I used to believe that in each of my relationships there would come a time when I would need to "let go." This has may connotations:
1. Letting go of expectations while allowing hope and belief in each other to flourish.
2. Letting go of past hurts.
3. Letting go of negative beliefs and belief cycles so that trust can enter in.
4. Letting go of preconceived notions and learning to see what is real.
5. Letting go of the other person--meaning, releasing control and allowing the other person the freedom to go or stay as they see fit.
Anyone who knows me understands that accepting the above tenets will cause me stress, panic attacks, and insecurity. They also know how much I want to do it because in my head, those constitute healthy relationships and I want those desperately.
I'm rethinking this, however. I'm not sure those things are correct.
1. Expectations are part of relationships. Hope and belief are wonderful and should have a place, for sure, but a relationship without expectations becomes amorphous. For instance, I expect people who care about me to acknowledge me when they see me. I expect them to hug me and allow me to hug them back. I expect Darrin to want to make love with me. I expect anyone close to me to trust me enough to confide, and allow me to do the same. I expect to be loved. And I believe those things are reasonable and necessary. They provide intimacy and boundaries. I don't believe I need to let go of expectations in order to have a healthy relationship. I just need to be certain those expectations are logical within the scope of each relationship.
2. I'm not sure that past hurt goes away. I think I believe we learn to cope, the hurt becomes less present, and we find ways to address the needs that arise without using our past as an excuse or crutch for our behavior. And in some cases, I believe we eventually might feel empathy or understanding toward the person who hurt us--not always, but often in the case of those with whom we frequently interact and share love. Letting go infers that I can continue as if something did not happen, which is imprudent. We learn from mistakes--ours and others. We find ways to avoid repetition and we use the resulting knowledge and experience. The hurt is a part of our lives. It's more helpful to accept it as a pivotal point and build upon it, than to forget it happened.
3. I think rather than letting go of the negative beliefs and belief cycles, I need to learn to change them into more positive ones. I need to understand the roots of the beliefs that cripple me, look for the reality in those roots, see what is relevant and discard that which is not. I need to confront the beliefs that stem from dishonesty or from harmful experiences, see the reality in those beliefs and find the truth about myself--no matter what that truth might be. Mostly though, I need to stop relying on those negative beliefs when I feel alone or vulnerable. I need to build new beliefs built on new, positive experiences, and stemming from people who genuinely care for me. I'm not sure it's possible to "let go" of core beliefs. I do believe, however, that it's possible to see them as they are, identify the ones that are baseless, and find ways to help the beliefs morph into more constructive, positive, honest ones.
4. This one I agree with. Completely.
5. The jury is out on this. I suppose at this point in my life, I believe in allowing the person freedom to become whomever they will. I believe in encouraging relationships with other people--even when that means time with me will be compromised or diminished. I believe in supporting those additional relationships when they are healthy and bring joy to those I love. I'm very aware that relationships ebb and flow, and that some just ebb, eventually. Interest waxes and wanes. Close friendships are difficult to maintain. Best friends find other best friends. It's all part of being human and interacting with one another.
So perhaps, rather than "letting go", I feel instead that I must allow people who have relatinships with me to grow, change--to "become." My hope is that they'll become people who wish to remain in my life, that they'll share in the things I have to offer. I hope they'll tell me about their daily routines, share stories about their pasts, and find ways to spend time with me as I do the same for them. I know it won't always be so. In fact, most of the time it won't. But I hope it will.
"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear." ~Thich Nhat Hanh