Learning to live is learning to let go.
– Sogyal Rinpoche
As much as we long for security, for consistency and for our world to remain enough the same that we will still recognize it tomorrow, that’s not the way the world operates.
In nature, nothing is secure, so no animal or plant can be certain that it will not be trampled or eaten that same day. Nothing remains the same indefinitely. Even rocks wear away so that a mountain becomes a seabed or desert.
We all want to keep our loved ones with us, but we might lose any one of them within the next day. Or they may lose us. Letting go of people who comprised an important part of our life is hard. We can keep memories, but even those memories can be harsh sometimes and the bad ones stay with us.
What many people have the greatest trouble letting go of is their hurts and what caused them. In some cases they carry grudges with them for many years. While they suffer emotionally from holding onto their grudges, the people who caused the hurt usually carry on their own lives as if nothing had ever happened.
Many times, to them, nothing did happen that they intended or that they knew about. The hurt perceived by one was committed innocently and unknowingly by the other. That’s life. Not many people hurt others on purpose. Yet people get hurt anyway.
Often our greatest hurts result from deception or betrayal. These violate the trust we have put in someone, which is like their ripping away a piece of our life.
There are no easy answers to letting go. Those who have the ability to let go of what would otherwise harm them have coping skills that many of us lack. Learning coping skills is part of the emotional development of childhood.
As children we want our parents to always remain the same. Parents would like their children to remain at the same stage sometimes as well. Neither gets their wish. As children have far fewer resources than adults, they need the security of knowing who and what they can depend on, who they can trust, who will never abandon them.
One of the saddest facts of adulthood is that we can never be certain who and what we can depend on, who we can trust and that the people we care about will never abandon us. Part of the preparation that is a coping skill for these disappointments is to have a plan devised for what we would do if one of these “unthinkable” events occurs.
Tragedy happens. If we have a plan to put into place when and if it does, our transition to the next stage of our life can be much easier to bear.
Lives do not remain the same. We can prepare for change.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to help people manage life’s tough times by preparing strategies and contingency plans.
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