Knowing When to Let Go – Join Our #MTtalk! » Mind Tools Blog

Knowing When to Let Go – Join Our #MTtalk!

May 7, 2019

Have you ever made the difficult decision to give up on something – and then wondered why it took you so long to let go?

This week’s #MTtalk chat is about knowing when the time’s right to stop trying, and move on.

Please Join Us!

What: #MTtalk
Where: Twitter
When: May 10, @ 1 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. GMT/10:30 p.m. IST)
Topic: Knowing When to Let Go
Host: @Mind_Tools


I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.

– Jeffrey McDaniel, U.S. poet

The Fear That Paralyzed Me 

There have been many times in my life when I’ve struggled to leave things behind. Some of my toughest decisions have been about changing jobs, and about ending a significant relationship – my marriage.

I was brought up with the value of doing everything possible to make things work. What wasn’t factored into the equation, however, was the cost it would have on me. So, even when I was in an unhealthy marriage, I tried one thing after another to make it OK.

I was also afraid. I was scared about what life would be like without the other person. How could I possibly cope alone? I was even fearful of what other people would think of me because my marriage had “failed.”

After quite some time, and a lot of help and support from friends and therapists, I finally found the courage and left.

The sense of relief surprised me. I also felt guilty. I knew I should be sad that the relationship was over – but what I actually felt was happiness and relief! I’d found the courage to stand up for something I knew I wanted, and this relationship was not it.

I also experienced a surge of confidence, which I hadn’t realized had fallen so low. It was only with hindsight that I could see how much damage my relationship problems had done to my confidence at work.

Staying Because Others Say So

Speaking of work, I was once in a situation where I knew that a particular job wasn’t right for me – pretty much from day one! Even though I’d finally found my “dream job,” I realized very quickly that it wasn’t the right “fit” for me.

But rather than listen to myself and what I wanted, I listened to others. People told me I’d be ruining my résumé if I left a job so quickly, so I persuaded myself to stay until it was “acceptable” to move on.

What I didn’t bank on was the cost it would have on my health. I progressively became more sick, suffering from a variety of illnesses that made it extremely tough for me to work. I tried all sorts of things to stay healthy, but nothing helped.

However, it was only when someone asked if I was waiting to get seriously ill before I gave up on the job that I finally realized enough was enough. And, once again, the sense of relief was immense.

I’m Learning…

Looking back at other times when I’ve stayed in situations longer than was good for me, I realize that part of me wanted to try every strategy I could think of. I didn’t want people to think I was a quitter.

I can also see that the fears holding me back were simply projections of negative outcomes and consequences. In reality, almost all of them turned out to be untrue.

So now I’m learning. I’m learning that, when I have to make a big decision, I should “take the leap.” And when I do, I’m learning that things have a way of working themselves out.

When I trust, I stay open to possibilities and opportunities. When I’m in fear, those positives are very difficult to see.

Knowing When to Let Go 

During our #MTtalk Twitter chat this week we’re going to talk about knowing when to let go.

In our Twitter poll we asked what you’ve found most difficult to let go. Most participants felt that it was hardest to let go of either a lost job or a broken relationship.

We’d love you to participate in Friday’s chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:

What do you tend to hold onto most, against your better judgment?

Why do you end up holding onto things and not letting them go?

What are the consequences of persevering when a situation no longer serves you?

What’s the difference between “giving up” and “letting go”?

What helps you to let go and move on?

How do you feel when you do, finally, let go?


To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.

Positive Thinking, Thought Awareness, and Rational Thinking

How to Preserve Your Integrity

Using Affirmations

Beating Self-Sabotage

Managing a Person With a Victim Mentality

Emotional Intelligence

Locus of Control

Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker?

Managing Your Emotions at Work

How to Apologize

How to Join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets,” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.

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