Hey friends! So… those were some weeks ey! Honestly, the season finale of America’s democracy was pure fire —pun intended. Anyway, today we want to bring a thought to you. Here it goes. Learning to let go and accept the world’s randomness around you can become the most significant factor in your mental health.
I know there is a lot to unpack there. That statement might come as nihilistic and defeatist at face value —mainly because your face is not paying enough attention.
Still, I want you to sit down with us and challenge your notions. I welcome you to be open to challenging ideas and be ready to entertain them.
Why? Well, understanding and mastering the ability to let go will empower you tremendously. Additionally, it will help you become a pillar of strength and composure your loved ones might need right now.
Trails of Character
If there is anything close to a superpower that I can claim to have, it would be my ability to let go. I won’t say I am the best at it, but I have proven to myself time and again that I am capable of serenity and composure in times of distress.
My restraint capacity over my desire to control everything in times of chaos and helplessness is a testament to how far I have grown.
As the eldest of four, I was raised to follow my family’s role models —my most senior cousins— and become a role model to my siblings. We were not poor, but we struggled and worked hard for the few things we had.
I always felt the pressure of living up to the expectations my parents set for me. Nevertheless, I somehow always managed to do just that.
I was taught to treasure family and relationships. I had everything I needed, and I felt comfort and assurance that that is how things would stay.
A History of Helplessness
Now, stop me if any of this sounds familiar in any way.
At some point in my life, I found out that a family member that was very precious to me was terminally ill.
At first, I was in shock. I couldn’t understand how someone who was always a presence in my life was now potentially leaving me. I was suddenly swept by a rush of emotions I didn’t know how to process or articulate.
What’s more, the people around me were all too busy with their struggles to help or even notice me.
Soon I started telling myself that the worst will not come to be; It couldn’t because I would not allow it. I felt a strong sense of ownership over the tragic diagnosis and how it will unfold.
I was confident the universe would bend to my will.
Yet, it didn’t. The day we feared came to be, and my heart was crushed. I couldn’t comprehend how this could have happened.
This tragedy should have been prevented with enough willpower, I thought. Bad things don’t happen to good people, and I saw myself as a good person.
In my innocence, I truly believed that nothing wrong would happen.
I was taken aback by the sudden realization that the world I was inhabiting was no longer safe and indifferent to my pain.
Death suddenly became more than an abstract idea. More than a tragedy that occurred to others, it happened to me, and I was inconsolable.
What’s worse, even though the people around me were suffering a great deal just like me, the world was utterly indifferent to my loss.
I couldn’t grasp how such a catastrophic event could have happened, yet the world was still spinning.
It was Tuesday as usual, and I couldn’t deal with it.
Eventually, once my head stopped spinning with bitterness and anguish, helplessness hit —and it hit hard.
I felt isolated from the world. I no longer felt I could connect with people whose lives have not been touched by my loss.
My mind was constantly pursuing red hearings and rationalizing randomness.
“Is the world evil?”
“Is god evil?”
“There must be a reason.”
I was bargaining with the void for answers; Pleading for a do-over.
I couldn’t picture myself strong enough to begin the journey of learning to let go yet.
The Journey of Learning to Let Go of the Past
But as most of you know, life must go on.
I was able to pick myself up and move forward. I learned to treasure the precious moments I get with the people I love; Those who left us and those still with us.
Moreover, I managed to let go of my attachment to the tragic event I couldn’t control. I chose to be present with my loved ones and cherish the life and memories of those left behind.
Ultimately, I found solace and peace in the present.
Perhaps some part of that recount likely hits home for you. That is not surprising since it is worded intentionally to focus more on the emotional journey and less on facts.
If you did, here is some insight into what was happening under the surface.
Randomness is The Rule
Our desire to exert our will over what we have no control over only brings tremendous long-lasting pain.
The amount of agency we as individuals have over the world is usually exaggerated. Our control over an airplane dropping or a train derailing is comparable to the power we have over how bright the sun is.
