The Gift of Letting Go

Focus on my needs? But, isn’t that selfish?
No, it’s detaching.

Detachment isn’t abandoning, it is a form of letting go. It can be letting go of the old roles or expectations; it can be letting go of outcomes -both desired or feared.

It can be scary sometimes to let go of a loved one, especially if we fear for their safety or consequences.

Social consciousness tells us that to love someone is to help them, to do things for them, and by all means, don’t let them feel discomfort.

However, intervening in our loved ones’ lives isn’t always helpful. Doing for others can be helpful sometimes, but it can also rob them of the dignity to make mistakes and the opportunity to learn from those mistakes.

It can also rob them of the joyful experience of success.

A while ago my mom was considering selling her home and downsizing to a condo. She was concerned about property taxes. Would they increase with the purchase of a condo even though the condo costs less? My mom is currently under Prop 13 and didn’t know if that proposition could carry over to her new home purchase.

She called me in fear.

Not knowing the answer myself, I got online and pulled up the number of the department of treasury for her to call. I know she would have preferred me to call for her. She was scared. She didn’t know who to talk with, what questions to ask. But I was busy with work. I didn’t have the time right then. As an entrepreneur and mother my time is structured and tight.

So battling the fears in my head telling me I was a bad daughter and selfish, I gave her the phone number and hung up.

My mom called me later that day to report her findings. She had called the number, asked all of the pertinent questions, and found out her options. I noticed a tone of pride and excitement in her voice.

In that moment I realized that by not helping my mom, I gave her the dignity to walk through her fear and take action on her own behalf.

My mom had been feeling down on herself for quite sometime. After 4 years of chemotherapy she feels not quite herself, often referring to herself as stupid.

By not doing this for her, she had the opportunity to prove to herself that she is still quite smart, capable and self-supporting.

I can’t think of a better gift!