Letting Go

Shoutout The Pattern
iykyk

I have a casual interest in astrology and, more specifically, astrology apps. I recently downloaded The Pattern for a variety of reasons, one of which was to help me discover why I was going through it whenever I seemingly was going through it.

Well one night/early morning I was going through it, and having my necessary, every-couple-of months-emotional breakdown. Thankfully, I was able to get everything off my chest to a great friend. I cried and vented and cried more about everything that I had been holding onto and subconsciously refusing to deal with and release. I even mentioned things I did not realize I was feeling, particularly experiences I had thought I moved passed until the words poured out of me. It’s funny what sorts of discoveries venting can bring about. It seems safe to say that dealing with the things that bother you requires more than just acknowledging it. Without understanding, accepting, and finding outlets in which to express it healthily, it’ll just build. That’s pretty much exactly what happened to me.

Every time I have these sort of breakdowns I usually dread everything for a couple hours and continue to self reflect about why I’m feeling the way that I am. These self reflections tend to lead to clarity about myself and the situations I’m in, as well as some sense of contentment. Usually, luckily, I’ll gain a lesson or two from it all. This post is meant to share the lessons I gathered this time around with whoever chooses to read this.

The center of my recent breakdown was about past relationships and how they have impacted who I am today. Everyone and every situation you’re in can teach you something if you choose to reflect upon it. Most of the people you meet and the situations experienced have had some sort of impact on who you are today, helping you to determine what you want and deserve, what you like or can tolerate, what you hate, etc. For me, (and I figure for others), some of my past is the reason behind my current insecurities and habits, examples being my need for reassurance and the fact I hate being told un-genuine and empty words, (outside of sarcasm and jokes obviously), no matter how minuscule.

The biggest take away I got this time around is that I have a habit of letting relationships from my past dictate and predict how relationships in my future will pan out. The mind, after all, is constantly looking for patterns to make sense of everything. I mentioned the app, The Pattern, earlier because the next day after the mentioned breakdown, I got a notification explaining that I was entering a new life cycle, where I need to let go and move forward from the past and the way I’ve interpreted how I’ve been treated.

The Pattern noted, “it’s time for you to be aware of what’s holding you back from evolving and to consider how relationship patterns have impacted your life up until this point.” I found it ironic and freaky because that was exactly what I had been doing the night before.  Though each insight on The Pattern is specific to the life cycles and patterns that are mentioned on the app (which is specific to the person) I feel the advice it gives has the potential to be beneficial for everyone.

The Pattern also said, “it [talking to the person from your past] can help let something go because you aren’t the same person you are when you knew them. These realizations can clear space for something new.” Using past relationships and situations to predict your future and understand your reality can actually be harmful just as much as we think it’s helpful in order to protect ourselves. It assumes the other person’s thoughts, actions, and intentions without factoring in their own perspective of things.  We are not the same people we were in the past. People who are current in your life are not the same as people who were in your past, even if there are similarities. 

Everyone has triggers and they may not be controllable. They’re residual affects of events from your past and reminders of old pain and memories. Some of the ways you have been treated can stick and affect who you are now and will be in future, especially if similar situations occur over and over again. Understanding and communicating these triggers and anxieties can ease the pain from them and can hopefully lessen the frequency of them.

“Time is going by and it will continue to do so with or without you. You can either adapt and accept the direction in which you’re being pushed or you can resist but you’re being asked to evolve by letting go of the past.” Holding onto the past, whether be experiences or people, will only hold you back. How can you move forward if you continue to live and dwell upon situations in your past? It’s okay to still be affected by the past. Some situations and relationships will take years and outside help to get over. Some may seem as though it is impossible to move past. Still, we can all try to “be conscious and make a choice of letting closure happen. Doing so will help you move forward to a new phase of life.”

This whole eight hour experience taught me that some people and situations you just have to let go of. Holding onto the past can also hold you back. You and I have to let go so we can grow and move forward with our lives. Sometimes closure is knowing you’ll never have answers to your questions or fully understand the situations or other people involved. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to admit that something from the past still hurts. It is okay if it takes a while to come to terms with it, especially if it hasn’t been dealt with or handled properly. Still, we can make a conscious effort to understand it all and try not to let it heavily impact our present and future.

The Importance of Balance

Balance is so fucking important. It is one of the top three lessons I learned in 2017. Literally and figuratively, if you can’t maintain balance then you will fall apart. Even now, I need a reminder of its importance. In these past couple of weeks, balance has been the hardest thing for me to maintain. I’ve been working an average of five hours at least four times a week (realistically more because of taking on other shifts), interning for four hours three times a week, trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, volunteering with the Crisis Text Line whenever I can, and getting an adequate amount of sleep all in a 12ish hour day. Some would say, “Well you decided to do all of this, can you really complain?” Well, yes, it was my choice to take on all of these things, but that doesn’t make it any less of my reality. I still have to handle the consequences of my decisions, which were different than what I anticipated. It is too late to back out.

