Leadership Thought #310 – Experience It, Then Let It Go

March 2, 2012

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Most of us walk around with weights and burdens that do not serve us well in life.  It is important to learn from your experiences, but once the lesson is learned, let it go.  No one is perfect. In fact, we are all flawed.  It may seem like other people live a charmed life; however, I have lived long enough to fully appreciate that things aren’t always what they seem.  How else can you explain someone as talented, beautiful, and wealthy as Whitney Houston ending her life in such a tragic way or someone as successful and famous as Owen Wilson attempting to take his own life?

The reality is that all of us will have to deal with the loss of many people close to us.  We will all have our heart broken at least once.  We will deal with professional and personal disappointments.  Friends will come and go.  We will be vulnerable to certain vices and temptations. Our well-laid plans will get interrupted and altered.  Inevitably, life will test our physical, emotional, and mental capacities repeatedly.

When this happens, don’t lose heart.  Instead, look inside yourself for the courage to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and seek out love and support as needed.  I know this is easier said than done, but we all must learn to do it if we want to build the resilience and fortitude necessary to navigate our life’s journey.

Letting go is a critical part of the journey.  There is nothing you can do to change the past, even yesterday is beyond your grasp.  All you can do is live in the present moment and do your best to handle whatever transpires.

It is important to fully experience your emotions when bad things happen instead of bottling them up.   A repressed emotion will only linger, build intensity, and eventually manifest itself in an unhealthy way.  My best guess is that many severe health issues are in some way related to repressed feelings and unresolved personal issues.

There isn’t a drug that will protect you from being human and experiencing the full continuum of what this means.   The key is self-awareness and knowing what you can and cannot handle.  When you are overwhelmed, seek help to assist you with dealing with whatever is burdening you and holding you back.  You must acknowledge and confront reality before you can let it go.  Letting go is required if you want to move on.