Music accentuates the mood. Whether in deep sorrow, overpouring with joy or needing a motivation boost, there’s always a song to serve as background music for the main character that everyone truly is.
There are at least 1,000 songs in my Spotify “Liked Songs” list, generating tunes from my childhood to now that I’m reaching the big three-o. Besides nostalgic waves streaming through my speakers, I’ve randomly stumbled upon songs that present as a sign from the universe – being invisibly slapped by the lyrics flowing side by side with the beat. It’s ironically not something to frown upon, at least personally.
As one of my favourite artists, Lana Del Rey, belted in her 2012 hit Ride, “I’ve got a war in my mind, so I just ride”. For years that served as my motto but I eventually came to a point of doing the most adult millennial would do: taking responsibility. I’d say I’m a rather responsible person as my parents had nurtured me nevertheless hardly feasible when it comes to my own well-being.
Disclosure and Zedd released You’ve Got to Let Go If You Want to Be Free in 2022. Not many lyrics go into this Dance/Electronic tune yet “You can’t hold on, you’ve got to let go if you want to be free” was a slap to finally build the courage of seeking professional help.
Indeed, talking with my dearest ones helps. Counselling, or therapy, inspires change and improves the quality of life through self-awareness and self-exploration. It helps one feel empowered towards a more fulfilled life by exploring what is being felt, the reasons behind and ways to cope. All of this sounded foreign because “escapism” was my best friend.
Therapy is not cheap! It’s an investment in a better quality of life. Every month I dedicated one of my mornings to a therapy session lasting 1-1.5 hours without having to leave my home; casually sitting on my sofa while sipping on a homemade matcha latte and pouring my concerns.
Neglect, suppressing emotions, having unresolved traumas, etc. eventually have to be dealt with despite the obliviousness, pain and fear. Someday, all of that has to be let go.
Psychology Today states letting go is an act of “being willing to allow life to carry you to a new place, even a deeper more true rendition of self. Holding on means trying to push life into the place of your making or be damned.” There’s no point in tightly grasping to our ideals in this life and – a struggle I, and many others out there, come to terms with.
Letting go is a necessary ability for personal development, glee, and successful relationships. It entails letting go of attachments, welcoming change, and accepting it is what it is. However, developing the skill to let go takes all your might in time, effort, and self-compassion.
For someone who hates being controlled, ironically, I’ve been controlling circumstances for my liking. This makes no sense whatsoever. Controlling or avoiding negativity by answering back, pursuing, or repressing can sometimes enhance rather than reduce the bad sensation. Acknowledging the issue and the emotions circulating it, and then embracing the rollercoaster ride, lead to a clearer headspace to enlighten a solution.
A butterfly is enchanting, unique and exceptional; sometimes, the desire to chase and catch it instils. Say you did and you tightly squeeze it to ensure it stays with you. That’ll merely hurt the butterfly, even by accident. Part of the butterfly’s beauty is how free it is.
It exists without restriction; spreading its wings and dancing in the sun for you. Make sure to clearly set and follow your boundaries for anyone and under any circumstance.
Mindfulness is a technique to detach from unpleasant thoughts. This method dwells in your self-awareness of when you’re naturally erupting with negative thoughts yet manage to skillfully divert your focus back to the here and now. It’s not stopping the madness, but rather changing your perception.
“Is this currently serving me positivity? Could letting go of this thing, person, or idea lead to me living a brighter and happier life in the future?” are some questions to ponder. Be honest. Even if the answer doesn’t immediately surface, don’t be hard on yourself.
Try to let go by following these steps:
● Pause – recognise then release your feelings and thoughts
● Talk to yourself as if you’re a best friend
● Notice when actual control is possible and when it’s constructive
● Release the idea of perfection
● Journal freely and frequently
● Channel your control energy in positive ways – hobbies, interests, nature
● Practice gratitude and acceptance
Letting go is scary and gloomy. Especially realising the comfort will vanish. “I’m just saying you could do better, tell me have you heard that lately,” Drake sings in Marvin’s Room (2011). You’ll make a place in your life for new opportunities and experiences that weren’t previously available to unexpectedly come your way, maybe not immediately.
My therapist pointed out that our “what ifs” could occur, or they won’t. It’s good to think of a plan in case the worse befalls but don’t succumb to what you can’t control. As my 2023 motto goes: It is what it is. Trying to take control will only make you feel less in control. Removing yourself from this attempt, therefore, enables you to not get caught up in the minutiae of life. It indicates that even if your plans play along, you will not strive to bend your life in that direction and when the opposite arises, you won’t be aggressively making a deadly turn on the steering wheel of this journey.
Instead, surrender! Stop fighting – with yourself, the universe and the natural flow of events. Be in complete acceptance of what is and have faith that all is well, even without your input.
Letting go isn’t equivalent to giving up. You simply have decided to free yourself from whatever isn’t serving you. We’re all the main characters in our lives, thus are powerful to decide what we let go of and what we hold on to, and those decisions will alter the trajectories of our lives. Nobody wants negative effects on their overall well-being.
Letting go has been a struggle but ever since I’ve practised adapting accordingly towards situations and people, and surrendered to the universe, I’ve never felt freer. In May 2022, I took a picture at the beach with my toes covered in sand, overlooking the South Java Sea in Yogyakarta. It signified the time I started to be absolutely content with myself. And I continue to be a feather blown in the air midway through 2023. Healing, growth, acceptance and all that jazz are tough but I got to regain my power and light – so can you. Protect your time and energy!