HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO
Holding on loosely benefits everyone
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.
HOLDING ON TOO TIGHTLY
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
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.
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?
HOLDING ON LOOSELY
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.
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.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
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.