I have been contemplating the notion of “letting go” versus “let it be”. The idea of just “letting go” seems like something we should be able to do but more likely it’s a process that takes time and sometimes never comes. So maybe we should look at it more as “let it be” instead of “letting go”.  As Jon Kabat-Zinn put it, “It’s not a matter of ‘letting go.’ You would if you could. Instead of ‘let it go’ we should probably say ‘let it be’.”

“Get Over It”

The problem with “letting go” or “let it go”, is that it really feels like “get over it’. And telling someone or yourself to just “get over it” is never helpful and completely impossible since, let’s be honest, anything that is not important to us, we can walk away from so we really don’t need to be told that. If we could, we would.

The mistake when we try to “get over it” is we end up only suppressing our feelings and burying them deeper in some attempt to “let it go” if we aren’t ready. If we think of the wounds we have through our lives, each of the different wounds are shards that get buried deep into us when we do not deal with them. They can stay deep though a sharp piece may pop out now and then. So, telling someone to get over of it, will only make those shards go deeper in.

What Does “Let It Be” Mean?

For me “let it be” feels very different from “let it go”. While “let it go” feels like “get over it”, “let it be” feels like being present, being mindful. If we look at what mindfulness is, it is about being non-judgement and being present with whatever we are experiencing. Just being. It is about acceptance and peace. When it comes to our feelings and sensations, we can actually start processing them when we can be with them. This may feel like just being with whatever you are experiencing or “letting it be”.

It Is A Process

At some point, with a lot of healing, we can let things go. But it is a process and many times we will not be able to do it until we are ready. Whether it is a belief, an experience, feeling or sensation, “letting go” is a difficult process. If we can be with them and not try to force them to go away, it can help with the processing. Though if we try to “get over it”, we are more likely suppressing those feelings/sensations and not really processing them. We are burying those shards deeper and deeper.

We all have shards from all the wounding through our life. When the time comes, the different pieces of shards work their way back out and when we are really able to release them then maybe we can actually “let it go”, freeing them from our bodies and souls. I guess it is our choice if we keep the pieces of shards or if we release them into the universe to return them back to energy to becoming something new.

Not Meant To “Let Go” Of

Somethings are impossible to “let go” of and I’m not sure we are supposed to “let go” of them. When we lose someone, we love to death, maybe the best we can do, is “letting it be”. Grief becomes a part of us, and it becomes incorporated into our being. There is no releasing our grief, it does change, and we can learn to live with it. But our grief, unlike a shard from a wounding, becomes part of our soul.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Maybe it is just allowing all those feelings from our grief/loss to move through and feel it. Just “letting it be” and change to whatever it will become.

“When someone you love dies, it changes your life forever. It is not something you can ‘get over’, the loss now becomes part of who you are.”

Zoe Clark Coates

Is There a Time to “Let Be” and “Let Go”?

I think there is a time when we can “let be” and “let go”. If some of our wounds are created through resistance than “let be” and “let, go” would be helpful in the moment. Let me explain. Some of our wounds are created because we do not deal with things as they are happening to us. If someone says something hurtful, we can armor up and close ourselves off. When we feel sad or angry, do we suppress those feelings because we believe in only happy emotions? Anything we suppress will live in our bodies. They may become a small shard on their own but could become part of one already there.

What is the alternative? We allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling. Allowing those emotions and feelings to flow through without resistance. “Let it be”! Being present with what we are feeling. Once those feelings pass through than you can actually, “let it go”.

Final Thought

Life is about moving forward and releasing anything that keeps us from growing to our full potential. Maybe we should “let it be” until you can “let it go”. The more we are able to be with what is going on in our lives, the more we will also keep from collecting more shards. We can also start working through those old wounds too. And hopefully not be overwhelmed by feelings.

If we can live our lives being more fully present and let our feelings, thoughts and sensations flow through us without pushing them away, numbing ourselves, or resisting, the more fully human we will become. Being fully human is feeling all emotions fully. Whether it is love, loss, joy, sadness, peace, pain, or delight. All the human emotions you have, need to be felt. We need to embrace our humanness.

photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

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About the Author: Karen Gentilman
I’m a license clinical social worker in Idaho. I have my master’s degree in social work which I received in 1992 from California University of Long Beach. I have over 20 years working with individuals with different neurological conditions, chronic illnesses, and different medical conditions, including brain injury, strokes, and spinal cord injuries. I have continued to work in Neuro Rehab. I also do private practice (Illumination Counseling Service).

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