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Holding on loosely benefits everyone

About Leanne | crestingthehill

Hi I'm Leanne, medical receptionist by day and blogger by night. I blog at Cresting the Hill - where I write about how much I’m enjoying Midlife and the empty nest. To quote Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”

Are you drowning others because you feel insecure and left behind? Here's what to do.


Let's learn to hold on loosely.

Let's learn to hold on loosely

We read so much about the benefits of not holding on to things, about opening up and letting them go. But sometimes I wonder if there isn't somewhere in the middle, somewhere that we don't clutch too tightly, yet also don't give up completely and give it all away.

Wouldn't it be nice to find that balance? To be able to have people and things in our life that we are in touch with, but not owned by? To be able to hold things that are precious, but not possess them or try to control them? To be able to appreciate connection without having to own everything?


We can hold on too tightly to our spouse, our adult children and our friends. But the more we grab on, the more the other person fights to be free. We fight the loss of relationship by striving to grab it and clutch it to us, but all that does is tie the other person to us with commitments and obligations that aren't necessarily their choice.

Read more from Leanne LeCras: The midlife marriage fairytale

If someone doesn't naturally want to be in your life, you can't force the issue. You can't demand or insist they meet you on your terms. Expecting too much from another person can be the death knell of a relationship. Nobody wants to be forced into interactions that are more than they can handle.


When we get lonely or we feel insecure, when we feel left out or left behind, when we feel superfluous, we tend to tighten our grip. We feel like we need to grab on and not let go because we're drowning. The trouble is (as all lifesavers know) when we grab on too tightly, we will also drown the person we're clinging to.

What do we do when we feel that urge to hold on tight? The answer we're given is to let go -- to open our hands and let the person or situation go free. We're supposed to relinquish any ownership, wish them well and let them move on.


The trouble with letting go is that it feels like the all-or-nothing approach. It feels so final to turn our backs on someone, or to completely give up. It quite often seems like the only choice -- especially when our adult children are stretching their wings and pushing us aside. They don't want us holding them back, all they seem to want is their freedom with no commitments or obligations. But that is so tough when you're the parent, isn't it?

What if there was something in between? What if we could loosen our death grip on our kids, our partners and our friends? What if we could loosen our hold, but not let go completely? What if we maintained connection, but didn't suffocate others in the process?


Maybe it's not about letting go completely, but of holding on more loosely. Holding on tightly is about insecurity and an inability to see ourselves autonomously. When we take the risk of opening up our grip and trusting ourselves to be strong and independent, it frees the other person to be able to maintain contact without the risk of being dragged under.

We need to find out who we are in our own right and share that with those who want to be part of it. It's not about forcing a relationship with those who don't want it -- let them go and wish them well.

It's about finding a balance in our relationships with those who are close to us. Having friendships that are healthy and not used to prop ourselves up. Having a marriage that is about two people bringing out the best in each other -- not becoming co-dependent, needy and draining. It's about letting our kids go, but maintaining a small place in their new world.


Are you holding on too tightly? Are you drowning others because you feel insecure and left behind?

Or are you releasing your grip and keeping a healthy balance in your relationships? It's a tricky balance to find sometimes, but worth it in the end.

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