let it go
let it leave
let it happen
in this world
was promised or
belonged to you in anyway
all you own is yourself
— Rupi Kaur
As I sat in my daughter's orientation session and listened to the anxious voices of concerned parents, the nervous movements of the children and the teachers' delight to see their students' faces, it struck me that we are now living in a world completely different from that which we have come to know. Ordinarily, in late September, school would have been in full swing and this week we would have been selecting extracurricular activities for our children.
Instead, the principal was explaining that children will have all classes online with a focus on only the core subjects. I was slightly bothered by the announcement that students must wear uniforms to the virtual classes to ensure they were in the right state of mind, but resisted my usual urge to comment. The truth is, the teachers and school administrators have enough on their plates and there was no need to major in the minor. It was my moment of letting it be.
Letting it go, letting it be, is often easier said than done, but one of my biggest COVID-19 lessons is accepting that nothing in this world was promised or belonged to you anyway.
If I could turn back the hands of time, I would have been spared many heartaches if I applied this sage wisdom. Like the number of times I attributed pain I was experiencing to what I perceived as poor treatment from someone versus accepting that it was how I was allowing myself to be treated.
We hold on to suffering in an effort to find closure or reconciliation in relationships that no longer exist, telling ourselves that we can change the outcome if we reach out to the partner who moved on, not accepting that nothing we do can influence how someone behaves. We count the number of years, the energy we put into growing the relationship, and get angry that he/she is really walking away, and cling to a mistake just because we spent a lot of time making it.
Let it go
Let it leave.
Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. Accept the loss and change and emerge from the experience stronger than when you entered it.
Let it happen.
1. Forgive – Holding a grudge is like strangling yourself or walking with overweight bags. You may even convince yourself that the other person does not deserve your forgiveness. But forgiveness is more about you than the person who did you wrong. Forgive and let it go and free yourself up for new opportunities.
2. Release pride – Pride is responsible for how we often react to situations where we feel we have been wronged. “How could he leave you — you are everything he could ever want”. By leaving he is saying that you are not good enough, he can do better, is what pride tells us. Let go of pride and accept that his/her actions have nothing to do with you.
3. Be comfortable with the uncertain – Spending time trying to control how things develop leads to anxiety and even depression. Life is unpredictable and the more we accept this, the more prepared we are to deal with the unexpected.
4. Releasing other people's view of the world – I am always amazed at how as individuals we have our own moral compass and judge others through our perceptions of the world. Understand that someone's right can be your wrong or vice versa, and do not live your life because of their view of the world. Give yourself permission to live according to your own standards and not the standards of others.
5. And finally, allow yourself to be happy - I remember being afraid of being happy because around the corner some sadness loomed, and so after a perfect day, I anticipated some kind of tragic moment that would change the course of the day; and so I tempered my joy. It made no sense, and so I accept that I deserve to be happy and clear the path for my happiness and suggest you do it too.
After all, “all you own is yourself”.
Coleen Antoinette is an arts educator and lover of culture and people. She is currently the director of marketing & communications at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. You may share your thoughts or your own experiences with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.