Through life, we can face circumstances where it can be difficult to understand when we should be holding on or letting go.

It’s clear that each decision that we make in life, has some effect on us. Whether it’s beneficial or detrimental can really depend on many things.

In simplest terms, to make the decision of holding on or letting go, means thoroughly understanding our situation as well as what truly serves our the highest good. Some level foresight also helps to get some clarity on how a decision might unfold in the future. Sometimes we also need to use our gut feeling on whether to hold or to let go.

I’ve definitely understood that in my experience, the choice between holding on or letting go was fairly difficult and confusing. I’ve noted that it was often a gut feeling.

What does it mean to be holding on

Holding on to a situation can normally mean that we might find it beneficial in some ways. How a situation is beneficial can mean many things to many people.

However, its important to note that, this can also work against us in some ways.

For instance, a job that doesn’t give you the chance to express yourself, your skills or passions can be difficult to deal with. However, because of financial matters or obligations, we might persistently hold on to that situation.

Sometimes we might hold on to situations, circumstances, objects or people that don’t really serve us. It might be the case that we simply choose to be content and settle by holding on to something that is merely just stable. It meets our needs and that’s about it.

Holding on to a situation that just meets our basic needs isn’t very fulfilling. Which is why sometimes life puts us in circumstances where it forces us to let go, often in exchange for something more fulfilling.

We should generally hold on to things only if and when, they serve our highest.

An example, of what it means to hold on (a short story).

I’d like to provide an example from my own life in hope to help you relate. This is because I find telling stories to be highly effective in getting across a certain message.

This example is involves holding on to the idea that “I am capable”.

During the year of 2020, i was fairly unfit and never believed in the pursuit of climbing a mountain.

My parents decided that we should climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The intention was simply around the joy of climbing the mountain and not necessarily reaching the peak, and i was holding on to the idea that i don’t have the capability of it reaching the top.

As i was training for this climb in December 2020, i realized that my belief about the climb had to change. Instead of holding to the idea that I’m not capable, I started telling myself the opposite.

I had made an effort to hold on the idea that I am capable, it had an effect on my training schedule as well as the actual climb itself. 

It was the heat in the afternoon, and we were nearing the peak (never thought I’d get that far). 

At this point my brother collapsed due to the low oxygen level and went back down with my parents. 

Climbing Mt Kilimajaro whilst holding on to an empowring thought.
Walking towards the tip of Mt Kilimanjaro, holding on to a powerful idea.

Which left me and the guide, we kept going and I clearly remember verbalizing this mantra.

Sitting at the top of Mt Kilimajaro after holding on to an empowering thought and not letting go.

I got this, I can do this and i am capable. I consistently kept holding to that idea.

Lo and beyond, i, actually, made it to Uhuru Peak (the highest point in Africa).

I was not the fittest person, the smartest or the most tactical person. I simply made the commitment of holding to an empowering belief. Letting go of what limits my potential.

I hope this short story helps you understand how powerful, holding to an empowering belief can be.

When were constantly empowering positivity, it’ll be easier to let go of that which is negative, isn’t serving us.

We’re normally capable of a lot more than we think of. 

What it means to be letting go.

Letting go can normally mean differently for different people. Sometimes it can be the best thing, and sometimes it could mean the opposite in some cases.

Letting go can normally to leaving a situation, person or thing that we perceive as being no longer serving our highest good.

For example, if were in a circumstance where a job meets our basic needs, were normally content, however, deep down we seek something much more fulfilling, and can often mean letting go of our comfort zone. 

Things can fall apart in life, which can force us to let go it all go, when it does, there are at least 6 healing thoughts you need to remember to get through it.

Life often has an interesting way of placing us in a situation where we might have to let go, so that it can open doors to a much more fulfilling opportunity.

This is especially true according to Christopher Schmidt, where explain how,

After letting go of some of the external and internal expectations that I had about myself as a professional, myself as an employee and myself as a educated person, my PhD topic started to take root, started to whisper from within.

Christopher Schmidt | Phenomenology: An Experience of Letting go and Letting be

I understand that letting go can be somewhat painful in the moment, but you’ll often see that, it can be the best decision you made. That transition and change, is often necessary to invite and make room for something new into our lives. 

An example, of what it means to let go.

Once again,  I can provide you with an example of letting go from my own life, so that you can hopefully relate. 

I remember having made an application to join the Royal Air Force as a soldier (yes, believe it or not).

I had spent days and weeks revising for that test, however i ended up not passing the test. So badly, infact, that i did not even score the minimum.

When the results were revealed to me, i was devastated. I held on to the idea that the Air force was the only option for me and would not let go of that idea, even though i failed in my first try, i had developed an emotional attachment to it. I held on the idea that this was the best thing for me and pursed to try again.

