[06/23/23] Mind-Body Monday: The Healing Power of Letting Go
There is a concept out there that I have heard most recently described as “let them”, that I want to explore with you all today as I think it is really essential for our freedom from pain in the mind, body and spirit.
I remember when I was younger hearing the phrase, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them”. I have always tried to heed that reminder, even when I didn’t act in a way that looked like I did. Lol. I have struggled my whole life trying to free myself of the fear of what others could possibly do in any given situation and how that might affect me. People are mercurial, they are unpredictable and sometimes as we know, can act in ways that are hurtful and even harmful. This can be especially threatening when they’re close to you.
So, the way in which I attempted to keep myself safe was by trying to control them. Now I know that might sound harsh or ridiculous, but in my unnecessary perhaps, defense, I didn’t do this directly. Oh no, I was not that transparent. I did it with well meaning and well considered advice. I did this with redirection, compassion, cajoling, prompting and if necessary, poking or prodding.
I did this to free myself of the fear of the chaos that is life and the unexpected behaviors of others that have caused me pain, or more honestly, that I have chosen to be hurt by. You see, my subconscious belief was that if people would just listen to me, their lives would be better. You can see how I got into this business lol. It just comes very naturally to me. I am an inherent reader of human beings. I learned how to do this at a very very young age, by trying to see how I could avoid my father’s drunken rages and powerful backhand. Perhaps you too learned you needed to figure out how to control someone indirectly, especially if you had no power to control them directly.
This desire to keep myself safe, led to me studying other people all the time.
As an example, maybe If you walk into a party, your eyes scan for the funnest section of the room, the people having a good time, the people you want to join. Mine however, they were always seeking out (unknowingly at the time) the person that was the most likely to be a problem. The person who might need care, or consoling, or perhaps the person I would be best off keeping an eye on, while I was careful to avoid. I scanned for all the threats in the room, while you (I hope) were scanning for all the joy.
This led me to be uncommonly good at reading people before I even understood what that meant. Being focused on who was in pain served me. Eventually, I took it and turned it into a career focused on helping them. Perhaps my desire to help people heal was subconsciously motivated by decreasing the number of people in the world who would hurt others. All I knew was that I had found my calling 25 years ago and I have dedicated myself to it ever since. Taking people out of pain and into freedom is my calling, my passion and my deepest desire. Now , as an adult I can add my spiritual gifts into the mix and receive guidance on some greater truths, that can help me see past my own egoic needs for safety, and that takes me to today’s topic. “Let Them.”
Here are some harsh but wonderful truths.
We cannot control anyone but ourselves, ever. ever.
When someone acts in a way that upsets you, directing your anger at them only makes it more painful, not less. Because It makes you feel victimized.
When you can learn to allow someone to be just as they desire, you free yourself from the chains of expectation and the negative emotional arousal that arises if or when they let you down.
Big one… 4. People are going to let you down.
They just are. All the time. The more you are attached to them being “other” than what they are, doing something else besides what you think they “should” be doing, or believing or saying, etc. etc. etc. the more you will suffer. As the Buddhists would say, “ we only suffer to the extent of our unmet expectations”.
That’s a really powerful phrase if you think about it!
You think your partner should appreciate you more, and they don’t.. Pain. You think your boss should recognize your contribution more than they do…Pain. You think your friend should call more…pain, your parent’s should fight less…pain, your child should take your advice, pain.. People on the road should drive better, people should agree with your politics, people should be kinder…. On and on and on.. Pain.
Now in the immediate moment, what I am describing as pain can look like other emotions, anger, jealousy, revenge, disappointment, guilt, depression, blame, worry, but it really all is just one form or another of pain. The suffering of unmet expectations.
So, how do we free ourselves?
Well, We let them. We let them do what they want. We let them think what they want. We let them believe what they want. We just let them.
Your sibling never wants to go out to your favorite restaurant. Let them not go.
Your kid never wants to go to church. Let them.
Your partner never listens. Let them.
Your friend drinks too much. Let them.
When someone shows you who they are. Let them.
I know you might be thinking: This sounds heartless. Or perhaps you are convinced as I have been, in your rightness. You can certainly offer your counsel (if it’s asked for and wanted) but ultimately isn’t it the truth that people will do what they want anyway? And believing that you can somehow stop them or force them or make them be different then they want to be, is a lie. And in this lie, you suffer.
This belief that people are somehow “peopling” wrong. But what if they aren’t and weren’t? Just what if?
What if everything that you have perceived as happening to you… is really happening for you? For me?
Wouldn’t that be a delightful way to live amongst the chaos and the uncertainty and the fear? If everything really is unfolding as it should, whether or not it is clear to me? What if everything really is always working out for me, and you?
Wouldn’t that be a better, happier world for your mind to live in? I love you.