Humans have an amazing ability to hold on to things – belongings, grudges, fears – that don’t bring about any positive outcome. In fact, we spend an inordinate amount of time clinging to these things when we would be well served to simply let go. Is this easy? No. Rarely will you find that the important stuff is easy.
You cannot control everything
Control is a myth. Every time humans try to control something disaster results. How many times have the human race tried to control nature with catastrophic consequences? Katrina. Monsanto…
The more we try to control, the more we lose in the process. We hoard goods we don’t need. We modify our food supply. We divert rivers. We manipulate others. To what end?
We significantly complicate ourselves by clinging to stuff. Yet, ultimately we don’t need stuff.
You will find, if you ponder things deeply, that those things that frustrate you most are insignificant in the grand scheme.
Possessions both physical and mental are restraints upon your freedom. By clinging to regret, anger, jealousy and bitterness you condemn yourself to suffering.
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything … that you’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Your brain’s primary function is not storage
Your brain is an analytical tool. It is not a storage device. Consider the CPU – or brain – of a computer, it does the processing not the storage. Storage in the world of computing is left to other devices such as hard drives and solid state storage. Were the CPU to be used for storage as well as processing its capacity and capabilities would be exceeded with detrimental results.
Your brain is no different. Should you try to hold on to everything you will soon find your brain is full and can no longer complete the tasks it was designed for. (I am obviously simplifying the brain’s memory functions for this discussion – please bear with me.)
Put simply, reducing the clutter in your brain can help you think more clearly. When you are able to think more clearly, you can be more efficient and creative, and best of all, easier to get along with.
It’s time to drop the emotional baggage
If you are clinging to negative memories and feelings it is time to let go. It won’t be easy. You must understand that this baggage will eventually smother you. To be free you must let go.
I do not have the answers regarding what you will have to do to let go. This is a very personal journey. Here are some ideas that might help you:
- Talk to someone (personal or professional)
- Learn to be comfortable with yourself
- Learn about Zen
- Do something that is outside your comfort zone
As always, search for the simple in everything. You will find that letting go is simpler than holding on.
Note: this post was first published in 2011. It has been reviewed and re-published here.