You know the mantra: get rid of what you don’t need to make space for what you do. In doing some self work and trying to sort out what I want to prioritize this year, I put together a list of things I need to let go of. Not stuff. I find material possessions far easier to deal with. These are more conceptual and emotional things, which makes them a little more complicated.
3 Things I Need to Let Go of
The bitter truth about 2018 is that it was the year I just stopped giving a damn about a lot of things. It sounds snarky and petulant, but it was healthy. At first it felt like something inside of me broke, but then I realized that I felt lighter. Selective apathy as defense mechanism, so to speak. To put this post together, I brainstormed a list of things that still bother me. Most of them are things I’m already trying to let go of, but I’m not quite there yet.
Trying to Convince People
Vaccines, climate change, the Flat Earth, birth certificates, false flag operations, the Clintons, the Obamas, George Soros, the Illuminati, the Deep State, gun control, the New England Patriots, cultural Marxism, that chemical that’s in both bread and yoga mats, Stella Liebeck, MS-13, MK-Ultra, Xenu, people who smoke cigarettes… no. Just no. There are facts and settled science, and then there are sincerely-held beliefs and conspiracy theories.
It’s not my job to address the complete and utter collapse of critical thinking in modern American society. The last thing a true believer will be swayed by is truth. The impulse to change the world by changing one mind at a time is a noble and romantic one, but it’s ultimately futile. They won’t change, because they don’t care about objective reality. There are better uses of my time. See also: Hey, Berin’s not on social media anymore!
When there are actions to take, I will take them. Voting. Making greener choices. Not giving a terrible person a larger person by debating them, thereby validating their views as something with enough merit to debate. Supporting thinkers and doers and makers that aren’t garbage people. Shift the conversation toward the positive, and ignore the willfully ignorant.
There’s plenty to be angry about these days. Anger doesn’t hurt the people committing the gross injustices and incomprehensible atrocities, though. It hurts me. The damage done is to my blood pressure, my mental health, and my productivity. If there’s an action that I can take that will generate meaningful results, I will take it. Otherwise, I have to let it go.
I know that this seems to parallel my choice to let go of correcting people. This is more about privately fuming. It means accepting that there are things that I cannot change. I need to let go of bitterness and resentment and focus on what is within my sphere of influence. Be the change and all of that, by concentrating on the things that I realistically can impact.
A valuable realization I made last year is that my anger stems from empathy. The only people I want to pound inside (Note: I do not hit people. I want to, but I don’t.) out are bullies. When I feel like putting my fist through a wall, it’s because I’m frustrated that I can solve some problem or right some injustice (Note: I do not hit inanimate objects, either. I want to, but I don’t). There’s a lot to parse about toxic masculinity and men not being allowed to express any emotions other than anger. I want to let go of the anger and let the actual empathy be a guiding influence.
Fear and Worry
Let me be absolutely clear that this is separate from my anxiety. That’s not to say that the two don’t dance together. My GAD and panic attacks seem to have a biological basis rather than a psychological one. It’s still a mental health issue in the end. I don’t want anyone to have the impression that anxiety is something you can just “get over”.
My worry, on the other hand, stems from trust issues. As a child my fate was placed into the hands of adults who… should not have had that responsibility. We’ll leave it there. As an adult my life has been lived based on the whims of corporate employers, rapacious bankers, and diffident civil servants. Someone who doesn’t even know me had the power to completely upend my life. That’s not an unreasonable or unfounded thing to be afraid of.
Once again, I need to let go of what I can’t control and center on what I can. Most of the time that means being prepared for several contingencies. It means not knowingly putting myself into situations where others have too much control over me, or where I have no influence over the outcome. Mostly, it means not worrying about whether something might become a problem until it becomes a problem. Set things up for success in the long term, but remain grounded in the moment.
What I Can Do With This
Letting go of these things doesn’t comprise a set of goals until itself. I think that what this does is frame the approach I take with my other plans. The best way to let go, as I mentioned above, is to focus on the opposite qualities. Do the things that are within my control. Stay away from toxic people and triggering events. Create the sort of world that I want to live in, and the conditions that I want to work in. Letting go of one thing, ultimately, is as simple as embracing something else.