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Letting Things Go Means Two Things

by Gip Plaster on November 22nd, 2011

You may have realized this already, but the phrase “letting things go” means two things. That’s interesting to me, and I have a few things to say about that phrase.

Since it’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and I hope many of you have exciting plans that will take you away from your computers soon, I’ll be brief.

Stop Avoiding

Sometimes, letting things go means letting them go without the attention they deserve. This almost never works.

When something like a light switch is broken (as one of mine was last week), letting it go doesn’t solve anything. You have to either solve the problem or place it in the hands of someone who can.

Those piles of clutter and boxes of stuff around your home represent things that have been let go too long. Giving them the attention they deserve means sorting, tossing and moving on with your life.

Start Shedding

Sometimes, letting things go means letting go of them.

Whether those things are tangible items like the boxes and piles mentioned above or intangible but very real things like biases and emotions, letting go of that which weighs you down is the only way you can really get on with your life.

You may also need to let go of a job that takes too much time or a person in your life that drags rather than lifts.

Your Choice

People who successfully live simple, deliberate lives confront those things that need attention and let go of the things that don’t deserve attention anymore.

Rather than worrying about who sits next to whom at the dinner table this holiday season, maybe it’s a good idea to leave other people’s avoiding-and-shedding problems in their hands. I suggest focusing instead on the things in your life that have been left undone and left to sit unused.

This could just be another vague, sappy, silly holiday post that takes a few moments of your time away from things that really matter to you. Or this could be the post that sets the tone for a worry-free holiday season and a worry-free life to follow.

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13 Comments
  1. Jessica | mnmize permalink

    Great post! I definitely have a couple things that I have been avoiding and holding onto currently in my life… need to solve them and get them out of my mind! Thanks for the reminder!
    Jessica | mnmize recently posted downsizing to a smaller place

    • You’re welcome. I hope you can solve your situations quickly and easily. Even when they’re hard to solve, they’re usually a bit easier than you think they’ll be.
      Gip

  2. Megyn @Minimalist Mommi permalink

    One thing I’m having a HUGE difficulty letting go of is guilt. Just can’t seem to shake it when it feels justified! Great post!
    Megyn @Minimalist Mommi recently posted Offing Yourself

    • I don’t think guilt is ever justified. Acceptance of the mistakes you have made is a good thing, but guilt about doing something or not doing something weakens you and makes you less useful later. When you let it go, you can get on with being whatever you’re supposed to be.
      Gip

      • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi permalink

        I’ve thought a lot about your reply and have found that I actually appreciate my justified guilt, but am trying to let go of my unjustified guilt. I’d love your thoughts on this: http://minimalistmommi.blogspot.com/2011/11/grateful-for-guilt.html
        Megyn @Minimalist Mommi recently posted Grateful for Guilt

        • Momentary guilt may be justified, but I’m not sure really. The Disqus comments on your blog weren’t working when I visited (Disqus almost never works right), so I couldn’t leave a comment there.

          I’d rather see people release themselves from any certain outcome, then guilt is no longer an issue.

          Gip

  3. I like the concept of “letting go” having a double meaning, and procrastination, which is something I’m too often guilty of, being the rarely-used sense of the word, at least among minimalist writers.

    Thanks for the reminder to not let things go in the effort to let go of things.
    Mike | Homeless On Wheels recently posted Exploring RV Living – That’s Entertainment!

    • You’re welcome. I feel like I’ve let some things go over the past couple of months, and one of them is letting go. I’ve been less diligent about get ridding of things, and that needs to change.
      Gip

  4. Robert Wall permalink

    It would seem that our problem is that we’ve been letting “letting things go” go. 🙂

    We’re contemplating a move in a few months, and that’s going to mean a final pre-move purge. I refuse to move things this time without at least going through them once!
    Robert Wall recently posted Black Friday

    • That’s exactly right, Robert. I’m letting go of some things this evening, and it feels great to finally get rid of some more stuff!
      Gip

  5. This has been a year of letting go for me… and the more I do it the easier it’s getting. The biggest eureka moment I’ve had is to stop ‘fixing’ things and offering advice. I didn’t realise what a pain I had been over the years sorting everything out.
    Jo@simplybeingmum recently posted Simple Christmas Traditions / Operation Christmas Child, Puds and Letters to Santa

    • I’ve probably been a pain myself. I try to just sit back and let everyone else’s problems pass around me as entertainment these days. It works about 70 percent of the time. When others are mad at me for interfering, however, they’re the ones with a problem then too. I can’t MAKE others mad, I can only cause them to make themselves mad. That’s a very freeing thought.

      Gip

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