Letting go

Today’s Reverb10 prompt is about letting go.

When I used the word “change” to describe 2010, I touched on two big things I let go of last year: a place I lived and a major relationship. In the course of those events, I also let go of a lot of physical possessions (the move was my second in six months) and traded in some dreams.

I’ve also let go of a lot of ideas and stories, though. Here are a few whose loss I’ve found especially helpful:

  • I need to know who I am (you know what happens when you pin down a butterfly? Happens to your soul, too.)
  • When someone hurts me, holding on to my pain will teach them something (because, what, I’m the boss of everyone?)
  • Happy people don’t deserve help or support (in reality, they’re usually the people I’m happiest to help and support)
  • I am not strong enough to do, oh, fill in the imaginary blank with all kinds of things!

One of my favorite ways of doing this is to use the second question from Byron Katie’s work: can I absolutely know that this thought is true? (Turns out that I rarely can.) I’m also enjoying Martha Beck’s perceptive questions for breaking down limiting thoughts, which include “can you think of times when you acted as though this thought was true and things still turned out badly?” and “can you think of times when you acted contrary to this thought and things still turned out okay?”

How about you? What stories or ideas or self-concepts have you let go of this year? What prompted you to do so?

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