The thing about balance is that sometimes you can’t really tell how much is too much when you begin piling responsibilities on your plate. Lately I’ve been struggling to find balance between rest, work, and play. I thought the way I set everything up was going to be fine. But one day of with only five hours of sleep turned into a week of not getting the rest that was needed to maintain the amount of work I was doing. One week turned into two, and it wasn’t until I had to force myself to stay awake behind the wheel, or felt the urge to break down in tears at any minor inconvenience or the thought of fulfilling my responsibilities that I knew I was close to toppling over if I didn’t readjust my routine.

My struggle with balance happened to revolve around work, rest and having fun, however balance is an important quality in practically every aspect of life. Balance is so innate in the universe that nature has its own balanced system that keeps the world running smoothly. Think about the ecosystem and its predator and prey system, even the way rain works. Think about the balance between life and death and how living organisms die so others can be born. Think about how it is encouraged to have a balanced meal to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients. And how its best to balance between the positives and the negatives of life and any given situation. Too much of any one thing can do lasting damage.

Balance is like a spectrum. Understanding when you’ve gone too far in one direction and when you’re holding yourself back is vital. Balance is also like carrying a stack of building blocks. Knowing how much is too much to pile on is key. Everyone’s definition of balance is different, but it maintains the same basic and essential ideology. The most important thing is to figure out what balance looks like to you. Without first figuring out how much you can take on, without quivering under all of the weight, you risk cracking under the pressure. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back to readjust your stack or moving another way along the spectrum. It’ll be worth it to prevent yourself from crumbling.

Food For Thought

Topic: Time

Time is an illusion. It’s a human notion constructed to make our messy lives a little bit more organized. Knowing what time it is can be helpful in some ways. For example, we are supposed to sleep during the late pms and early ams. With time it is easier to be on the same page when meeting up with others, when clocking in and out of work to collect a paycheck, and when tracking how long someone’s been alive. No wonder we live by it as if we haven’t molded it! Time is more than numbers on a clock, though. It’s an extensive span of moments, cycles, and seasons. The more I think about time in this sense, the more I wonder how time has affected our lives.

We need time because it helps us heal and grow. For example, when we break a bone, we keep it in a cast to give it time to heal. Getting over a situation or a person takes a while of distracting yourself with your responsibilities and joys, until one day you realize you haven’t thought about it in while. That comes with time and trust me, it’ll happen as long as you give yourself the space. Time will tell how strong your relationships, romantic or not, are. Nothing is created overnight. Forgiving someone who has wronged you means coming to terms with betrayal. Whether you think it is worth forgiveness or not comes with time. Learning who you are, what can you tolerate and what you believe in takes time. Anything that requires any sort of healing or growth comes with time; nothing changes overnight. Some things are a process. Some things you really do have to wait for.

Still, time harms us. It causes us to wait until we hit those major age marks, where we tell ourselves we can start dating, start driving, start college, start drinking, and rent a car. Then we wonder what it is that is supposed to come next. Some people feel so lost and unsatisfied that they enter midlife crises. It causes us to frequently think about what  we will do next, instead of giving ourselves the space to look around and be content with where we are. It makes us feel as if we are too far behind socially, financially, academically, and career-wise, making some feel as if it is too late for them. The funny things is we never seem to worry about if we are moving too fast.

Time makes us move with a sense of urgency. We’re worrying if we can get it all done by the time expect, even though we fathomed this deadline from thin air. We stress over getting enough job and life experience, telling ourselves we will take a break when we’re dead. We forget that not everything we do has to have a justifiable reason other than the fact that we simply enjoy doing so.

Time is in short supply. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who can say with 100% sincerity and no hesitation that they have enough time in the day, or even their lifetime, to do all the things they want to do. People even have bucket lists to serve as a reminder of all the things they just have to do before they die. This is connected to how we prioritize the things in life. Because if you were to die tomorrow, I guarantee you would reevaluate how you spent your time today. As we focus a lot of our time on achieving our personal, academic, and career goals, we neglect all the things we say or think we want to do. We tell ourselves we don’t have enough time, and that we will get to it once the free time comes. And surprise!…it rarely does. When it does, it is short lived. Look  at New Year resolutions. We create these at the end of the year as rules to live by for the next year and get sidetracked way before the sixth month mark comes. Why do we wait so long when deciding to better ourselves or try out a new hobby just to abandon them three months later?

I say it’s because more often than we think we use time as an excuse. We use it to avoid beginning or doing things we subconsciously are either too scared to do, don’t want to do or don’t know how to start. We prolong our distress by telling ourselves ‘time will tell’, or, ‘it’ll come with time’ as if time can really fix our problems. One example of this is when we give second chances to those who have wronged us or say we’ll give them a little extra time to see if anything has changed. It makes me wonder how many distresses in our lives could have been avoided or shortened by taking action instead of waiting for the “right” moment or seeing how things will turn out. But didn’t you just say time will tell? Well yes, in some situations, time will tell, but in others time won’t make a difference. Let’s say you need to have a serious conversation but have been putting it off. The conversation won’t change whether you have it today or tomorrow, it will still be had either way. Whether I work on this assignment today or tomorrow won’t change the fact it still has to be done. Not doing it just keeps it on the to do list, and keeps you anxious and stressed.

