Letting Go

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It takes more energy to hold on than it does to let go. A great yoga teacher said this while we were all in a stretch that requires a certain amount of surrender. My thoughts darted to the applicability of her words for people who are grieving. This article is written for you if you are struggling with the loss of someone you loved or for future you when this loss occurs. The human tragedy is that one day in the not too distant future each of us will be separated from everyone and everything we love, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Grieving is hard work. It is forced labor of the most nefarious kind, because after a while it is self-imposed. You might think to yourself “I just don’t have the strength or the courage to let go and really say goodbye.” But you are wrong, and you are proving it every day by having the strength to continue to hold on. If you are wondering why you are tired all the time, why you spend so much time sleeping, this is the answer. It takes more energy to hold on than it does to let go, and almost all of your psychic and physical energy are being used up on the person you have lost.

We are not saying there is anything easy about letting go and saying goodbye, summoning the courage to move on with your life. It can be comforting to realize that you are not alone. This is our human destiny and every person is fated to go through it in one form or another. Some people might think, “Yes, but my loss is especially tragic. The person I loved died before their time or in unlucky circumstances.” From the perspective of eternity a few years difference means nothing though and it is only our own egocentricity, our need to hold on to a perception of reality in which our short lives are the center of the universe, that makes us begrudge the twists of fate that separate us from the people we love before we are ready. The fact is that we will never really be ready, regardless of how many years we get to spend together before the inevitable occurs.

Letting go is sad, painful, scary, and hard but remember that you are proving on a daily basis that you have the strength to do it. When you say goodbye you are trading certainty for uncertainty, the known person you have lost for unknown new experiences, and this can be anxiety provoking and paralyzing. Even so, it takes more energy to hold on than it does to let go.