Letting Go: Drop the Rope!
Have you ever learned to water ski or watched someone else? What’s the number one rule when you start to lose your balance and fall? Drop the rope! But so often due to panic and fear, the need to show “you’ve got this” or inexperience, you only grip the rope tighter. You think (assuming you are thinking at all and not in panic mode): “I can recover, I’ve totally got this!” Sometimes you can recover without hurting yourself. Most of the time though, we fall and are now being dragged along by a rope, getting battered and bruised and pummeled by the water. People are yelling form the boat, “Let go!!!” but they’re background noise, we don’t really hear them. When you finally do let go…ahhh, all is calm and you’re floating serenely in the water with your life vest buoying you along. Thinking to yourself “Why in the hell didn’t I let go sooner?!”
Don’t we do this in life too? Don’t we have habits, ways of being, a job, a business strategy, a relationship or business partnership or resentment over a past wrong that is pummeling us but we won’t let go? Stories about who we are or are supposed to be that blind us because we’re so strongly identified with them? Ever had a death grip on “being right”? People that care about you are likely yelling “Let Go!” from the boat of your life, but you’re the only one that can actually do it. They’re helpless in the boat watching, hoping you hear them.
Please be clear, this isn’t about giving up when the going gets tough. It is about being able to honestly recognize when you actually have a shot at recovering, as opposed to when there is absolutely no chance this is going to end well for you. You’re going down, or you’re already down acquiring a lovely array of bruises. We all have those things where we wish we had realized sooner that it was time to “drop the rope”. We must learn from them and not grab onto the rope of beating yourself up about it.
There are things now that are still fuzzy for me, is it time to let go? Or I think I’ve dropped the rope but next thing I know there I am with it dragging me in tow. So it is definitely more art than science. Only you can know for yourself. But have faith, you’re wearing your life vest and you’re going to be just fine; better than fine actually. A lot of what we’re hanging onto is what keeps us from reaching our aspirations, goals and those New Year’s resolutions we’ve just made or are making. If you’re willing, begin to notice and be honest with yourself about what is and isn’t serving you in your life. To realize our full potential, to have authentic happiness and success, we have to be willing to learn from and let go of what isn’t working.
And to take this analogy just a bit further (I know, I know...stick with me here). Sometimes we get so beat up while we’re hanging on that after we do finally let go, we yell “Screw water skiing, I don’t need this!” But what’s the fun in that? That’s not truly living and you’re missing out! Be willing to “drop the rope”, learn from it and then get up and go again. Or maybe you think, once I get to a certain point I can coast without falling down. If I just stay at this pace, doing these things then I’m good. But again, what is the fun in that? Where is that going to take you? Never give up or stop growing. Each time you push yourself or say “learn a new trick”, you ARE going to fall but you know to let go quickly, learn from it and keep at it. And those people in the boat of your life are saying, “WOW, look at her go!!”