Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Letting Go

Confession Time: I may or may not still own my baby blanket....this blanket may or may not look something like this.....

That is one well loved blanket.

You might be wondering why a grown woman would still hold on to such a childish and potentially strangling object. Even more, you might be asking yourself what would posses a person to share that kind of humiliating information with the world. Well...as we all know I apparently have no shame, but also, it was the best way to truly illustrate what I would consider to be one the biggest struggles I face in this life.

Letting Go.

Yup. I'm one of those people. The kind of person who stays friends with all of their ex's, never wants to burn a bridge even if it would probably be a better idea to blow the thing up and then cover it with earth, and then salt that earth so that nothing will ever grow again. 

But this is not in my nature. I can count on one hand the number of people that I have told in no uncertain terms to stay the hell out of my life....2 of those occasions were with people who I feared might attempt some act of physical harm upon my person.

I just....I don't know....I just hate....finality....

There is something about a closed locked door that terrifies and repels me. So of course I would be watching TED talks this morning where a scientist is explaining that people are the most happy not when they have a plethora of options, but when they have made a commitment to a specific thing, idea, person, career, pursuit, or what have you, and then they stick with it. Maybe this is true...but I still hates it.

This is probably why I am 30 and still trying to figure out what I want to "do" with my life. Well...what I want to do is write, but last time I looked, nobody is volunteering to write me checks for my blogging talents. I know you can make money writing, but I have yet to find the opportunity. If you know of one...lemme know.

This also might explain (in part) why I am not married yet.  I have often said that getting me to commit is probably one of the hardest things in the world to do. Think of me like a unicorn...

I am damn near impossible to catch, but once you got me, your wish is basically my command.

What I am saying is that even though getting me to commit is almost impossible, once I am committed, I am fiercely loyal and devoted...almost to a fault.

It seems to me like people fall in and out of love ALL the time. I can honestly say that the few individuals that I have truly fallen in love with, given my heart to, and made that commitment to, STILL to this day, have at least a part of my heart. I still think about them, I wonder how they are, what they are doing, and yes...as much as I hate to admit it...I find myself playing the "what if" game. What if things had worked out between us? What if? What if? I would be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me (however large) that doesn't allow my mind to concoct scenarios where they are sitting wherever it is that they happen to be, and thinking about me too. Maybe they are having to restrain themselves from calling me, or better, showing up on my front door on bended knee in Le Grande Gesture. 

This is a dangerous game to play.

As I was lay in my bed last night, tossing and turning with no chance of sleep in sight, I found myself wrestling with these same demons. I tormented myself with thoughts of what could have been, what should have been....if only I had been more confident....if only I had told him how I really felt....if only I had just stuck around longer...if only I had been less demanding...more demanding....less needy....more needy....more loving...less smothering....skinnier....prettier....funnier....and so on and so forth until the voices in my head seemed as though they would split my skull and explode my brain from the inside out.

And then, as I sometimes do, I made a desperate plea to God. I asked why it was that I felt like I couldn't let go of these people...of anything...(as I clutched my blankie). The response I received was direct, whether it was God or my own mind responding, I will leave that up to you to interpret. Though I struggle to remember the exact wording, essentially though, the impression of the message I received was something to this effect....

Brittney, the issue here is that you get into your head that certain things are suppose to happen, or that they are meant to be, and this is simply not the case. You feel as though because you believe that these things were meant to be, that when they don't work out it is because of something You did or failed to do; which is also not the case. You need to learn how to let things go; if you don't then you will carry these memories around like weights around your neck (Think Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol).  

Remember Brittney, none of these things, people, experiences, objects, ever truly belonged to you. This is the great lie that people tell themselves. Nothing in this world belongs to you, and absolutely everything can be taken away. 

You also need to remember that people have agency, which unfortunately you have zero control over. If a person chooses to spend their time, energy, resources, love, or investments on you then welcome them into your life for the time that they are there. But when the day comes that this same person makes a choice either by word or by action that they no longer wish to continue in this manner, then please...for your own sake, you need to learn to let them go. I know it is very romantic to believe that somewhere, somehow, and someday, that person is going to "come to their senses" and realize what a fool they have been, and subsequently drop everything in their life and move heaven and earth to get you back in their life....but my dear...this is simply not a beneficial paradigm under which to labor. 

Sometimes you can love someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't love you back. This isn't your fault and you needn't spend any of your energy torturing yourself for "messing up". All you can ever be is the best version of you, and if someone or something or some opportunity doesn't resonate on that same frequency then rest assured that it was never meant to happen. COULD it have happened? Of course it could have, but again...if you spend your whole life obsessing about the coulds then it is as if you are walking down a path backwards and totally oblivious to the opportunities and potential pitfalls that lie ahead. 

I understand of course that this all comes from your deep desire to be truly loved and wanted. Everyone has this need, but no matter how amazing, incredible, deep, funny, insightful, loving, giving, patient, and "perfect" as one might be...it doesn't therefor follow that this means they will be wanted by everyone. And as much as it hurts to hear...just because someone loved you once or at one time, does not therefore follow that they will love you or want to be with you forever. This kind of love is very rare, this kind of love is even rare among people who are married or in committed relationships. Rest in the knowledge that you posses this rare ability to love, and that there are others out there who posses this as well...maybe even more than you think...but it has to be their choice, and ultimately, you have no control over that.

If you want to find peace in this life and joy in your relationships, then you must find a way to love without expectations. You must love fearlessly .....by this I mean that you must never be afraid to give or express your love to those you love, but you must also never assume or expect that the person is going to return that same love in kind.  Whether they return the same love you show them or not is irrelevant. The love you choose to show is not contingent upon they love you receive in return.  

There are a million and one reasons why a person does not wish to return the kind of love you would like. They might be afraid, they might not believe you are worth the investment, they may see too many differences or obstacles, or it might be that they have already invested their love in someone else and are not free to give it to you. Whatever their reason, it is none of your concern and it is not your responsibility to figure it out, or worse, attempt to change their mind....and it most certainly is not in your best interest to put yourself or your life on hold until they do.

Learn to leg go. Learn to let go believing that whatever is before you has got to be better than holding onto what now only exists within your own mind. 

These hopes, while well intentioned, are stories you are telling yourself, and these stories are making you miserable. Stop telling yourself stories and start living your story. Live without apologies and without futile attempts to convince even one person that you are worth their time, investment, and love. You don't need to hold onto these kinds of people...in holding onto these people you limit your ability to be open to those who will love you in the way you desire. 

Like attracts like, and if you are living your life like everyday is a gift with endless possibilities and most importantly, with zero expectations, then others like you will be drawn to that spirit. 

And always remember...you are never truly alone, there is always someone who loves you, and nobody is ever truly lost to us.

I hope that my experience can resonate with you as well if you find yourself in a similar position of not being able to let go. I understand that I chose to focus on people and relationships, but this concept can just as easily be applied to every aspect of our lives where we, for one reason or another, show that most awesome but also potentially detrimental of traits we call persistence.      


  1. I too have an extremely hard time letting go of people. A guy I dated for a couple years took his own life this past year and I've beat myself up over what I could have said/done differently while we were together and after we broke up. Learning how to let go of him and the thoughts of what could have been for his own life or our life together has been one of my greatest struggles... Thank you again for another much needed post.

  2. Burn it down. Down to the ground.