Learning to let go

Does burnout subdue empathy
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

Did you ever get the feeling that you’re overwhelmed by all the things you need to do and that some of them that once brought you joy now they only bring you anxiety? Have you ever thought that you might need to let some of them go for your own sake?

It seems that the more we do something, the harder it gets to let that go if there were some feelings involved at some point. For example, you start shooting photos every day and you enjoy it very much. Let’s say that after a while, you pick up another hobby: composing music. You do both of these for a few weeks and then you pick up yet another hobby: playing basketball. Let’s say that you set a “schedule” to do each and every one of those every single day. The more you do daily, the less time you have for each of those and maybe composing music, even though it has been enjoyable in the beginning, not it feels like a burden. So what’s the solution? To stop composing because it’s not enjoyable anymore? To put it on hold?

The thing is that stopping something for a while might feel “funky”. For me, when I think about stopping something, I remember that the key to get better at anything is to keep pushing forward no matter what. I think where I might get in one year if I keep going. This creates cognitive dissonance for me and it’s hurtful. It’s a battle between heart and brain, and the heart loses.

I think that learning to let go can have a big influence over our daily state. If we manage to decide what would be better for us and we act accordingly, our life can improve. The future is indeed unpredictable, but life has to be enjoyable (for the most part). Or else, what’s the whole damn point?

This might sound selfish, but we own our life. Whatever we do with it, it should bring some joy. That’s the difference between a happy life and a shitty one. Oh, and by the way, have you ever heard of people that might seem to have everything, but they are depressed as f*ck? Why do you think that’s the case? I think it’s because they pushed and pushed and they succeeded, but they lost the joy somewhere back along the path.

All this being said, what do you need to let go of so your daily life might get some of that joy back?

25 thoughts on “Learning to let go

  1. This is an excellent post. Been thinking same thing when I woke up this morning. I have an online game I play for 3 years now and it is no fun anymore. I’m just reluctant to let it go because of the friends I made all over the world.

      1. Inference : Online gaming can connect friends widely than a social network because gaming requires no language commonality, just “aim, lock and shoot” stuff. ☺

      2. Naahhh, try Dawn of Titans. It is 99% adults playing and then we hang out in game and in Line app. That’s why I’m playing it for so many years now. I find gaming in general extremely boring

  2. I narrowed down my presents on social media. Stopped frantically reading and responding. As mentioned in the response above I can’t cut it off completely because of the friends I’ve made. Besides the fact that the virtual world can be a shallow world, it brought me international friendships I cherish very much. Even met a few!

      1. That’s a difficult question. I don’t think you can put a number on that. Not everyone wants the same frequency and intensity in contact, but they can still be great friends. Some make you laugh, others are in for a deep conversation. All of them bring different things to the table. Confidentially and loyalty are more important to me than numbers. Quality over quantity!
        I read Twitter and FB like a newspaper nowadays!

  3. Almost everything I enjoy doing uses the mind to a large degree – reading, writing, parenting. I need to let go of my mind, if that’s possible. And not just when I sleep (although that’s hard enough with insomnia), but through something more active or calming. Exercise, dance, meditation, maybe.

      1. I don’t mean to take my mind for granted. I suppose, as most others are suggesting, there is just a need for balance. My spirit and body tend to get shorter shrift than my mind, so I need to mend that imbalance.

  4. Good one.
    Ideally our heads and hearts should be in sync. But I learned long back to listen to my heart if there is a conflict. Heart is always more inclusive.
    And best head and heart synchronisation happens with meditation. We get centred and develop intuition. Conflict reduces …

  5. Since retirement over 7 years ago, I haven’t slowed down much until this year. I was driven to stay productive and give back to my community as a volunteer. As you mentioned, finding joy in life is important to a healthy balanced life. I am volunteering less and exercising more. Also, I don’t overplan my days or say yes to everything now. Take care of No. 1.

  6. “This might sound selfish, but we own our life. Whatever we do with it, it should bring some joy.”
    This doesn’t sound selfish at all. Taking ownership of our lives and our choices is the only way we can be happy and if we’re not working towards our own happiness, we can’t really be a positive influence on those around us. Thoughtful post!

  7. This is so very true and well said. I am just now starting to ask myself “Is this mine?” because I keep trying to absorb others’ responsibilities.

  8. I totally agree. Something I’ve noticed is that, when things get tough, many of us have an instinct to add things to our lives rather than let go of things – and sometimes we let go of things we would benefit from holding onto. It is a difficult thing to get right and we have to pay attention to ourselves and those around us if we’re to choose wisely.

  9. Great post! The act of letting go can certainly be difficult, whether it’s emotional baggage, hobbies, or even objects we no longer use. I’m working on letting go of others’ expectations. I know it’s a big one, but I find that much of my anxiety is based on wanting to please my family and friends. Surely, I want to be a thoughtful, consideration person, but I also need to remember that I’m allowed to say no. I’m allowed to take time for myself and for my own family, regardless of reason.

  10. I’ve been learning to let go of my perception of being “broken” – of being incapacitated or lost. For a very long time, I’ve felt disabled, just being a burden to those around me. Letting go of that is terrifying and at the same time, incredibly joyful. Yes, I still have some nasty arthritis, and bi-polar and anxiety diseases. That is not the sum of who I am.

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