No. 17

Letting Go

I had intended to write about something different today, but then I checked my email and discovered three emails from people completely unconnected in my life all about the same topic. In fact, it’s one I’ve been pondering over frequently for the last few weeks because it’s one of the hardest things for me to do: letting go.

I like things I can control and manage and predict. In a chaotic fast-paced world, that power makes me feel safe. I’ve made plans to have the perfect relationship, the perfect party, the perfect wedding, and the perfect body. I’ve wanted to reduce the world to equations: if I do x (and maybe y) then z will happen.

Have you ever felt this way?

Lately, I’ve been discovering a whole different type of strength that comes with letting go, with allowing events to unfold. I’m giving up my control and my obsession with perfection (this is a process), and what I’m finding is a flow. There’s support I never expected and a calmness and happiness that I’ve never experienced so fully.

One of my friends in her email this morning mentioned letting go when it came to trying to predict or control the outcome of her romantic relationship. The result? She feels free and at ease — and the guy she’s been dating told her that he loves her.

Another friend let go of her struggle with her body image and weight. She’s begun to embrace and love herself — and there seems to be some serious magic happening in her life right now.

It’s easy to believe that life begins at the destination you’re trying to get to, but life is there all along — and the best part is sometimes when you just let go of the trapeze bar and fly.

What are you holding onto tightly that you should let go of?

{photograph by Graham Holliday, used under Creative Commons license}

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

24 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. I just posted about this the other day! For me, being a working mom and wife is a constant attempt to let things go, especially those things that take up my valuable time but are just not important in the big picture. Letting go of the idea that I have to raise my kids a certain way, or “do it all” is really liberating, and that good feeling helps when I start to doubt myself or to think that I “should” do more at work, at home, or in terms of what other parents do for/with their kids.

    1. I can only imagine what that must be like, Erin. You’re seriously a super woman. In the past few weeks, I’ve decided I need to let go of trying to blog 5 times a week or be on twitter all the time or comment on every single post I read. There’s a little part of me that’s all “no, but your numbers will go down!” but being out and doing things has been so good for me.

  2. It is hard to let go. Our selves are defined, in part, by all of the commitments we make … to ourselves, to others, to the cosmos. Relinquishing any of those commitments feels like a loss of self. But there are many commitments that one makes in haste, in moments when desire takes over.

    One way that I like to think of this is that the ground in which my commitments grow is a garden – a place that I’ve carefully cultivated. It is fertile soil, which can quickly become filled with weeds if I’m not careful. But it’s unlike a garden in this way: I have a hard time telling the weeds apart from the things I want to grow.

    Which of these commitments will nurture me in time? Which of them drain energy with no hope of a return? It would be nice if it were easy to know – but it isn’t.

  3. We can’t see the forest for the trees, Letting go is super hard, I am struggling daily. Just trying to come up for air and not worry about the next breath. I encourage on your journey of letting go.

  4. This post is beautiful + just what I needed to read today. I am an anxious person, and so I feel that strength comes from being in control, when in truth, it is in letting go. It’s amazing what beautiful things come your way when you let go of the little things.

  5. I really struggle with this. It does not come naturally for me at all. I am trying to learn to enjoy things. The one catalyst for that has been my daughter who constantly goofs up my plans in the best way. I can’t be the perfect mom but I can embrace her spontaneity.

    1. It sounds like your daughter is the perfect reminder that beautiful things happen when things don’t go as planned. I love that children can teach us so much.

  6. I love this Brandi. It such a good reminder to not try to control too much of your life. The best things that have happened were unexpected and unplanned which has taught me that control is not always the answer:)
    Cheers friend!

  7. Sometimes I seriously think you just look into my brain and post what I’m thinking.

    I’ve been working on letting go of my negativity. I want to believe in myself but my negativity gets in the way, ya know? I have an interview tomorrow that I would really like to get (for a writing internship with a magazine that I think would be really great for me) and I have to come up with article ideas to pitch, something I’ve never done before. Last night I was laying in bed thinking, I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m going to have like super lame ideas! But this morning, I was thinking that if I keep THINKING I can’t do it ,then I won’t. So Good Bye negativity! I want to start believing in myself!

    1. Haha — that’s how the emails felt to me this morning!

      Good luck with the interview tomorrow. Trust that you’ll rock it. Kick that negativity out the door and know that you’re going to come up with awesome ideas.

  8. Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll ever let go of my body issues. Is it weird that there’s this pressure to do so, but I don’t want to do it? It’s such a large part of me that being without it feels… off. I know, bad way to think about it.
    Beautiful post, Brandi. Chat soon?

    1. What you said is really interesting — does having those body issues define you in some way? I think insecurity now and then is normal, but if it’s holding you back from really being happy then I think it’s time to come up with a new plan… What do you think?

  9. I haven’t had control o er sO much in my life that I don’t even know what to say about this my dear… I’m just trying to be positive and hoping this will take me where I want to go. Tomorrow is a big day in the job search and I’ll do whatever is in my power and the rest is up to them… Have a nice one my dear!!!

  10. i’m so inspired by this, as with all of your posts! i’m so happy that you’ve found a natural flow in life and are able to live in the present without overthinking all those x,y, and z equations. :) i do feel like there are things in my life i need to let go of in order to enjoy what’s happening in the moment and not put too much pressure on myself when all i can ask of myself is that i do my best :)

  11. Brandi, for me it’s the need for control and power. I feel like once I relinquish that, everything will fall into place. It’s just so difficult and so unnatural to do so

  12. Oh, Brandi, this is such an important topic to visit and revisit, so as to always keep yourself in check. It is so easy to fall into a complacent life of over control. I know this from experience. Releasing control, taking risks and embracing the unknown as a rewarding thing—well, recent experiences have taught me this is a very good thing. Hanging on tightly to a job that was doing me ill-will, somehow thinking it was the right and safe thing to do? Ridiculous. Hanging onto the idea that I might not be successful if I were to pursue photography professionally? Yeah, that just rationalized why i should not pursue my dreams. Ridiculous. ‘Safe’ is horribly overrated. ‘Safe’ is just complacency.

    I think a lot of this comes down to trust. Learning to trust in yourself is a big part of this. And also, trust in something beyond that. Other people. The universe. God. Whatever. I’m not religious, but I think belief can can very powerful and I constantly respect the idea of a leap of faith. Trust in the unknown. Conan O’ Brien said it awfully well: “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” But I think the first step to that is letting go. Whatever we hang on to blocks us from getting there. Amazing things only happen after we let go.

    Inspired post, my dear.

  13. I think the biggest things I hold on to are grudges. One big one is with my dad and I was just talking with my mom about it this weekend. It appears the universe is trying to tell us all something :-)

    1. Amanda, I think the universe is! Everything I’ve been reading or listening to lately has said that once we let go, once we forgive, so many blessings are send our way. We’re no longer blocking anything, so the universe becomes free to work to bring good things into our lives. I’ve been holding on to a lot of resentment, and I’m still working on letting go of all of it. But so far, I’ve found how giving up some here and there can be incredibly freeing.

  14. i’ve let go of toxic people. it’s a brilliant, empowering, “full of control” feeling.
    as i loose so much control in my life, it’s nice that i CAN control how much negativity i allow into it.
    i’m not saying it’s easy to let go of these people. typically they’re they type that fight and claw their talons to hold onto you, but nothing that comes easy isn’t very gratifying once achieved.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.