Whenever I think of having to let go of something, a 1986 movie, "The Mission," comes to mind.
In the opening scene, you see the spectacular Iguazu Falls between Argentina and Brazil. A person tied to a cross is thrown into the river and washes over the edge. You are immediately aware of the beauty of the falls, but also of the danger.
The film, set in the 18th century, tells the story of a mercenary, Rodrigo Mendoza. He's in the business of kidnapping natives and selling them to plantations as slaves. When he finds out that his fiancée is having an affair with his half-brother, he kills the latter in a duel.
Paying a Price
The Spanish governor, a plantation owner who bought slaves from Rodrigo, acquits him of murder. But, despite the let-off, Rodrigo becomes increasingly depressed.
A priest, Father Gabriel, visits Rodrigo and convinces him to pay a penance, but not in money. Instead, Rodrigo must accompany Father Gabriel to do missionary work with the Guarani Indians who live above the Iguazu Falls.
Carry That Weight
Rodrigo agrees to go, but insists on dragging along a heavy bundle. Among other things, it contains his armor and sword, things that will be of no use to him as a missionary. Dragging the bundle along slows him down and saps him of his strength.
In the movie, the only way to reach the Guarani Indians is to climb up the side of the Iguazu Falls, a difficult and treacherous journey. Rodrigo insists on hauling the bundle with him — against the advice of Father Gabriel and the Indians who accompanied them.
Dragging the Past with You
Although Rodrigo struggles with the climb, he stubbornly refuses to let go of the bundle. More than once, it almost costs him his life.
One of the Indians realizes that Rodrigo is likely to plunge to his death if someone doesn't help him. He scrambles to reach Rodrigo and, upon reaching him, takes out his knife and cuts the rope that ties the bundle to Rodrigo's waist.
As his sword and other bits of armor crash down the cliff, Rodrigo experiences helplessness and loss. However, he is also relieved to be rescued from the weight of the bundle that represents his tainted past.
The Art of Letting Go
During our #MTtalk Twitter chat on Friday our topic was "The Art of Letting Go."
One of the participants, Timothy Snow (@SnowinRI) said, "One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain." During the chat we explored some more of the things we need to let go of and how to do it.
Here are all the questions we asked during the chat and some of your responses:
Q1. What do you understand by the phrase "letting go"?
@MicheleDD_MT: Letting go = moving out of your comfort zone and away from thoughts, past habits, behaviors that no longer serve you.
@JKatzaman: Letting go puts the past truly in the past. Look forward and up. Then move on.
Q2. Why is it important to let go of issues in the workplace?
@harrisonia: Productivity is key in the workplace, so holding on to things can weigh you down and slow progress.
@DreaVilleneuve: Holding on to issues makes for an uncomfortable work environment for yourself, and those around you. Better to move forward.
Q3. Why is it so difficult for us to let go of something?
@WonderPix: Letting go loosens our grip, reminds us we can't control everything, even if we want to.
@Midgie_MT: In the past, I used to hang on to the pain/resentment to justify feeling sorry for myself. Used to play the "victim," poor me.
Q4. What type of issue/belief do you find hard to let go?
@PG_pmp: It normally happens when one takes things personally or to heart without giving much thought to right approach & right direction.
@ZalkaB: Totally depends on the person, situation. But usually, when our deepest values & integrity get hurt, damaged.
@manavlalotra: It's most difficult to let go is if you are misunderstood when you meant something completely opposite!
Q5. How has struggling/failing to let go affected your health and well-being?
@jeremypmurphy : For me, it caused weight gain, insomnia/sleeplessness, & a very high stress level. Regaining control reversed these.
@TwisterKW: Exhausting – mentally, spiritually, emotionally; scattered focus trying to look forward yet still looking back.
Reflection and Prayer
Q6. Which emotions are fueled by failing not letting go, and which emotions are fueled by allowing yourself to let go?
@BrainBlenderTec: Resentment, anger. Letting go gives you freedom and a few endorphins also.
@MikeBarzacchini: Letting go > Holding on / Grace > Stubbornness / Patience > Panic / Kindness > Anger / Acceptance > Anxiety / Listen > Talk.
Q7. What helps you to let things go?
@ChrisQuinn64: My family, friends, colleagues, as well as reflection and prayer help me to let things go.
@ishieta: Thinking it through. Distinguish between my wish vs reality. Pray on it if i feel the need. Then.. Free.. Let it go.
@sittingpretty61: I approach through self-reflective psychotherapy and sharing. I write much of the time and focus on capabilities = expectations
Q8. A person says they've let go but you sense that they haven't. What do you do?
@MaryEllenGrom: Don't pry, but offer assistance by listening. Frequent check ins. Pure empathy.
@Yolande_MT: If you've reached out and it doesn't get better, realise that there's a point where it's no longer your responsibility.
Q9. What role does the ability to let go play in business leadership?
@BernieMixon: Holding grudges reduces your credibility among your peers and subordinates. EQ is so important in the workplace.
@tweetgayusri: His/her decisions will be far better as their perception of the problem will be different.
Q10. What events, issues, experiences or beliefs do you need to let go of today?
@maat333: Hard to say, Because it is precisely against the notion of letting go. Sometimes our tenacity can fall into the realm of foolishness.
@TwinkleTutoring: In particular circumstances, that I need acknowledgement from others. It will never come, but that's OK. I am good enough.
Next time, on #MTtalk...
Letting go of things that weigh you down is important in maintaining your self-worth. It also means that you have to be aware your thoughts and how they influence how you feel about you. Which element of self-management would you most like to become better at? Cast your vote in our poll over here.
In our next #MTtalk on Friday September 15, our topic is "Self-Worth and Thought Awareness." To share your thoughts and ideas, please join us at 1pm EDT/ 5pm GMT/ 10:30pm IST.
To participate in our chat about self-esteem and thought awareness, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on "All Tweets" and you'll be able to follow the live chat feed. To join the conversation, simply include #MTtalk in your tweet and it will show up in the chat feed.
In the meantime, here are some resources that will help you learn more about the art of letting go: