You know that thing that happens when people are going on and on about something and you just want to say to them (or sing!) Let It Go?
So easy to say. Not necessarily easy to do. And quite galling advice to receive in those circumstances because, try as you might, and however much you might want to let something go, some things just get you in their grip and some things you cannot simply let go.
Last week Facebook, so often the fount of all incoming, whether useful or not, helped me see another way. And it turned out to be a way which was useful for my client to whom I wanted to say Let It Go. I wanted her to be able to let it go but she couldn’t. It was a family matter involving a loved one. You can’t always let those ones go and in this case it would have been irresponsible, possibly even illegal, to let go.
So I asked her if she could Let It Be instead.
Let’s examine the distinction.
It seems to me that letting something go requires action of us, we need to do something or a series of somethings to let something go. It’s active. It might even involve rejecting something or someone, or pressing the ejector button.
Whereas letting something be feels passive, and thus possible.
Letting something be is peaceful. And allowing. It is accepting of all the things in the world you cannot change, even some you wish you could. It ends the struggle. It enables you to find a place of accommodation instead of struggle. It lets you off the hook from having to do anything.
Let it go = doing.
Let it be = being.
So many of us, myself included, jump to the conclusion that we need to fix everything in our lives and that it is our job to do so. Some things and some people cannot be fixed. What we can do is give up the idea that it is our responsibility to fix anything. We are not Superwoman and we cannot necessarily take on all comers, nor should we.
Take a few breaths and a few moments to consider where your life force might more appropriately be invested. Maybe what would be most useful for you would be stepping up the self-care instead of trying to fix the other person or situation?
Sometimes in simply accepting what we cannot fix or change, the anxiety and drama just fall away. And we can exhale.
Maybe this is about having the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
It is not lost on me, a long-time Beatles fan, that the words of their song from 1970 offer comfort of this nature too. [I should confess at this point that I am genius at those harmonies when sung in the car!]
So next time you find yourself railing against what’s wrong with the world, a bit like me with Dustbingate, ask yourself this… if I can’t let it go, can I just let it be?
‘Course, if the answer to both questions is no, then something’s gotta be done about it. But not about everything. That’s the distinction. Save your energies for what really matters.