Girish Joshi

Practicing Acceptance and Letting Go

4 min read

There comes a time in everyone’s life when logic fails us. How we try to explain everything to ourselves. How we try to understand everything that is happening to us. We struggle to change and control what we cannot change and what is not in our control. How we love and how we cry. How eventually our feelings overwhelm us so much that we feel crippled inside.

It’s one thing to understand something, but it’s an entirely different ball game to accept something. It’s not easy, in fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do—something for which I was not prepared. You see, I had always been a rebel. I’ve always been someone who believed that human free will was supreme. We always get what we want, the only question is do we really want it that bad enough? And somehow that had worked for me in this life, I always got what I wanted. What I couldn’t get, I could explain myself. Until I fell in love and got my heart wrenched again, and again, and again.

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don’t ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like “maybe we should just be friends” or “how very perceptive” turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

I don’t have love.

I just hate the fact that acceptance is so hard and letting go is so hard.

But then again I am not someone who’d just keep whining that it’s hard and not do anything about it. I talked with my friends, teachers, family, and communities on the internet. Here are a few things we can do to learn to accept the things we cannot change:

1. Gently take note of our feelings. Acknowledge that there is something beyond our control, and we are still trying (hoping) to change it. Are we denying something that can’t be changed? Sit with it, and let the feeling engulf us.

2. Check in with ourselves as many times a day as we have to, reminding ourselves: it is what it is, there is nothing we can do about it anymore, we did our best, and now it’s time to let it go. I know it’s hard right now, but have faith, beyond the chaos there’s a blue sky.

3. Give ourselves permission to fall apart. We have been strong, now it’s time to let go. We grieve, but we don’t have to grieve all day. We can fix ourselves an hour of grief. We sit with our sadness. It’s a healthy feeling, we don’t have to fear it. Eventually, it goes away.

4. You know, how sometimes it’s only when we close the book we were reading, that we really begin to understand. Some problems in the life get solved when we distance ourselves from them. Distancing is not a coward’s way out. It’s an act of bravery.

5. So, if this book of life is not making sense to us right now then how about we stop resisting the waves and let ourselves drown in the sea of uncertainty. We might realize that we can still breathe under it. After all, letting go feels a little heavy in the lungs right?

6. Throw away this book, and pick another one. Watch a movie. Listen to a friend, hear their aches. Help someone. Weep in the pillow. Go for a walk or a run down the hill. Dance to your music. Remember who we once were, and remember that we’ll be that again.

7. Freud said, “Love and work. Work and love. “That’s all there is.” The most important relationship in this life is the relationship we have with ourselves. We are kind to those we love, will we be kind to ourselves?

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