I recently said goodbye to something that had long since run its course. Like bad milk you let sit in the fridge and accidentally drink in a sleepy haze, it continually left a bad taste in my mouth. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, and I definitely had a case of The Crazies.
In the aftermath, I’m struggling with a host of emotions. I pollute my mind with the play-by-play of the situation until my brain floods with questions, and 1 a.m. has turned into 3 a.m.
Historically, I have not had an easy time letting go. I’m not a person who invests herself in things very often, but when I do, I’m all in. Whether it is in my personal life (family, friends, romantic partners, projects), or my professional life, I find it incredibly difficult to walk away from my emotional investments.
There are three types of letting go: the kind you willingly do, the kind you’re forced to do, and the kind that happens naturally. I would say that I used to typically fall somewhere between “kicking and screaming” and “I’ll die before I let this go.”
I believed that forgiveness was an absolution of sins, and even worse, it meant that I condoned bad behavior. By not forgiving someone, I was sending the message that they couldn’t get away with what they had done to me.
I let regret, disappointment, and anger fester in the recesses of my mind over the years. Unbeknownst to me, they were influencing every thought I had, every decision I made, and every fiber of my existence. By not allowing myself to release these feelings into the ether, I was giving myself the poison that was slowly killing the best parts of me.
It wasn’t until I was well into my journey of self-improvement that I realized forgiveness and letting go weren’t for the other person; no, they were for me. I deserved to free myself from the suffering I was keeping tucked away inside of me. What happens to the other person in life was never up to me, and was always up to them.
That thought was very freeing. I looked back on every hurtful experience I was still holding on to, and slowly began cleaning out my emotional closet. The bullies in school. The boyfriends who wronged me. The friends who were less than friendly. It all came flooding back to me, but I didn’t drown.
For so long I was sure I’d be handing them a “get out of jail free” card; instead, I was the one who would be on the receiving end of it. I learned that the only person holding me to the pain of the past was me. I gave myself the card, and looked to the future.
Letting go is an art form, and I am practicing it every day. I’m beginning to comprehend that bad people do bad things, and good people do bad things. I now know that forgiveness is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
I will eventually let go of the Bad Milk Situation. I don’t know if it will be today, tomorrow, or even in a week’s time. I just know that this time I won’t go kicking and screaming.
Jen and Tonic enjoys wearing pants with elastic in the waist, arm wrestling small children, and skinny dipping in her neighbors’ bathtubs when they’re not home. When she’s not seeking therapy for her Xenuphobia (extreme fear of Tom Cruise) she’s curating the world’s most amazing David Hasselhoff fan site.
To check out more of what Jen has to offer please stop by sipsofjenandtonic.com.
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