Deb Sofield


Sometimes Holding On Does More Damage Than Letting Go

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As much as we like to hang on because we all like to feel like it is the right thing to do in our personal lives or at the office or with a friend, sometimes it might be best to just let go, because sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.

Now, to be fair, that is hard to do. I don’t think most of us are wired to let go; I believe we’re wired to try, try, try and try again to make relationships work, office politics work out to some manageable agreement or to stay connected with friends who are pursuing a different path, because, well, that is what we do as friends and family. We’re taught from a young age to hang on through thick and thin and be loyal, truthful and kind whether the other person is or not.

We’ve been told that it is about our “character to do the right thing,” and I put that in quotes because that is what is thrust upon us by others who want us to be there for them whether they return the favor or not.

I’m guessing most of us feel the need to stay connected in some way just in case the situation changes, and the fear is that, if we walk away, we might lose the opportunity to be of help or we might lose the friendship or relationship, but I have to wonder if it’s more to sooth our ego than to help others find their path.

Today I encourage you to think about all the times you hung on when the other person walked away. I am concerned that some of you are still hanging on while the “others” are long gone without giving you the courtesy of ever looking back. Slow clap for you for keeping your end of the unspoken bargain to be there until the end, but don’t be so blind and not see that they willingly let go of the “relationship,” assuming that loyal you would still be hanging around.

I applaud you for being so loyal–to a fault–especially when they never give you, your time or your feelings a second thought.

I’m asking that you consider letting go for this important reason: they need to find their way, and you need to find a different cause.

If you were being truthful, you’d have to admit they let go a long time ago–you just refused to see it for what it was–and your need or desire to save them is no longer an option since they feel no need to hang on to you.

Now let me be clear, they will come back when they need something, but, remember, they don’t need you, they need what you have to give them. Don’t get those two confused because it will break your loving heart into a million pieces, and you’ll never find all the parts if you don’t heed my tough love advice.

I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I was working on this theme for this week because I am seeing, all around me, good-hearted people who love to the detriment of their personal freedom, success and personal care. And, while clinging to others shows that you care and are sweet and nice and kind, I find it is a dead end street since the “others” released your grasp to go their way.

Don’t get caught up in thinking that holding on is a sign of strength. Sometimes letting go will take all the strength you have. It’s funny when you think about it because you fight to hold on and you fight to let go. That’s a lot of fighting that yields no results.

I love the quote, “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” Now, I am not saying that your relationship is a mistake, but I do wonder if after years of chasing, coddling and caring, with little to no return on your investment, if you’re kidding yourself that your relationship is anything more than a co-dependent relationship that gives you something to do, someone to love and some place to go.

Ouch! I know that hurts. No one likes to think that they are co-dependent but what else could it be but your feeding your need to be needed, wanted and occasionally cared about.

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, and I know this topic is tender when it comes to family and friends, but stop and consider why you’re refusing to let go when it is never going to work out in any way that would suit your sensibilities without you feeling angry or used or unfulfilled.

Think about how you’re slowly killing your spirit, your joy and your love, not to mention your finances waiting for… what? The wayward friend to come back? The lost child to ask forgiveness? Or the spouse who checked out months ago to return?

It doesn’t work that way, my friend, and deep inside you know it. I don’t doubt that prayer, forgiveness and love can change a life, and good for you for being faithful, but in your faithfulness be wise to the knowledge that sometimes you have to “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”

As your friend and coach, I want you to grow and thrive and prosper in your life, and to do that, you seriously need to look at why you’re hanging on when you know that sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “When you let go, you grow.” As hard as it is to comprehend that thought when you are hurting, I believe it is about you being more open to allow the situation to move at will without you stepping in to control every aspect. Not easy to do when you want what you want to happen on your terms. That would be nice, but life doesn’t work that way no matter how hard you push against the system or demand that others listen, obey or toe the line… Funny, those demands don’t sound like letting go to me.

The truth is, letting go so you can grow is hard, whether it be walking away from a long time friend or setting boundaries for a not so nice family member or leaving your employer who makes your life miserable even with the gold handcuffs they have to keep you in chains. It is at those times when you really need to understand that holding on does more damage than letting go, and when you finally let go, don’t be surprised when something better comes along or the situation changes in your favor. But be assured that NOTHING will happen if you keep hanging on so tightly that you’re choking your opportunity.

The strength with which you hang on to people, things or memories that do not serve you well would be much better spent in adventures that fill your life with joyful memories, finding work in a place where they appreciate your skills and abilities or being with people who will build you up to be your best, who love you without condition and who appreciate the beauty of who you are; that is what you should be reaching for to grasp hold of tightly.

So let go of all that is weighing you down, and reach for the opportunities that are waiting for you. You’ll need both hands to hold the abundance of a life well-lived, so free yourself to be yourself, and trust the age-old adage that sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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