However due to life circumstances, i had to let go of that situation and face the fact that it was no longer an option for me. In other words, my destiny lied else where.

Even though i might have failed, that failure made me more intelligent. Making me more self-aware of my skill sets, strengths and weaknesses.

Letting go was painful since that job meant a lot to me and I thought that’s that only opportunity for me.

A year later, i understood that letting go was the best decision i made because i was in a very fulfilling role that was aligned to my passions and skill sets. 

I hope i have given you a better understanding using an example from my own life. Even though letting go might be painful at the moment, it is only temporary. Better and more fulling situations await you, it just requires you to let go of what doesn’t really not serve you and pursue the things that do.

Deciding between holding or letting go.

Making a decision on whether to hold on or let go can be complicated. Fundamentally, it can often come down to whether or not a circumstance, situation, person or thing would be beneficial to us in the present and in the long run.

There are a few things we need to consider when trying to figure out whether to let go or hold on to something. 

  • Do we see still ourselves in that situation for the next coming years?
  • Are you just doing it for the sake of just doing it? (is there a deeper reason as to why you choose to hold on).
  • Are you holding on simply because you feel you have to but, it doest emotionally fulfil you.
  •  Do you avoid letting go, because you fear change or uncertainty.

I hope these questions spark some ideas for you, and help you decide if you need to hold on or let go.

Trying to decide whether or not to hold on or let go can be tricky, mainly because it can either be positive or negative. To help you understand this, let have a look at some simple examples.

Understanding positives and negatives examples of holding on letting go.

An example of positivity holding on.

“I’m going to hold on to this business since I believe I will see results longer term”.

An example of negatively holding on.

“Although they might be negative to me a lot of the times, I hold on to them simply because I love them”.

An example of positively letting go

“It might be time to let go of this relationship for a bit, we should give each other time to discover and develop ourselves”.

An example of negatively letting go.

“I’ve started this business idea and ive been executing on it a abit, i was super passionate. But I’m letting go because I’m not seeing the result manifest themselves”.

What hurts more holding on or letting go?

This can really depend on the situation that we are facing, both holding on and letting go can be uncomfortable experiences. This is particularly true if were holding on the something meaningful, something that were very attached to. Being forced to let go of something can sometimes be just as painful as persistently holding on to something.

So that main answer here would be, the fact that it is really a grey area and can depend on your situation. Generally, if we need to let go of something that isn’t for our highest good, but were still attached to it. It might cause some discomfort, but that’s usually fairly short term. In the end, it all normally works out.

How do you let go of someone mentally?

Letting go of someone who meant a lot to us can be an emotional rollercoaster. Normally, when we stop associating with that person, the remnants of the memories that we had with that person still stay with us, those memories can keep playing over and over which can be quite annoying especially when were trying to get over them.

One of the best ways, to let go of someone mentally, would essentially be, placing them out of sight and try removing anything that reminds us of them. This is important, but I understand that it can be emotionally difficult a lot of the time, it definitely was for me.

In general sense, the more we place them out of our immediate attention, start pursuing new goals in life, relationships and career, its much easier for that person to fade out mentally. 

With the start of pursuing a new life, old memories and experiences that no longer served us will beautifully fade away. Making room for something fresh and new.

What do you mean by let go?

This is such a simple and profound question. Generally, the meaning of “Let go” can mean to stop trying to control a specific situation or circumstance. When things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s best to sometimes let go. This can even mean to let go of that which does not serve us any longer. 

We might have to let go of something in order to bring in new opportunities into our lives, it can take some bravery, but its worth it. “Let go” can have a few meanings, and there isn’t a right or wrong, but rather what we feel about it. At some point in our lives, we all have to let go of one thing or the other, and its usually for the best.

Over to you.

So there you have it, writing this blog post meant i had to reflect a lot in order to explore the topic of holding on or letting go. Although i tried to give you an overview of what mean to let go and what it means to hold on.

There really isn’t a solid answer, since It’s something that is so individual. Each of us would have different things that we hold on to and let go, with different goals and intentions.

So I hope this article, gave you some idea around holding on or letting go. Remember to be strong whenever you are trying to do either of these things. Keeping an open heart can help you build more resilience.

Here’s a quick questions to get you thinking.

What was one thing that you had to let go of holding on to, which ended being the best thing you did. (I can think of plenty of times).

Let me know in the comments, let’s share some stories.

Published by Kunaal Bakrania

An individual passionate about developing mental and emotional resilience in daily life. Through my experience and knowledge, I'm on a mission to help others cultivate strength within themselves and create a life of true fulfilment.

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