Letting Go and Having Hope

Letting go is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Most of us have a bit of trouble letting go but to some of us, letting go is overwhelmingly hard.

Why? What causes it to be so hard that it becomes, effectively, self-harm?

When too many things are kept – multiples of things, broken things, bits of things, things that don’t fit in the house or on the body, ‘re-usable things’ – it is destructive rather than useful.

Clinging on to the past so much that there is little room for thoughts of the future, or the now, can be detrimental too. Reliving our experiences more frequently than we live new ones is shackling, prevents freedom and the ability to move forward.

Relationships from the past can leave us wallowing in sentimentality, pity, regret, grief, or delusion.

When we have so much difficulty letting go of things, it is likely there has been some deprivation and trauma, like a catastrophe, or an upbringing influenced by restriction or poverty, or a lifetime of hardship. But I suspect there is more to it.

Hanging on to things can be rationalised. There can be reasons like a dislike of waste, a perceived time in the future available for restoration or creative work, the possibility of needing that thing or document from twenty years ago. Perhaps having it will protect us from harm.

So, is clinging to things a hope for a better future, or is it a fear of a worse one? Looking forward with thoughts of possibility or with thoughts of danger – or a mingling of both?

Is clinging to the past also a dichotomy? Family connection, tradition, respect for ancestors, sentimentality associated with raising children or growing up with grandparents, add value and humanity to our lives. But remembering the past too much can be debilitating. If it prevents us from participating in the now and a progressive future, then it takes away from our current lives.

Wallowing in the past can lead us to floundering in the now, in a state of mundane survival and lack of joy, ‘Groundhog Day.’

So, if non-letting go can lead to a lack of joy, can it also lead to loneliness and eventually, lack of hope? I fear it can.

All of us need hope. A lot or a little, life would be unbearable without it.

Love gives us hope. Love from others, love for others, but mostly love for ourselves. We are powerless if we don’t like ourselves. Liking ourselves comes from within, not without. Surely the first step is letting go of whatever it is that has made us lose our natural affinity with ourselves.

It may be all that is needed is someone to direct us away from clinging on to the wrong things – the junk stored like treasure, the repetitive behaviour and continuous replay of experiences – and lead us to a new path, show us they care, love us, encourage us to take a chance and see a future of possibility.

It may take someone to say, You are fine, you are enough. But that needs to be believed. And the belief can only come from ourselves. If non-letting go is stopping us from having joy, is causing our life to falter, is taking away our hope, then it is a violation; it is self-harm and needs to go!

To have hope is to like ourselves and want to live; it is to have faith that we are enough, that we can look after ourselves, that we are a human with as much worth as another. Letting go and having hope are a team that can allow us to go forward in the world and do whatever it is that gives us joy. Hope is a state of mind and where it takes us, is up to us.

Let in hope, always.


An Appeal from Hope

Please don’t forget me

When you need me the most

When you’re down on the ground

And pale as a ghost


Please don’t forget me

When I come to call

In the shape of your loved ones

Who can cushion the fall


Please don’t forget me

When my wish for you

Is to soar like a kestrel

With a hill and sea view


Be not like the bowerbird

Piling high mankind’s waste

There is hope for a future

With a more natural taste


Let it go, give it up, girl

Be rid and be free

Give up comfort for courage

And find where you’ll be


I know you’re not greedy

You only hate waste

You’ve got the idea

To transform in no haste


But this is the story

You’re in reverse gear

You’ve forgotten that hope is

To create with no fear


Please don’t forget me

I am hope and I’m here

Let your life be a river

Take a chance and I’ll steer


If you let it, the river

Will carve out the stone

That has built up around you

And keeps you alone


Once the layers are shed

And your core is released

The truth that is you

Will be much more at peace


So please don’t forget me

Without hope, all is lost

I’m always here waiting

No matter the cost


Make me your partner

Wherever you go

Let’s go on a journey

See what you can sow


I am hope and I’m with you

At all times of day

Go soar like the kestrel

And let me please stay

Written by Carla Simmons

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I am a writer in my fifties. I write about relationships, travel, women's issues, the natural environment, human nature and outdoor activities. Australia is my home and I feel blessed to be here. I am writing a novel that is set in Australia, India and Ireland.

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