Most of us are no doubt familiar with the old adage, which claims that it takes great strength to hold onto something, to ride out the storm or to endure an almost literal baptism of fire and emerge victorious on the other side of Life’s battles, wearing our battlescars as proudly as if they were Medals of Honour.
Perhaps this is true in some instances and yes, sometimes we have to fight the good fight because it does indeed build character, it does help to form us into the people we were supposedly always destined to be and above all, it purifies and refines our spirits in a way that is both necessary and vital to us, much as gold must be refined in the intense heat of a furnace before its true beauty, or even worth, can be revealed.
Sometimes, beauty is borne out of the ashes of our hardest fights or most trying circumstances… but many times, there’s nothing left for us to salvage.
Sometimes you have to let the fire consume what it will and allow the ashes or the charred remains of your former life, of your past experiences, to blow away on the wind.
It’s a tricky thing, this catch and release process… How do you know whom or what to let go of..? What makes one item’s sentiment less than that of another’s..? What makes a loved one or friend more indispenable than another, if we love people separately, in different ways and for entirely unique reasons?
Like the greedy dragons of European folklore, our hearts have a tendency to hoard more than is good for them and our minds generally like to store-up old sentiments, conversations and moments as if they are, each one of them, equivalent to precious jewels or treasure(s) untold, when, in truth, sometimes we would be far better off discarding them or using our own form of mental strength, which is just as lethal as the famed dragon-fire, to melt these things away.
It is not easy to know what to cling to but usually, deep within us, there will be a gut feeling or a nagging voice that refuses to be silenced but which begs us to let the old things that belong in the past – stay in the past.
I personally believe that whatever and whomever is meant to be in our future will find a way to be there, even if it seems to happen ‘by chance’.
Some people refuse to be let go of – and perhaps they deserve to be in our futures for that reason alone.
As for personal possessions or the more materialistic things in life, whatever we fight to keep we are almost sure to lose.
That car you can’t imagine life without? It might end up being taken from you in a crash, damaged beyond repair.
Or the excessive money and lavish lifestyle you think you’ll never survive without? You will… humans are, fortunately, as adaptive as we are stupid.
Life is very much a matter of ‘out with the old, in with the new’… but it is up to us to decide when to tell Life that it can go to hell and stop trying to decide for us what we can or cannot keep.
Other times, it takes great maturity and strength to know when to release the things we hold so dear in life, as this quote by Ann Landers puts it, “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes more strength to know when to let go and then to do it.”
So don’t be afraid to let go… if you never take the plunge, you’ll never catch your breath in the free-fall – and it is not a sign of weakness but rather, a surer sign of one’s strength.
Have the courage to cut loose the strings better left to fray and know that the things – and people – that belong in our future life, or even in our present, as oppose to not just in our past, have a way of coming back to us in time.
And if they don’t… well then, surely that’s proof enough that they don’t belong there, is it not..?