When I have reconciled to unwanted change, I can let go of all the things I thought were so important, so crucial in my life. I discover all the things I thought defined me might really be so much “vanity”.
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2
The perfect façade I present to the world and begin to believe myself is usually shabby and ugly. The image I believed I had to have to be okay is really smoke and mirrors. And the traumatic change that left me in shock, disbelief and early despair holds within it the elements for understanding, discovery, faith and incredible freedom to become a genuine me.
Letting go will have a different meaning depending on circumstances. Some traumatic events, such as floods, tornados or earthquakes, destroy many of the things we treasure. But, sometimes it isn’t objects that are taken away, but our ability to work, loss of limbs, strength, and security through accidents or disabling chronic illness.
What can I let go of?
• I can let go of things: my beautiful house, the right clothes, the right connections, and the right neighborhood. I can even let go of my smart phone and I-pad if I had to. They are things we enjoy but we can live without them if circumstances require it.
• I can let go of the carefully constructed façade I create in order to be accepted, approved, appreciated and respected.
• I can let go of the ideal marriage and focus instead on creating relationships based on love and respect and sacrifice.
• I can let go of the need to just have a particular job or career. Education and accomplishments are never wasted. Our skills and talents can be used in many different ways.
• I can let go of having to create the perfect life, perfect identity, perfect figure, perfect family, and perfect lifestyle. That perception imprisons us requiring constant struggle and energy to maintain its illusion. The façade hides an unsure child who doesn’t want anyone to discover her vulnerabilities.
With each life altering change, we will be challenged. With each new step, we can let go of “stuff” that weighs us down instead of propelling us forward.
And we can say with so many who have gone before us, this unwanted change, this tragedy, this crisis was the best thing that ever happened to me.
©2013 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC