Step 5: Letting Go
The Healing Series: The Journey that Breeds Purpose
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gon’ get in your way, so pack light,
Pack light, mm, pack light, pack light, oh ooh
I have heard this song several times both as teenager and now as an adult, but for the first time I truly understand the lyrics Erykah Badu so beautifully sang. She was talking about the emotional baggage that women carry around and how it hinders us from walking into new seasons and obtaining new things whether it be career, relationship, or just transformation. In this case, our baggage can get in the way of healing our brokenness.
“Jasmine you really have to let some of this stuff go!”was what my mom said when she helped me move from Charlotte to St. Louis.
I, being a person who likes to keep everything, ignored her comment and kept putting my stuff in bins and bags. As the time went on and I saw how little progress was made, I was beginning to think my mom was right. I had way too much stuff and this was making situation harder than it was supposed to be. I was clearly a hoarder, holding on to things for sentimental value or just because I didn’t feel it was time to let it go just yet. You never know if you may need it, right?
As I was going through my healing journey, I realized things were not the only thing I hoarded. I am also an emotional hoarder. I hoard things because letting go has always been hard for me. I always cried a little harder than most in each transition season. I cried when I graduated high school and left for college, I cried after my freshman year, I cried when I graduated college and then again when I moved to Charlotte to teach, I cried after my first year of teaching, I cried when I left Charlotte, and I cried when I moved from St. Louis. The point I am trying to make is I rarely like change and transition. Many of the moments mentioned above was my own doing and progress but one thing I realized is that when change happens in my life unexpectedly, I remain in shock a little longer than the average person. Or at least that’s how it felt.
We have to realize that it’s one thing to forgive, but it’s another ball game to actually let go of the baggage attached to the person or situation you’re forgiving. Healing is the process that brings all of these steps together.
You may be asking, “Well how do I let go?” I will use the analogy of packing/organizing and how we know when it’s time to let go of things to compare to the way we should let go of our emotional baggage.
- No longer fits you
I realized I had to give away things that were either too small or too big for me (since my weight fluctuates) and there was no need for things I could no longer wear.
It is important to take inventory of the current state of your mind and your heart – find out what no longer fits or serves the season you are in. For example: there may have been a season in your life where you felt the need to put up walls to protect yourself from pain. In your healing, it is important to confront that pain and become vulnerable with it so that you can move forward. If it does not fit the season you are in, it is okay to let it go.
Many of the things I purchased as new tended to either wrinkle up, fade away, or get old.
In your healing, you will realize that the way things and people served you in one season won’t be the same forever. Relationships and friendships fade. In addition to that, mindsets can shift too. You have to be okay with letting go of things and people that no longer feel and hold the same value that they used to. Sometimes we like to keep things that are now damaging to our current just because of the history attached to them. We don’t realize that most of these things are now damaged and do not hold the same weight they once did.
3. Not in style, trendy or in season
Seasons and trends change very quickly and when they do, it is important to also switch your wardrobe up and get rid of the things that are no longer in season.
There are some things in your life that no longer fit the season you are in and its necessary to let them go. As you heal and progress, you will realize that your appetite of what you used to like has changed and that you have to accept that change instead of forcing the old.
4. Taking up too much space
Not only did I need to get rid of things that were damaged, not in style, and no longer fit, it’s also important to get rid of the things that are taking up too much space.
There are things in your life that you need to let go of to create space for the new. We tend to hold on to things with either sentimental value or closeness but we are not realizing that many of those things are holding us back from receiving things that serve us better. We have to learn to not only use the minimalist mindset with our things, we also have to learn to travel light emotionally and mentally.
When I was moving from my Charlotte townhouse to my small one bedroom apartment in St. Louis, it was important that I downsized my things to be able to fit into the current place I was going to. I had to release things that did not have necessarily detrimental effects but I needed to decrease my load in order to fit.
As you are moving into different seasons, it’s important to know how to cut the extra out of your life and to declutter. I had to do a true assessment over what/who can come and who can’t. Being this realistic with myself allowed me to better situate into the healing I was on the journey to. I recognized the season I was in and acted accordingly.
Please understand that I am not saying these things are easy as packing up and moving. There will be transitions and changes that can be hard to get used to. Keep in mind to not rush your grieving process –realize the sentimental value of why you held on to things, ask God to help you release, and do not pick back up the things that you have surrendered.
You are almost there, only one more step in The Healing Series!