Don’t Hold On! When it’s okay to let go

let go  white cat coachingDo you have a childhood memory of riding a bike or a dodgem car, or even a jet boat or the back of a motor-bike, where the main thing that was said to you was “Hold on! Hang on tight!” I love the wise words given to a frightened child on a two wheeled bike for the first time: “Just keep pedaling!” If only everything was that simple. It got me thinking about how much we are told to hold on, hang on and keep going. And how it’s great advice if the other option is flying off backwards from a fast moving vehicle or skidding your knees on the pavement. But is it always good advice? When is it best to NOT hold on? Let’s see…

  • Bad relationships
  • Terrible job
  • Toxic friends
  • Haunting memories
  • etc…

… Now, we don’t really have much of these when we are young and learning to ride a bike or water-ski, so “hold on!” seems to really work for us.

Why do we Hold On?

We hold on to things mainly due to a need for certainty and safety. It feels good to have familiar things around us. Even if those things (or people) are not good for us. We sometimes so badly want to meet our need for certainty that we are willing to be unhappy if it means we feel safe. Of course, if certainty is one of your primary drivers, this will be a bigger problem. But, it’s still a problem for those for whom it is not a primary driver. We all do this in varying degrees.

How many people do you know have stayed in a job where they were miserable? But didn’t want to leave because it was paying the bills? Have ¬†you ever been in a relationship where you “stayed too long”? Maybe not you, but people you know? And don’t forget your amazing ability to recall a situation that made you unhappy like a movie script happening again. I know people who can describe horrible events like they only happened yesterday, and they proudly recount them. As if having that memory is a special skill to be rewarded.

I do not want to forget the first time I kissed my husband. I remember the feeling well. And when I recall it, it makes me feel good. Which is handy if I’m feeling low or need a boost. I also remember the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line of the school cross country and realised I had made the school team. I love recalling the time I was in the supermarket with a friend and she pulled a sponge off the shelf and ALL the sponges came off the shelf and bounced across the supermarket floor. In truth, there were probably ten sponges, but my memory recalls about a hundred. And it makes me laugh out loud.

How to decide to Let Go

Let’s take memories, but this can apply to any “thing” (job, house etc) or person (relationship, friendship etc). The memories I just mentioned above totally serve me. They impact my life in a positive way, so I have chosen to not let them go. I love being able to easily recall them and bring a smile to myself.

If you are not sure whether you should hold on to something/someone, ask yourself:

“Is this serving me?”

Because, if it is, keep a hold of it! If it is not (and you will know this if you are really honest with yourself), let it go. It is like carrying something heavy that doesn’t have a purpose. A suitcase full of lead. A suitcase full of presents to take to a family event is a good thing. And, according to my Personal Trainer, a medicine ball while running up a set of stairs is also a good thing. Hmmm…

Ask yourself. Reflect. Then take action. Your arms, your legs and your heart will thank you for it. Because, not only are you ridding yourself of something no longer useful, you are making room for something new and better.

This goes for unwanted items around the house – unworn clothes, unused kitchen utensils, old magazines. What can you let go of today that might make the biggest difference in your life by making way for something new? Go ahead and share using your favourite button. I’d love to hear from you!

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