Letting Go vs. Giving Up
Louise Morganti Kaelin

   

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between 'letting go' and 'giving up'? There certainly seems to be a very fine line between the two. Intuitively, I know there is a different feeling between the two, but it's only recently that I was able to understand the essence of that difference.

For me, 'giving up' is like folding your cards in poker, throwing in the hand before all the cards are dealt. You stop investing energy into the project and concede failure at a point way before the finish line. Like in poker, we usually fold as a result of fear, uncertainty or a spot-on analysis of the situation and the likelihood of success. You can usually tell the difference by how you feel about the 'giving up' after you've done it. When you feel calm, confident and free, you can be pretty sure it was based on sound analysis. There are definitely times when moving on is the appropriate way to go.

On the surface, 'letting go' looks the same. What I now understand, however, is that what I'm actually letting go of is the attachment to the results, especially the results I decided the action would have before starting. This process allows me to play out the hand knowing 'Yes, I might win; Yes, I might lose' but either way I gain something from the experience". It also allows me to keep investing energy into whatever it is.

So often in life we judge ourselves not by the results of our actions, but by what we decided in advance the results 'should' be, our expectations. We often speak of others' expectations of us and how deadly they can be, yet we forget that we develop expectations as well.

In many ways, our own expectations can be more devastating than someone else's expectation of us. We may have an initial knee-jerk reaction to the idea of someone else having expectations, something inside us that shouts 'No!' even as we try to live up to them. Unfortunately, our own expectations seem normal and 'right' and we rarely question them.

A long time ago, I heard an expression that I must admit I don't remember as consistently as I'd like: Let go and let God. For me, it's the essence of letting go of my attachment to the results. I believe (and tell my clients) that it is our job to figure out what we want, to develop a clear picture of that and to start moving towards it. It's God's responsibility to figure out "how". Our actions send a strong message that we are truly committed to experiencing whatever our stated goal is. The process is definitely one of "co-creation".

Next time you are feeling disappointed in how things are turning out, here are some questions to help you determine if it's time to let go:

How have I defined success in this area?
Where did that definition/number come from?
What is that result supposed to bring me? What feeling?
What other definition/number can bring me that feeling?
What am I learning in the process?
Am I taking all the actions necessary to make this come true?
Am I willing to let go of my attachment to the results?


Related Quotations

"The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty."  --Seneca

"Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius."  --Comte de Buffon

"Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid." --John Keats

"I define attachment as an inordinate need to have something occur in a specific way, at a specific time, in a specific sequence, etc. and/or an inability to let go of that which no longer serves. We may become attached to unhealthy habits, rigid mindsets, negative thinking, defense strategies, projected schedules, our own plans vs. the plan of Spirit, the first idea vs. the best idea, etc."  --Neva Howell


Louise Morganti Kaelin.  Louise was a Life Success Coach who passed on in 2011.  Rest in peace, Louise!

  
    


 
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