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Mental Wellness

The Art of Letting Go

It can be hard to let go of the experiences that could have been or should have been, the one who got away, the life we imagined, the result of our actions, or the opportunities we should’ve taken, and the list goes on. It’s that feeling of wishing you could do it all over again knowing what you know now or wondering “what if, why me”, or “why not me?” Longing and disappointment from holding on to things that only remind us of what we’re lacking, what we didn’t do, and/or what we didn’t get, is an isolating, soul-crushing, and heavy space to be in.  The weight on the mind, heart, and spirit will in turn have a negative effect on the body without changing the present outcome. When these elements are disrupted, we rob ourselves of the fulfillment, joy, and physical well-being we need to live a life of color. When holding on seems to be the only option or the safest option, I invite you to reconsider even if you’re hesitant or afraid to do so. Letting go is an option you give yourself, it’s an art form that’s worth honing for a healthy, productive, happy, and thriving life. Letting go starts with the decision to be OK with the idea that although you may not be ok and things may not be ok, holding on will not make things ok. Ask yourself, “is holding on to this and limiting myself really what I need to move on? Is this making me, my life, or the people around me better? Will I look back and be content that I chose to hold on over my peace, sanity, and/or health?  

Holding on has kept you stuck, doubtful, fearful, and in limbo for longer than necessary, I know because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to continue doing the same thing and know it won’t serve me in a positive way. I knew that holding on kept me from letting go and to some extent, holding on fueled my doubt that I’d ever be able to let go. One day, I just got tired of holding on, tired of wishing, and tired of imagining a different outcome. I had to accept the apology I never received, take responsibility for the decision(s) I made, forgive myself for not choosing myself sooner, and most importantly, I had to give myself grace. I didn’t know what I knew after and was using my beliefs, knowledge, and mindset I had at that time. I realized that holding on was doing more harm than good and my desire to set myself free was greater than the safety of holding on.  

I knew letting go meant I had to face parts of myself that I hadn’t faced before, it would force me to acknowledge uncomfortable truths, and dig up painful things that I needed healing from. Holding on can sometimes be a way to focus on everything else that happened outside of you, in other words, the things you can’t control. Why focus on what you can’t control when you can change your mind and decide you want a different experience and want to be free of the past? Letting go starts with an honest desire, decision, and commitment to (finally) let go in the name of self-love. I had to love myself more than I wanted to be comfortable. I went deep, took accountability, took note of the lesson, and exhaled the tension I had been carrying around. A made-up mind is one of the most powerful tools we can use to change our physical state, the energy we exude, and how we show up in the world.  I fully accepted that the past is the past, and although we can’t change it, we can learn from it, grow from it, glow from it, and live our lives looking forward with the hope that there are better days ahead.  

by Shirley Uyi

Shirley Uyi is a Registered Nurse, published hairstylist, and award-winning filmmaker. She wrote her first story in the 2nd grade and has been in love with the written and spoken word ever since. She enjoys writing poetry, inspirational words of encouragement, and screenplays. In her free time, she enjoys experiencing culture, cuisine, and art through travel, reading, musical theater, oceanfront views, and spending time with loved ones.

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