The Very Difficult Art of Letting Go

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Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. –  Hermann Hesse

Research has shown that our minds burns 20% of our required energy — even though it represents only 2% of body mass. Even at rest our brains remain quite active. The quest for coveted energy is endless, as our minds are continually working.

In a sense, wasting energy is squandering our own potential. Especially when it is of our own making. Most of us have experienced an impasse where we need to leave something behind. We may feel that the rewards for a time investment are not realized, or that we simply feel drained.

Whether in work or life — something needs to go.

How you would describe your own personality in this regard? Do you find it easy to let go? Or are you challenged to do so? If you lean toward the stubborn and notably inflexible end of the continuum (as I do), the process can be arduous. Although tenacity can come in quite handy, problems emerge when we fail to revise an inflexible stance. (Personally, this applies just as easily to coffee machines or career paths.)

I freely admit, I am challenged to let go; of people and things and goals and dreams. To people because I continue see the best in them. To things, because I just cannot imagine a better option. To goals, because I’ve often made a firm mental commitment. To dreams, simply because they are dreams.

However, all of this hanging on doesn’t always serve us well. It can bring a fog that clouds new opportunities and fuels bitterness. But turning away and leaving these things behind can be challenging. (For some, this can even bring a certain sadness.)

Letting go of people, things and even dreams that define yesterday, can be quite good thing. If you wait too long, an exhaustion that can begin to dominate. However, it requires reflection and practice.

On a very basic level, we must change our outlook concerning the process. Here are a few thoughts on what letting go is and isn’t:

Letting go isn’t a defeat.

It does not signal a failure on your part.

It does mean you have committed your best effort — and the outcomes/rewards weren’t there.

It is about moving your energies to greener pastures.

It is about being agile.

It can build resilience.

It can build a sense of adventure; a certain hope and confidence in the future.

It can mark the moment of a new beginning.

There is an art to letting go.

Mastering it, means we can be ready for the next chapter.

Is letting go challenging for you? Have you mastered the art? Share your experiences.

More ideas on letting go:

Dr. Marla Gottschalk writes about life and career as a LinkedIn Influencer. Her posts have also appeared at various outlets worldwide — including US News & World Report, Forbes, Quartz and The World Economic Forum.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect fragrance. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.


4 thoughts on “The Very Difficult Art of Letting Go

  1. I can say to myself that I’ve let go, but then I continue to wallow in melancholy sadness and regret for months or years. I so desire to figure out to move past that mental state.


  2. Wow. Just what I read here has me asking “simple” questions which, seem to Hold the hardest of answers. Not difficult to find…. Difficult to Decide to “let go”. Especially, when it’s a couple of decades of holding on.


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