Your journey to inner fulfillment

When Letting Go Feels Impossible

Oftentimes the hardest thing to let go of is our resistance to letting go.


On my journey, I've gotten into the habit of letting go of the small things - the driver going to slow, the weather being too hot, or the restaurant service being subpar. Then there are the times when I feel negative energy sweep through me, and I simply don't want to let it go. I have so much resistance to accepting the feeling, making it extremely difficult to break through to a higher place.


Why is this?


Why is it so difficult to let go sometimes? Why is it easier to let go of some things, but damn near impossible to let go of others? What is the benefit of holding on? Why do we habitually hang onto the most uncomfortable thoughts and feelings?


What I've learned is that it's not so much about letting go, but rather letting discomfort get closer before it can pass by.



Imagine you're standing where you are, and there's a fireball in the distance. It's extremely hot, and it's moving toward you very quickly. You're terrified. You don't want to get burnt, so you do everything you can to push it back and make sure it doesn't get too close. You put up walls, you throw water at it, you try to blow air. The problem is, there are many fireballs coming at you, and you're constantly exerting your energy to keep them away.

What you don't realize is, the fireballs don't actually kill you, because they don't touch you. They may get close, but never close enough to cause damage. Their nature is to pass right by you, if you let them. They may get hotter as they get closer, but they won't kill you. You think your survival depends on keeping them away, but it doesn't.


In reality, if you learned to experience the momentary discomfort of the heat as they got close, eventually they'd pass by and be gone forever. Over time, there would be fewer and fewer fireballs, and you'd feel more and more freedom.



This is exactly what we do with anger, sadness, depression, or any feeling we don't want to experience. We push it away and make a big story around it, instead of letting it pass through and momentarily being uncomfortable until it's gone forever.


It's not that we like to feel the pain. It's that the pain is trying to escape, and as it gets closer and closer to us, it hurts more and more, so naturally we push it away like the fireball. We're scared of experiencing the pain, so our natural response is to push it away.


This pushing away of pain is what we mean by "hanging on," and it's the opposite of letting go.


Letting go is really about letting any disturbance pass through you until it's out of you. You could think of letting go as "letting it pass by" or just "letting it be." The uncomfortable energy naturally wants to flow through you. It's trying to escape, only it's so painful that we immediately push it away, back down where it builds up.


Your fireballs don't need your help to pass by. They just need you to get out of their way.


Live with substance!

Gabe Orlowitz

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2020 • Substance Over Style • gabe@substanceoverstyleblog.com