Why You Hold On

(Excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, Just One Step: The Journey to Your Unstoppable You)

Last week I wrote about the importance of letting go in your life, and this week I want to dive deeper into the letting go concept. Specifically, I want to share with you the reality that it’s youthat’s holding on (so only you can let go). You’ll notice that I refer to what you’re letting go of as “it,” and that’s intentional. I use this visual because we can only hold on to tangible objects and the “it” reminds you that you’re holding on to something (not to some one). It also supports the slipping away step, as you envision whatever it is slipping out of your grasp.

This may be a difficult step for many of you because we’re all hesitant to recognize and then acknowledge that we’re the one that’s holding on to whatever it is that we want to let go of. That’s one of the biggest hurdles to letting go because you can’t let something go unless and until you admit that you’re the one holding on. But if you’re the one holding on, then you’re in control of the letting go and you have the power to engage in the process of letting go. Too often, we’re reluctant to take ownership of the holding on because (even if unconsciously) we’re embracing our victimhood – choosing to think and believe that someone else or something else is doing something to us. 

We also struggle in taking ownership of the holding on because it’s far too easy for us to say to ourselves and others (and to actually believe) that we don’t want to continue experiencing whatever it is that we want to let go of. However, if you didn’t want to continue the experience, then you would have already let it go. Our conscious minds are quite powerful and can lead us to believe that because we say we want to move on, someone or something else must be doing something to usbecause we have not been able to move on. For example, think of a past relationship that’s continuing to weigh on you. You say you’ve moved on, but you run into your prior partner (perhaps they’re with a new partner), and you feel that lurch in your stomach that reminds you that you’ve not fully moved on. You say to yourself and others that you’ve moved on and that you’re over the relationship, but there’s something still lingering. It’s far too easy to convince yourself that the past relationship still has a hold of you, but in reality it’s YOU that’s still holding on to something about the past relationship.

What are you holding on to in your life? Perhaps it’s a past relationship, a broken heart, mistrust or simply fear. Perhaps it’s an old belief or story about the world, about other people or about yourself. Perhaps it’s something you did in the past that you wish you hadn’t done. Perhaps it’s a judgment someone else had about you that you’ve somehow taken on as a self-judgment. Perhaps it’s some deep sense of loss or grief from your life. Perhaps it’s a mask (or masks) that you’ve been wearing to keep others from really seeing and knowing you. Indeed, only you can take off a mask and choose to let it slip out of your grasp. No matter what it is that you’re holding on to, the process of letting go requiresthat you first acknowledge that you are, indeed, holding on to it and that only youcan let it go. Stop waiting for something or for some feeling to go away (it never will), and instead take the courageous step to accept personal responsibility for the holding on. While this step may be challenging, it’s an empowering first step and one through which you’ll experience a great sense of control, knowing that you’re the one that holds the key to letting go.

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