Author: Kari Bryan | Texas A&M University-Commerce
“Who you were, who you are, and who you will be are three different people.” ~ Unknown ~
When I joined the Power of US Hub I had no idea I was about to stumble upon a community of individuals who were not only actively seeking answers to Salesforce questions but also actively seeking answers to life’s greatest questions; questions most important to them as individuals, as groups and simply as survivors. Questions that are important to ME! They were talking about what it means to be vulnerable, what it means to be a woman in tech, what it means to be transgender, what it means to be a badass, what it means to be alone, what it means to be depressed, what it means to feel invisible, and what it means to focus on just 1 thing. The question I most resonated with this last year (and into 2016) was the question of what it means to let go. To let go of love, loss, expectations, disappointments, the need to be perfect, the need for the perfect relationships, the need to have solid answers, the need to have control, the need to be more than what I am right now, the need to be the rock, the need to be the foundation, THE NEED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE’S EVERYTHING WHILE IGNORING THE NEED TO BE WHAT I NEED MOST FOR ME. What I needed was the power of letting go.
To fully understand the power of letting go I had to be brutally honest with myself and those around me. And it was not an easy or simple journey. (Those that tell you letting go is simple and easy are trying to sell you something!) The experience for me was filled with bouts of terror, agony, cold sweats, self-doubt, self-criticisms and tons of self-help books, webinars and TED Talks including the wonderful, life-changing author Brene Brown. Brene’s honesty and willingness to discuss shame continues to help me on this journey along with a newly-created PUB group called TheBookShelf (currently reading Brene’s book called “The Gifts of Imperfection”). And, yes – shame does play a large role in the power of letting go! Shame is everywhere and yet nowhere because it’s not talked about. And I wonder why? For more on shame please read “The Gifts of Imperfection” or reach out to join TheBookShelf in the Power of US Hub.
Notice that I used the words “continues to help me on this journey…” because the power of letting go never stops. It’s not a destination you reach. It’s not a badge you earn. Although I am sure Trailhead would disagree 😉 The power of letting go is a daily effort to maintain your willingness to feel everything honestly and openly yet only hold onto that which is most empowering and inspiring to your mental, physical and spiritual states of being while processing it wholeheartedly and authentically. That last part was for you, Brene! I’ll take my Brene Brown Badge now!
For me, the most important aspect of working with the power of letting go is self-love. For me, if I don’t love myself or if I stop loving myself altogether, for whatever reason, person or situation, then that’s when I give up my power over self. Then, I easily slide into old behaviors and patterns of being that are not healthy for me nor conducive to supporting my need for mental, physical and spiritual nourishment. How many times as friends, lovers, parents or co-workers have you given up your power to those you support only to turn face on them with anger, pain, jealousy, resentment, confusion and outright disdain because you find yourself running on fumes? How many conversations have we had about leaving that job? That partner? That drink? That situation? That way of thinking? And how many times will we continue to have those conversations before we decide to change those behaviors and patterns and focus on reprogramming ourselves with the power of letting go?
The end of 2015 and into the start of 2016 has required me to focus daily (if not every few minutes) on using the power of letting go. My relationship of over 10 years came to an end in October 2015. In all honesty, the relationship was on the rocks the last five years but when I gave up my power to do something about it five years ago I simply gave in and stayed because “that’s what people do.” (Actually – that’s not what people do. That’s what people do when they give up their power and they blame the phrase “that’s what people do.”) For me, leaving my relationship would mean letting go of a house we live in, three cats we’ve raised together, an organic garden we made, trips we had planned to take, loving conversations that will only live in memories, a best friend and this picture we made of our perfect little life to our friends and family. (Do you see the shame creeping in?) It also meant letting go of the need for me to feel guilty and responsible for someone else. It meant letting go of the need to take care and not feel my own emotions in order to let someone else fall apart while I hold myself together with nothing more than an almost empty bottle of Elmer’s glue. It meant letting go of who I was to become in order to be who I am right now. It meant using the power of letting go.
Everything in this life is in a state of change; our bodies, the environment, our thoughts, our perceptions – OUR REALITY. The power of letting go continues to help me to embrace the idea that impermanence is the one thing that we can cling to; the one thing that will not lead to physical, mental and spiritual stagnation in me and in others.
So what did I do? I decided to take care of me and wield the power of letting go to remove the things, persons, places, situations, and events that were not serving me in physical, mental and spiritual ways. I decided to have those hard-to-have conversations, to be open and honest with myself and others and to do what is hard in order to become who I am meant to be right now. To be authentic in my relationships with others as well as myself and to live every day with the courage that I do have the power to change, live and let go.
Perfection in letting go was never the goal for me. The goal was to simply take a deep breath and assert my power to let it go. In the end, life is messy. But it’s in how we decide to clean it up that truly matters.
You can read Kari’s bio Here