I know I’m on the wrong road when I begin to forecast outcomes for the things I really desire. I roll them around in my mind like cotton candy in a drum, thinking, “And then this will happen, and then this!” until I have it all planned out and now I just have to wait for it to unfold in reality.
But then it doesn’t go my way. And I’m disappointed, but I was never guaranteed any of those magical outcomes. I simply talked myself into them and then I have to deal with the extreme disappointment I feel.
Holding loosely is a much healthier alternative. I wish it came more naturally to me, but for those of us who were raised in less-than-stellar homes, fantasy thinking is one of our go-to strategies for survival.
I know that taking things as they come is a better operating mode. It requires me to live in each moment I’m in. The recovery movement has taught me that expectations are pre-meditated resentments and with my whole heart I know this to be true.
When I’m upset over a few situations I realize again that I’m failing when it comes to holding loosely. I become hurt and confused by the choices other people make and the grief in my chest reminds me that I’ve been clinging to my wishes with a death grip instead of playing it as it comes with open hands.
So I go back to the beginning. First things first. How important is it? Live and let live. Other people are not under my control. I can’t see everything that’s coming. This life is full of twists and turns. It’s healthier to react to what actually happens instead of forecasting a desired outcome that’s nothing more than fantasy.
No matter what our past habits have been, we can change. All we have to do is decide to do better from this point forward, and be gentle with ourselves when we fall back into our old patterns.
For me, I’m going to write HOLD LOOSELY on a piece of paper and put it up where I can see it every day. Hopefully this will help me to recall that both wonderful and terrible surprises happen constantly. It’s better not to be too attached to any one outcome or decision because it will likely shift and change on me.
If we stay present, open to a variety of possibilities instead of narrowly holding onto a set course of action, we give ourselves options. My words for 2017 are open, accepting, anchored. Holding loosely fits into all of these, particularly if the anchor is my true identity and not a specific circumstance.
I’d love to hear a story of how holding loosely has helped you. Any tips for me on how to practice this skill on a regular basis?