The Strength in Letting Go

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term, ‘Letting Go’

D e e p a k   C h o p r a 

In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, 
but you will find yourself.
Self Portrait by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved
My fifteen year old self watched on the big screen as Rose let go of Jack’s hand.  I was unable to fathom why she did not find a way to share the piece of wreckage that looked big enough for him to rest beside her.  ‘Never let go‘ he told her.  His last words were more of a metaphor then telling her to cling on to a now dead Jack from the frigid ocean water.  I walked out of the cinema in Germany with my friend talking about how we would have never let Leonardo DiCaprio go. We would have found a way.  I was taught to hold on frequently through life.  As a little girl holding my parents’ hand, in the absence of my father during the war, and through moves to new countries and cities.  You hold on.  
Especially as a Third Culture Kid, a girl who spent a significant part of her childhood living in and out of different countries, I was holding on to all of my past.  To all my past ‘homes’, all my friends, and all my memories.  This ingrained in me the type of friend I would become as an adult, fighting for friendships that others would easily walk away from.  I was forced to say goodbye to friends because of moving and so I would hold on quicker and tighter to friendships knowing what it meant to have that them at all. There was one friend who was kinda rough around the edges but I always stood by his side.      I like to think that everyone has the best intentions and there is a heart attached to every soul.  I would always seek him out and bring him back to our group of friends when he had not been seen from in a while.  He was the closest I have come to having a brother and I honestly cared about him as much as I enjoyed his company.  The last time I sought him out he revealed to me that in his mind I was the cause of his failed relationship with a mutual friend.  To me it came way out of left field though it explained much in hindsight.  It was at that moment after seven years of an off and on friendship, that I found the clarity to let go.    
When my husband and I were going through rough times I was counselled to get out for a while.  Not to leave forever, but to get away before things between us got worse.  That leaving for a awhile would help shock things back on the path towards recovery for our marriage and our future together.  So when I saw an opportunity arise for a trial separation we took it.  I had been hanging on through the loss of my dad and realised that it was not making me stronger.  It took more strength and courage to let go than try to survive. Letting go restored my soul as I allowed others to be responsible for themselves. Through that freedom of stress I found myself. I would not have thought there was strength in letting go.  Not when people around me were telling me I was in the wrong for leaving. In the end my husband and I found our way back to each other and put our family back together.  I find truth in the counsel I was given for it fixed what was broken in the first place.  
As children we relearn simple lessons over and over until we finally comprehend the wisdom behind it to implement the right action into our life.  As adults I believe it is no different.  Though the hardships and stresses may differ, in retrospect I see the lesson in the end to be similar.  I have had to let go in many facets of my life as a child and now as an adult.  Even when we lose things or people in life we still have to let go of the lingering pain.  
After fighting for a decade with my in laws and hoping that they would eventually ‘see me for me’ and love me unconditionally I was pushed to the breaking point of the relationship.  Despite my own dislike for confrontations I brought out the problems in conversation, called it out and laid it on the table.    I wanted to get it out, get over it and move on from the same fights that would arise.  Growing up in Italy I saw how a family would have an loud boisterous fight at the table, get it all out, and then move on. Yet some people can never let go because they keep so much emotional baggage locked up, with fear of ever talking about it.  Their thoughts, words, actions, and judgements I cannot control.  I finally realised last Autumn I could not force anyone to like me and time nor distance would not necessarily make any difference.  I found the strength through the storm to let go.  In the end I found indifference. Which if I cannot have love, is better than harbouring the opposite.  
The simple truth is if we had control over something we would not let it hurt us or strain our life.  So by letting go of things and people of which we do not have control, we are essentially letting go of the toxic and negative aspects in our life.  That is what we have control over.  It is where we find our inner strength and through it our true selves.  
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong,
 but sometimes it is letting go.” – Herman Hesse


*Self Portrait by Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

  • Miriam Pinkston

    This hit me at the core and I a not sure what to do with the things it stirred up inside yet, but it definitely gives me things to think about and hopefully help me work through what I need to at the moment. I always viewed it as “easier” to leave, but leaving and letting go are two fundamentally different actions – now I need to think…

    • Bonnie Rose

      Miriam you said it perfectly. Leaving and letting go are two different things. I think thats why for us we can leave so much and then when we realize that means we are hanging on to so much more, it can be a bit overwhelming. Hopefully you find your peace soon and let go of what you cannot control. <3

  • Susanne V.

    Such a true story, and very brave of you to share it on your blog. So nice to read that letting go of certain things really helped you through life, I am on my way to do the same. Thanks for this lovely post!!


    • Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Susanne, I love your lovely comments. I am glad to hear you are also on the road to finding peace through letting go too. x

  • Kelly S

    This was beautiful. Such an unexpected, but much needed post! Thank you for sharing!

    • Bonnie Rose

      You’re welcome and thank you for the sweet comment. x

  • Catalyn H

    I pretty much love this post – I know you know why. Thank you for sharing this! And thank you for reaching out to me again. You are amazing!!!

    • Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Catalyn, and so glad to have made friends with you this week. x

  • Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife

    I feel we are at that point with my in laws, since we moved in August they have been in contact twice and we are in the same country as them whereas my family who is thousands of miles away we Skype with about twice a month.

    • Bonnie Rose

      Messaged you in an email. x

  • Mary Hill

    I so agree with your post. It is very clear and to the point. Letting go is a process that sometimees we have to go through. Sometimes letting go is best for us and sometimes it is best for others. I loved the quotes you found too. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • Bonnie Rose

      Yeah its just another factor of life, and in this regard can help enjoy the other areas of life more when we just let go. x

  • Melissa

    Such a great post, Bonnie. <3

    • Bonnie Rose

      Thank you sweet Melissa x

  • Casey Martin

    Totally agree… sometimes we must let things go to let other things in.

  • Gab

    “As children we relearn simple lessons over and over until we finally comprehend the wisdom behind it to implement the right action into our life.” I couldn’t agree more. And yes the things we can’t control or we have no control over are the things that we should learn to let go. This is a very insightful post.

    Dropping by from the link up and definitely adding you to my reading list.

    <3 Gab

  • Erika @

    Beautiful post, Bonnie.

    You really grabbed me with the Titanic scene, as I and every other person who watched the film wondered why Rose couldn’t scootch over just a little bit and give him some room. At least try. I think they should have made that piece of driftwood/that door a bit smaller, because maybe then we wouldn’t blame her so much.

    BUT ANYWAY, that’s not the point. I have to say I really related to the wanting to cling onto relationships that some people would have easily been able to walk away from. From carrying it all on your shoulders, from holding onto the past because sometimes it keeps you grounded or knowing who you are and if you don’t find that identity in home or place the way some other people to, your relationships can kind of do that. But sometimes, the best thing is to let go — and sometimes letting go can give you what you’re seeking more than clutching tightly ever could.

    It’s hard to let go. Sometimes it feels like betrayal. Sometimes it feels like being disloyal. Sometimes it looks to other people as if you are a “bad person” or “giving up.” But sometimes it’s the best thing to do for all parties involved. Letting go sometimes gives you the space to embrace something new, something nourishing, something different. But like you said, it requires more courage and faith and bravery sometimes than holding on.

    Oh life.

  • Amanda

    I love those quotes! And I’ve never really thought about the Titanic scene, but you’re so right. I think it does take maturity to let go sometimes.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh how I love this post. I wish my family could understand this idea of needing to let go sometimes. They think I’ve just abandoned them when in reality I’ve simply realized that you must let go of things that you can’t change.