A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Let It Go

I’ve probably uttered this phrase 7 million times in my life. Someone pissed me off, hurt my feelings, bruised my ego, or whatever and I said to myself “I’m just going to let that go.” Then I turned to walk away and stewed on the situation for days on end, repeating it in my head, imaging up various outcomes.  They didn’t know that I was bothered so I figured I had “won.” But did I really ever let it go? Have I at age 37 ever let anything go?

With baby number 2 on the way I have come to realize that I simply do not have time or energy to hang onto everything that I hang onto. I simply cannot welcome my baby into my arms when I am holding all this garbage. I’ve struggled with Jack. I’ve struggled to balance the shit I hold onto and parenting him the way I want to. It has left me often disengaged and short-tempered. I cannot risk walking any further down this road with a new baby. I’ve had a newborn. I know what I’m in for.

let it go

I’ve started to explore this concept of letting things go. I realize now that I never really let anything go. That no matter what other people perceived I was holding onto everything. And much of the time I wasn’t even trying to let things go. I have spent countless hours of my life power-struggling, going tit for tat, stewing in my mind, going in circles in my mind about stuff… I wasn’t “winning” anything. I was bogging myself down with negativity and resentments.

All this before I even had Jack. When Jack came along this just amplified. You can spend your whole day power struggling with a toddler if you want. You won’t ever win. They don’t get it. They don’t know there is a battle going on. They are just being true to their developmental stage. And with the journey toward gentler parenting came a public life on social media. Thousands of people to power struggle with!

I have not mastered this concept yet, however, I have felt the effects and I’m hooked. Recently a situation arose where I knew I was in for a long battle. It was with another adult. I could feel my anxiety rise. I don’t know what made me come to this thought, but I said to myself “what if I just let this go? Like really let it go? Like just walked away and didn’t say anymore, think anymore, do anything more about it?” It was sort of big situation so it was a big decision. I felt instant relief. I talked with my husband who agreed this situation could be resolved this way. And I Let. It. Go. I immediately started to refocus my attention onto something else. I felt weight lifting off of my shoulders. I felt… happier.

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This situation involved a big project so I started a new one. If I didn’t have time to do that then maybe I would have whisked Jack out back for playtime in the sandbox. In the smaller moments where I want to let something go I try to put on some music, get Jack involved in some other game, do my crossword puzzle, message a friend, anything to move past the moment and into a new one. I am not a Zen Master so I have not “mastered” this technique. I do have moments where situations will creep back into my mind, but I quickly remind myself that I have already decided how to proceed with this and that I am moving onto something else.

Yes, it is easier said than done. I want to explain more about how this happened for me, but I don’t know if I am a talented enough writer to do that. I will say that this does not come naturally to me. I’m a fighter. I have had to make a clear and conscious decision to do this. It’s like I saw a door open and ran through it. I had to have a quick, quiet moment with myself where I really, truly, genuinely decided that this is what I really wanted. Maybe that’s it. I just really wanted it. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my life circumstances as well. There is more urgency for me right now to drop the extra garbage. Whatever the reason I want you to know with all certainty I felt something I had never felt before in my entire life. Real relief, empowerment and strength. I was never winning in these situations before. Now I’m winning!

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. Cecelia says:

    It’s so reassuring, calming and comforting when you write these things.
    It’s makes me feel so much less alone. And less crazy!
    We are all in this together…doing such important work.

  2. marina says:

    Oh, I’m so happy to hear this from you, as i can relate to how much you struggle on an everyday basis, and it gives me hope fo myself too! You know, it is very interesting because I am also feeling I am up to something big and new thanks to one of the comments someone wrote on your last post about Cheri Huber’s book “There’s nothing wrong with you”. Have you read it yourself? I did it and it was like a revelation! She explain self-hate and compassion like no one has before, and I finally understood what meditation is and why I felt like I wasn’t doing it right. Eye-opening!

  3. When you play with your pet, bake cakes with your children or get into a really great book or listen to your favourite piece of
    music – enjoy these moments and realise the joy they can bring you.
    You can write down notes of positive and truly inspiring stories that you hear about in the
    media and then use those positive stories to start a dinner
    conversation with. Try not to keep pent up
    anger of frustrations, this is bad for your health.

  4. I read this post last week. I think I may need to get the URL tattooed on my forearm. I am a holder, a clinger, a hoarder of the bad things (that really, in the grand scheme of things, are not so bad), and it is absolutely something that I am trying to change about myself. I clung so deeply to my first bad breastfeeding experience that it, as predicted, affected my second. I churn and churn things around in my mind, and I never forget. So this past week, since reading this post, I am trying so very hard to just let things go. I know this trait is not good for me, not for my partner, not for my babies, my parents, my friends. Thanks for planting this seed in me to join you in the battle to let things go!

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