I usually cut, paste, add, revise, trim, and republish, when I update a previously published blog. I decided that this topic is more than most, a reoccuring theme in my life, it would benefit me more, to start from scratch.
This will not be the last time this topic comes up. I know now that letting go is a lifelong struggle for me. A struggle I am determined to conquer.
What I Have or Will Let Go of Sooner or Later
- People, things, places, notions/ideas, acquaintances, anger, fear, self-imposed expectations, worries and pain.
This list is not an exhaustive one. I think about letting go on a daily basis; new items get added, while others fade away. Where I am emotionally matters a great deal in terms of how well I cope. Also, how well I have slept, how I feel at any given moment, what I have planned that day, the people I am with, and so on, factor in.
For me, people have always been my biggest challenge. When you hold yourself up to high standards, you tend to expect the same of others. When you do this, you set yourself up for tremendous disappointment. Human beings make lots of mistakes.
It should be noted that I own my shortcomings and difficulties. I know that I’m stubborn, righteous, too direct, sometimes unforgiving, unrelenting, and occasionally wrong. Still, there are three things that can come up in a relationship that may or not be deal breakers. If a couple of the boxes or one box in particular is checked, it’s game over, done, so long sister. The three are trust (deception), a failure to listen, and taking me for granted. There are more, but these are the big three.
If you don’t like Paco, it can be a problem. I do forgive people with a deep seeded fear of dogs. I’m not sure how anyone can truly fear this guy.
Material things are nothing but a trap. When I moved to Portugal I left behind most of my things. I found it to be easier and more freeing than I expected. I highly recommend practicing detachment from material things. The one exception for me is my home. I am profoundly attached to my home; it is my safe haven, my nest, my sanctuary. I have learned that time at home is healing and restorative — especially when I’m home with Paco.
I occasionally come up with a new idea. Let’s call it a new way of being or a change in the way I have lived in the past. For example, there was once a club of sorts. For the sake of this blog I will say that I belonged to a bowling league. I bowled with the same group of twenty or so people for 10 years. During our scheduled season, I bowled every week for 12 weeks. After two or three seasons, I became frustrated because my bowling was not improving. I bowled on days other than league days, I took lessons, I purchased new equipment; nothing worked. After a while I felt like a total failure and it didn’t feel good at all. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to quit. I was complaining to a friend over a beer and he asked me why I bowl. Oddly, no one had ever asked me this question. It took me 10 long minutes to respond and I finally answered that I had no idea. My friend’s advice was try a new activity. I heeded his advice, took up tennis and never looked back. It’s so easy to fall into a rut and allow misery to be the norm. This was one example of way too many.
You can apply this same condition to people in your life. If you cannot answer this simple question about a friend, it may be time to walk away: Does your friend treat you with respect? You can substitute family members or co-workers for friends in this exercise. Although, I acknowledge that walking away from either may be extremely complicated and difficult. Our attachments come with all sorts of societal baggage and expectations. The bottom line is that you need to take care of yourself. This has been one of my toughest life lessons.
What An Absence of Emotional Pain Feels Like
Therapy and aging are two different, yet equally effective ways of dealing with the people and things in life we need to walk away from. I once had a life coach helped me through a difficult break-up (and career crap). What I remember most about our conversations were how she normalized my angst. There are times and experiences in life that will make us feel bad no matter how hard we try to deny or hide it. The greatest lesson I have learned is to feel it and ride it out. When people tell you it gets easier, you never believe them, but the truth is that if you are able to endure the discomfort and hurt, it does get easier. You must also accept that: 1) it may become difficult again, and 2) people will try to accelerate the process — mostly so that they can feel better. Grieve, be angry, suffer, retreat, agonize over the pain; do it all at your own pace.
I titled this section “What An Absence of Emotional Pain Feels Like;” however, I’m not so sure emotional pain ever leaves us completely. Except of course, when we are dead. Emotional pain and discomfort seem to go along with the human condition . . . human beings feel many things, emotional pain is just one of them.
Feeling moments of joy after an emotional upset is entirely possible and probable. When those moments finally come, embrace those feelings as well. We are allowed to feel all of the range of emotions we were meant to feel. Most of us overly concern ourselves with how things might appear to others.
A Peaceful Place
Moments, hours, days, and sometimes weeks, away from people and situations that are causing us anxiety, is usually a good thing. Taking a step back to assess your feelings and state-of-mind, is a healthy part of the wellness plan. Some people know what is bad for them in an instant; others have to be told. I am open to being told, because I know that I don’t always see things that are right in front of me. I am blinded by empathy, obligation, and habit.
I returned from a recent trip completely depleted. Isn’t a vacation supposed to be restorative? These days travel can zap all of your energy. Airports, Ubers, long lines, an hour wait for your table. No doubt you get the picture. I have consciously decided to give myself a break from travel and remain at home for a stretch. Except for the next few days: a short trip to Monte Gordo, Portugal and Seville, Spain. I’ve promised myself that this is it for a while.
My next trip (after Seville) will not be until March 2023. I will be flying to Fort Lauderdale to spend some time with good friends. Beyond Florida, I’ll be in the UK for a bit and France for short time. I’m realizing more and more that just a few days away is all I need for a reboot. My biggest trip in 2023 will be a two week adventure in Asia — land and sea. More about this trip in the coming months.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading my blog. I haven’t published for a while, spending most of my free time reading. A few of you reached out to me to see if I was okay. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me. I also want to let you all know that I feel better than I have in a long time. The essence of my life has always been love; I am feeling love deeply and profoundly at this moment in my life.
With much love and gratitude,
9 thoughts on “Why Walking Away May Be the Only Way”
This was an excellent declaration Chris. Profound yet simple insights that caused me to pause (several times) and says, “that’s so true”. I find your posts not only extremely interesting but therapeutic as well. Thank you. 🥰
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Thank you Lori. Your encouragement is much appreciated.
Always like this post
—AnetteLet kindness, the spirit of peace and the power of love be your guideSent to you magically via the Interwebs
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All good news it seems time, I need more time at home too I’ve realized recently.
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It seems like you’re always on the move. More so than me!
An excellent blog post. I know how important it is to have and give respect to friends. It really has become a deal breaker for me to, and I am also aware of my need to up my game when it comes to listening well and giving my friends respect and acceptance of who they are as they are…as much as they would benefit from how I could change them 😉
You’re a pip… and a good friend.