Also, consider time has already told you and you’re choosing to ignore all the signs. The outcome and the answers you are so desperately looking for are there in front of you but you’re too busy wearing your rose colored glasses to see those red flags waving. This leads me to actively take a step back from situations I’m skeptical about to look at the bigger picture. Things look different from up close; things look different with rose colored glasses. Our stubbornness, determination, fear, and hope prolongs circumstances that we don’t want to be in anymore, that we ultimately want to change. It makes us wait to go to the gym, or cut our hair, end or start a relationship, find a new job, read that book, or start to volunteer when there truly is no point in waiting or putting it off.

And think about what could be created by taking action instead of waiting! Time gives opportunity. “Good things come to those who wait,” promotes the virtue of patience. Though many things require patience, if you think about it this phrase taken out of the appropriate context really just keeps you where you are. Entrepreneurs and public speakers will tell you the same thing; they have told me. You can’t lose or gain weight without putting in work. You can’t learn to play piano or learn to speak Spanish without lessons. You can’t grow or change by waiting for your goals to happen to you—none of those wishes will just magically appear one day. You have to put in the planning, the effort, and the self-reflection. Few things come to you without you seeking them out first. Don’t let fear hold you back.

People fail to recognize that time is loosely another word for experience. The longer we live, the more we experience. Experiences bring lessons that can help us learn about others, ourselves, and the world. In some contexts, when people say “time will tell,” and,
“you’ll know with time,” it really means you need more experience to fully grasp the concept.  And some experiences require work and dedication. Some you have to actively seek out in order to learn. Some you’ve already experienced but choose not to learn from. Waiting with time doesn’t have to literally mean waiting around in hopes something good will comes.

You see, time can be wasted. Procrastination (though entirely understandable) is just wasted time. We all know why we procrastinate assignments. They’re irritating and a lot of work and research that none of us want to think about. Assignments aren’t the only thing we procrastinate though. Overdue conversations, hobbies, exercising and bettering ones self are things we neglect, saying it’ll come with time, once you have time. Now if it’s something you don’t need or want to do, stop trying to convince yourself you want to. That’s an unneeded layer of stress and anxiety you put on yourself. If it’s something you really want to do but don’t think you have time for, write it down and come back to it when you have time. However, that thing people say about “making time for the things you really want,” is true. If it’s something that really interests you, you’ll make time for it even if it’s just once a year. I understand that life and your goals take up a lot of your day, but just think of the possibility that when you say you don’t have time you are really making an excuse. There’s nothing wrong with making excuses for unwanted experiences, as long as you own up to it. Again, if it’s something that would be cool to know or experience but you don’t actually want to do, stop pressuring yourself to do it. If it’s something you think you should do due to others expectations, stop pressuring yourself to do it. We’re are hard on ourselves as it is. No one needs that unnecessary added pressure.

When it comes to being unsure of how to start something you say you don’t have time for, you only need to know the first step or two, maybe even just have a rough idea. This is one of those circumstances where time will tell , but time will only  lead you to an answer once you actually start the process. It’s like driving a car. The car won’t move until you put the key in the ignition and step on the gas. Until you put things into motion, you will be sitting there until you take some sort of action. Once you do, you start moving and the longer you keep your foot on the pedal, the more distance you travel. The more you drive the closer you get to your destination and the farther you get from where you were.

Time is valuable. The honest truth is that we don’t know how much time we have. We don’t know how much time those we love have. That’s why it’s important to say what you need to say, and do what you need to do before its too late. It’s important to remind those we love how we feel. It’s of the utmost important to make time for ourselves. Ensure our contentment. Do what we want to do and not do what we don’t. Don’t allow anyone to waste your time, including yourself. Its our biggest commodity.
It’s crazy how something seemingly so simple is so complex.On the one hand we need time; we would be so lost without it. But on the other we let something that doesn’t actually exist outside of human minds make our own lives complicated.  Time does and means so many different things to different people. What matters is that it aids you instead of hinders you. That you feel like you’re using your time the way you want, and learning from the experiences.

See, I believe time’s an illusion, a human notion constructed to make our messy lives a little bit more organized. Time harms and accelerates us. Every once and a while time gives us answers, but more often than not, it doesn’t give you what you want to see or hear. We always use time as an excuse, whether valid or not. We waste our own time and we waste others. It holds us back and makes us anxious and fearful, though we don’t even know it. Yet, it’s probably the most valuable thing we have. Do what you will with it, but respect how fleeting it is.