All the months of hard work and being yelled at and pushing myself harder would pay off when I heard the audience after the final show, and the teacher with a big grin on his face and told us how proud he was of us.Going onto the next year, I got a new teacher. My disinterest in music was starting to show, and  this teacher made my inborn inadequacy in music more evident. Mind you I still practiced three times a week minimum, but as time went on, I started to hate these sessions and half heartedly played.  Today I have nothing against this teacher, I think as things turned out, it made me realize quicker that my time invested in this subject was not worth it anymore. It may have meant something long ago to me, but holding on to this illusion that I had to become the better instrumentalist was not serving me in anymore. It was simply time to let go. The next year, my first band teacher, with a heavy heart left the school, and it was also the year I made the decision to quit band for good. I don’t necessarily regret my time in music, but leaving at that time was one of the best decisions I felt like I’ve made.

As I said letting go can be a difficult thing. Whether it’s of things you regret, things that have happened in the past or obligations you feel committed to. Know that these things don’t have to haunt you for the rest of your life. You can decide to forgive,change and let go. You can decide to make the best decisions for yourself that will benefit you greatly on an mental and emotional level. I hope we can all learn to let go and look forward to the future. Because the future can be bright, if we make it out to be.

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