That is, none.
These examples might seem self-evident when contemplated at face value. Yet, the same also applies to our safety, the economy, or even our mom’s cancer diagnosis.
Bargaining with the universe for a different outcome holds us back from growth and meaningful peace of mind.
Accepting that we can’t control the universe and move forward is the most meaningful capacity we humans have.
Recognizing that even if I try my best and do everything right, success is not guaranteed is very empowering.
The uncertainty of failure no longer holds me hostage.
The Universe is Indifferent
Here is the truth. Life is random and indifferent to your needs, period. Bad things happen to good people all the time. And the worst part is, we have very little control over that reality.
We exist in a world with an infinite amount of hidden variables and unknowns. The game of life does not reveal its rules, and that is how the game is by design.
As adults, we are responsible for our well-being and success.
Knowing the extent of what we can control and acting on that knowledge allows people to be successful. They pull through insurmountable challenges and temporary setbacks that might seem overwhelming to you.
You don’t need to control every single movement and thought of the dealer giving you the cards in poker. You only need to know how the game is played and make the necessary moves to put the odds in your favor.
Additionally, moving forward in the face of adversity is one of the defining strengths of all leaders. Those leaders we need right now.
Falling Prey to Irrationality
Tragedies shape our lives because… well, it’s hard to move on.
We get trapped in our minds, trying to haggle with existence to change the past or make a particular future happen.
By constantly ruminating and overthinking the events and behaviors of others, we end up distorting our narrative. We attach strong emotions to otherwise inane events and make ourselves slaves to them.
We can easily fall Infatuated with a mirage of our creation that only keeps us isolated from the world others inhabit. Living in an alternate universe where time has ceased to move forward. Solely preoccupied with the things that perpetuate the illusion itself.
Learning to let go has freed me to be strong in moments of tragedy and loss, allowing me to have perspective.
I know that terrible things can happen, so I’m never complacent and always appreciate every small victory.
It’s Always About Us
We struggle to accept that the world goes on because that would mean that we have no value.
If the world doesn’t stop to pity us, to mourn with us, to indulge us, that means that it doesn’t care about us. So we rage against the world or abandon reality, becoming prisoners of our own making.
We create theories and evil plots carried out by highly knowledgeable people with obscure and vague motivations who are out there to punish us.
The transgression that has fallen upon us must be justified. We cannot accept that there is nothing and no one to blame but the randomness and chaos of life.
Some Can’t Let Go
Some end up so trapped they start losing contact with reality. Finding solace in regurgitating their delusions with other fellow prisoners. Validating their views in their ideological echo chambers isolated from others. Eroding their connection with reality further and further.
Learning to let go requires a strong sense of humility and community.
Understanding how randomness can be the sole culprit of a setback and accepting our rage’s futility is highly empowering and liberating.
Questioning our first emotional responses, practicing patience and reaching out to others for help will keep us free from radical tendencies, isolation and self harm.
Questioning our first emotional responses, practicing patience, and reaching out to others for help will keep us free from radical tendencies, isolation, and self-harm.
Learning to Let Go and Move On
Learning to let go is more than just enduring a breakup or the loss of a loved one.
Learning to Let go allows us to accept that we are fortunate to be alive today, all while embracing the fragility of life.
This fragility is what makes life wonderful and gives it meaning.
It gives life meaning because not knowing when it can be taken away drives us to pursue our goals with intention and urgency.
Let Go With Love
Knowing that the future is inherently uncertain and random, we can take every step forward with certainty in our hearts. The certainty that we did our best and the capacity to be proud of ourselves if the boat sinks.
This mentality eventually bleeds into every aspect of our life; academics, work, relationships.
Learning to let go gives us serenity and inner peace that can’t be taken away.
Learning to let go gives you true freedom.
Stay safe; stay well.
We love you.
See you in the next post.