Why Letting Go Isn’t Enough

We hear a lot about letting go: of bad habits, unhealthy relationships, high expectations, forgotten yesterdays. Everything from our bookshelves to our doctors’ offices fills our minds with the untapped benefits of such release. There’s a steady stream of thought on that which we should repel like insects, but where’s the dialogue surrounding what our lives attract?

As much as what we’re encouraged to eliminate, what we hold on to reveals a great deal. Our relationships, work, and hobbies each speak to who we are and who we are working toward becoming, both of which are critical to what clings and what doesn’t.

Consider the types of people you prefer to be around or the environments you most enjoy. Thriving on gossip will attract likeminded individuals. Focusing on charitable works will draw you to those who share your cause. Seeking adventure will find you alongside others thirsting for the same.

Of course there are shades of gray. Our lives would be fairly dull if we sought only to be around replicas of ourselves. But take a closeup of your surroundings, and consider how you’ve come to acquire what you see.

Life presents us with the magnificent opportunity to write and rewrite our beginnings and endings. If you’re stuck in a rut, don’t be afraid to mix up your palette. Spend time doing something new that intrigues you, and see how it feels. If you’re weighed down by painful relationships, remember what drew you to them in the first place, and whether it still aligns with who you are. If your work feels unfulfilling, explore what speaks to you outside of the office, and follow its lead.

Eradicating negative influences is an important step, but it’s merely a beginning. Leaning into the parts of yourself that are like magnets for the parts of your life that you savor can be richly fulfilling. So next time one area of your life needs trimming, think about what you might plant in its place.