Why Letting Go is Crucial to Adulthood

letting go

“Just let it go.”

This is a phrase we’ve all heard our entire lives, and one that my mother has reminded me of from the time I was fighting with other kindergartners about crayons, to graduating college. Each time she would say it, i’d often feel frustrated. As someone who’s always been concerned with justice, equality, and wanting all that is good and true in the world to prevail, this was something I simply couldn’t accept. How could I simply just let go?

For a long time, I carried around a lot of anger, especially in my final year of college. The beginning of the year was tough for me all around: I was entrenched in a toxic relationship, a ‘friend’ who had hurt me in the past recently came back into my life, only to abruptly hurt me again, leaving me feeling confused. And on top of all that, I was anxious about what life would look like for me post-graduation.

I kept saying to myself when anger’s red fog would cloud my vision, “this just isn’t fair.” I said it to my mother, to my friends, to anyone who would listen. It became this cycle of people hurting me, me being disappointed with my circumstances, and wallowing in my own self-pity. But through it all, my mother still reminded me,

“Danielle, I know it’s hard, but it’s not worth it. Do your best to let things go.”

Finally, at a breaking point, I asked her why this was something she continued to say to me all my life. “Mom, I love you, but it’s so frustrating to hear you tell me I should just let things go. I’m really upset right now, don’t you care about that?” She paused. “Of course I care that you’re upset. It makes me sad that you’re going through so much, but this is just a part of life. You’re going to get hurt, and you have to recognize that not everything and everyone deserves your precious time and energy. It’s draining you and the people around you.”

In that moment, I had a realization that felt pivotal. I couldn’t control that I had been hurt. As someone who is very much Type A, I like having control and organization. But life is the exact opposite of that. People, events, emotions, they’re all variable. And that’s OK.

I want to focus on the things I can control, and all the good in my life that is to come.

After that conversation with my mother, it took awhile for me to digest these truths. I was still angry, but once I acknowledged that it was simply wasted energy, the pit in my stomach began to fade. I came to realize that life doesn’t owe it to me to be easy, or any less complicated than it is for anyone else. Since then, I’ve used healthy outlets to release my anger, like attending yoga classes, consistently journaling, and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with others. Letting go isn’t easy, but it’s something imperative to develop over time. Nothing is worth your peace of mind, especially not anger.

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash