As the last grain of sand dropped from the hourglass and fireworks exploded into the sky, the new year brings the hope of a new beginning. People with newly-cut hair and dressed in fresh clothes feasted on an abundant array of food. Homes are ablaze with excitement for the unknown future that the new year may bring.
Despite the eagerness to start anew, some things stick like grease on a pan. There are so many old habits, disappointments, resentments, toxicity, and other negative feelings that we aren’t free of yet. We cling to people who already bade us goodbye. We hold on to such much baggage that our hope for a fresh start dwindles until we find ourselves back to our old habits and feelings in the middle of the year—and then we wait for another new year to start again.
We have to let go of our emotional baggage to start off the year with a clean slate. As British writer CS Lewis said, “Letting go of a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” The question, however, is how?
The recipe for letting go has been prepared for you. Just ready the ingredients, follow the instructions, and indulge in the satisfying results.
1 pound of Acceptance, cut into strips
1 bunch of Understanding, trimmed and sliced into ½ lengths
1 can of Self-worth
1 cup of all-purpose Forgiveness
Time, to taste
Serving size: Unlimited
Heat the combined Acceptance and Understanding in a saucepan.
One misconception in letting go is that we try to spit things out. The opposite is actually much more effective. Let everything in and don’t spit it out. Accept the things we can do nothing about and just let it be. We cannot change situations that have already happened, but we can control our reaction and emotions towards it. There is no point in running away, since it will catch up on us. Instead, acknowledge what you need to let go of, run towards it, and brace for the pain. Yes, it will hurt once we learn to accept and face everything; but trust me, it is a much-needed step.
This is the point where Understanding needs to be mixed in. Understanding the reality of the situation and deciphering what is true and what is made up in our minds will serve as the antidote to the pain we feel in facing the ugly truth.
Add one (1) can of Self-worth in the saucepan and stir occasionally.
Each person has an inherent worth; we just need to look inside and see their value. Appreciate your own thoughts, values, needs, and feelings. Avoid being too critical of yourselves and stop comparing yourself to others. Haven’t been kind enough to yourself? Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend—frank, but with compassion. Knowing yourself means knowing what you truly deserve. And we don’t deserve negativity, making it easier to let go.
Mix one (1) cup of all-purpose Forgiveness to the saucepan and let simmer.
Forgiving seems difficult, especially when it hurts so much. It’s alright. We don’t have to forgive right away, but we will get there. Eventually, we would choose to forgive them. It doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with what they did; it just means we don’t agree, but we choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice. It isn’t forced; it is given freely and bravely. However, we also need to forgive ourselves for being weak, for forgetting ourselves, for hurting, for almost giving up.
As American martial arts business coach Tom Callos said, “It’s not the bite of the snake that kills you, it’s the poison left behind.” We’ve been hurt, yes, like the snake that bit us. But holding on to that grudge and refusing to forgive is like leaving the poison behind. We have all heard of the saying “To forgive is to forget.” But forgiving is to forget and not to forget, for it is in forgiving that we forget the mistake; but we will always remember the lesson it brought us.
Wait for Time until cooked. Serve and enjoy!
Unlike other recipes that tell you how many minutes it will take for the dish to be cooked, this one doesn’t. It requires the same ingredient though, i.e., Time. But there is no definite measurement. It might take days, months, or even more than a year to complete the letting go process. We cannot rush, for the outcome may be undercooked. We cannot take too long, for it might be too late.
Time differs for each of us. Until then, we can follow and add other ingredients to the recipe, and then we wait for the perfect Time until we have fully let go.
Ms. Romarate is a senior official of the Tax Advisory & Compliance of P&A Grant Thornton in Cebu. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firns in the Philippines with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members in its offices in Makati, Cavitem Cebu and Davao. For comments on this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or PAGrantThornton.email@example.com.
As published in Mindanao Times, dated 7 January 2019