Written by: Emily Blair, Director of Operations
Being able to let go is something that I struggle with daily. There are so many things I hold onto so tightly. So tight my knuckles turn white and my hand begins to ache. And the white color becomes the norm. I forget the color of my skin and the capability of my fingers as they wrap around the rope that binds me to…well many things.
To the constant comparison I play between my body and the body of other women.
To the need to always have my apartment completely organized, down to the last pillow.
To the impulse to pick at my skin whenever my hands are free.
To the guilt I feel when I decide not to attend an event one night.
To the dislike of the idea of the passage of time.
To the distress that comes the moment after I make a decision, as a wave of doubt nags at my mind.
To the fear that I will let down or disappoint those I let get close to me, causing me to build up barriers instead.
To the guilt of the toxic relationships I have let into my life.
To the anger I experience when I realize I let insecurity dictate so many of my actions.
To the pain behind the fact that I still have bad days – days where my depression sneaks in and my anxiety paralyzes me.
I could go on and on and on. Although I do not know for certain, I can imagine that you may hold onto things of a similar nature. And you know what? It’s okay because I still hold onto a lot of stuff too. It’s a daily fight to let go. You have to slowly pry off each finger that surrounds the circumference of the rope and hope one day that letting go isn’t a fight but embedded within your life.
And learning to let go looks a little different for everyone. It involves steps. And those steps are specific to our journey. For me, they are, at times, baby steps. For example, the other day, I resisted the urge to flip through an entire cookbook where I had intended to choose which meals I would make my “standard” dinners throughout the week. At the time, I was considering planning meals all the way up to when I had a family – considering kids!! I know, writing it out even sounds crazy to me. But this reflects my desire to have every aspect of my life planned out, which to a certain point becomes an unhealthy obsession. Or in the bigger picture, it shows my desire to have complete control, which I am learning does not exist. So this tiny step, the moment where I took the cookbook, looked at it, and put it back in its place, was a quiet victory for me.
Why did I share this with you? This strange moment of me in my kitchen staring at the Betty Crocker quick-prep cookbook fighting an internal battle within my mind? I share this with you because many times I think we convince ourselves that other people can so easily let go of things in their life and embrace discomfort. Especially within the age of social media, people can appear to let go of difficult things that impede their recovery, or their life in general, with such ease and grace. We see people posting photos of embracing their bodies, sharing the miracles of mindfulness in their life, experiencing transformation through yoga, and on and on. We forget to remind ourselves that the process is messy and most of the times painful. I can guarantee the individuals behind the social media posts would agree. The post doesn’t always share the quiet victories those individuals had to overcome to get to where they are. They don’t show the moments in the kitchen, when the cookbook is placed back on the shelf.
I hope this reminds you that you are not the only one who struggles with letting go of things and that the quiet victories are just as powerful, if not more, than the loud ones. The quiet victories are a sign that you’re trying. You’re fighting. And really, that’s all that matters in the end.