This is the one thing you must do in order to be successful in any self-improvement journey. Letting go is literally releasing the baggage weighing you down and holding you back. You hear it everywhere, even in songs at this point. That’s because its so important to do. But it’s also not easy. There are so many things people hold onto for many reasons. Take me for example.
Letting go of the past is one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I had turbulent relationships with family members, and I dealt with depression in my teen years. At the time, I couldn’t deal with everyday life, so I hid. I isolated myself and cut myself off from any deep connection with everyone. I lost interest in everything. Eventually, I entombed myself in my room, going through each day trying to disappear, and I did.
This lasted for a long time, and for all of it I was unhappy. For years.
At the end of high school, I thought once I went to college, I’d be away from everyone and everything. I would have a fresh start and I could be a new person. It was my chance to lay my claims in the world and define myself. I would do what I wanted to do. I did get away from everything, but not from my depression. The rush of my new home invigorated me for a short while, but once things became normal, I eventually became just as paralyzed as before. Insecurities and worries started popping up. And all I wanted to do was get away from them. It ended up draining the happiness out of what should’ve been the best years of my life. I was unable to find a job after graduation, and I became hopeless . My unhappiness lasted for a couple more years.
Looking back on my experiences, I know that it all could’ve been so much more. From all the things people around me would say. How much they learned in school, the connections they made and all the right choices that put them on track to having great jobs and lives. People were graduating with great jobs lined up. And they all talked about all the fun they had. In high school and college. My depression hit me hard in high school, so I lost that time. College was supposed to be my redemption and I thoroughly missed that chance. I kept going back in my mind to where it all went wrong, who to blame and blaming myself. It haunted me, and when my mind went back to that time, it would send me running through my head again. Time after time.
Letting go of that past time was so difficult because I had to accept that I could never change it. There was nothing I could do to get that lost time back. I had to accept myself as someone who didn’t have those experiences. I had to accept how I really felt for all those years. Without letting my mind run, sitting with all that happened hurt, and I had to deal with that too I had to feel those feelings that I wasn’t like everyone else. Holding on was like a defense mechanism. It was like if I held onto it, it was close enough for me to keep reaching out to. I could affect it by being so close. I could also look through it and blame others for how things happened. How they let me hide away because they weren’t paying enough attention. I could vindicate myself by blaming someone else and could avenge that pain.
But the fact is it is just something that happened. Whatever event or person you’re holding onto is gone. The past itself is impossible to change and putting energy in hopes to resolve it is pointless. You’re also wasting the time that you have now. Past mistakes, be it yours or someone else’s are the greatest teachers. Once you process your emotions, you can look back and learn from everything that happened.
I was checked out in high school. My depression had begun to peak and all I wanted to do was hide. I had good grades and that’s all that anyone really cared about. As long as my grades were good, I was left alone. That’s what I wanted. To just be at peace.
At the time I was insecure like most teens. I didn’t think I was pretty; I wasn’t among the smartest kids anymore and I was nerdy. The added weight of depression just piled on top of all that. I felt that everyone looked at me and saw how I wasn’t up to par. It made me insecure about what I would even say, so I spoke less. That isolated me further. I didn’t really want to be away from people, because I did want to reach out deep down. I wanted to be away from my depression. The anxiety and sadness it caused. It was a cloud over my head that I wanted gone. The experience has now made me realize how important self-care is. I could’ve reached out and received help or support from the many people around me. I could’ve even reached out to direct sources myself.
I was still dwelling on high school when I went to college. That self-care could’ve helped me level my head before school, so I could’ve thought clearly. I could’ve also developed a career game plan that I liked. But its in the past. And I can still apply it to my life today. Its impossible to change things in the past. It’s painful to accept, but something I can appreciate. Its over now, and I can accept the best from it. I still have a full life ahead of me that I could maximize my joy in.
College is like a mini world where you get the opportunity to learn socially, politically and academically. I’m pretty sure your brain grows at this point. I’m not there anymore, but I’m in the big real world. I can still grow and learn as much as I want to. I could even go back to college if I wanted to. The point is there are still so much out there to embrace. Life goes on, and you’re still around to go on with it. The present and future still exist, and both can be better if you embrace positivity and move forward.
Nothing anyone says can make the past easier to deal with. Its much easier said than done. Your emotions and the feeling they bring can make it feel impossible to accept a situation as is. You’ll probably have to face and feel everything which can be very uncomfortable. But eventually, you’ll be able to let go, forgive and move forward. Reconcile the past by learning from it. And once you can accept it, you’ll be free of the weight. The thought of having happiness motivated me enough. Let one of your goals motivate you. Life will be so much better then.