Every Wednesday night I go to a men’s group. And in this men’s group, we have certain protocols and procedures that we follow. This helps keep us in order, plus it allows us to know fully what we can expect from week to week as they rarely ever change. Until last week, that is.
At our regularly scheduled meeting, I learned that we were going to be merging with another group for the summer. Admittedly, I started to sweat a little bit because I feared the changes that we would go through as we worked to incorporate two different groups into one. In an effort to ease my mind, I was told that it wouldn’t be that difficult as we both had the same protocols.
This made me a little more relaxed, but it was a comfort that was rather short-lived. As it turns out, our groups were more different than we realized, meaning that we both had to conform and change a bit if this was going to work. I was traumatized.
Okay, maybe traumatized is being a little too dramatic, but I was definitely negatively impacted by the idea that my group (my orderly, predictable group) was now entering the world of the unknown. I could feel myself shutting down, like a little boy who had just been told that his favorite candy store was closed. I was kicking and screaming on the inside, yelling “I WANT TO GO HOME!”
Fortunately, I did have the mentality and strength necessary to put that little boy in his place by reminding him that this really wasn’t a big deal. No one was dying of some dreaded disease and no one had lost every penny they had saved for 50 years for a comfy retirement that would no longer occur. This was simply getting used to a different protocol for a few months, which was not life threatening or life affecting by any stretch of the imagination.
It made me wonder why I was holding on to the issue so tight. What was I so afraid of losing by just letting go?
The problem with holding on to something too tightly is that you risk hurting it. In this case, I was hurting myself. Essentially, I was strangling the life right out of my own body and the worst part is that it was over an issue that truly didn’t matter.
It wasn’t like I was acting to protect a family member from grave danger or stepping in to save a stranger from undue harm. I was fighting a change so miniscule that it’s almost embarrassing. But I was doing it with every ounce of my being, which made it worse yet.
When I decided to let go and allow things to run their course, I essentially removed my hands from my own neck and allowed myself to breathe again. I have given myself the permission to not only live, but live happily. Even if it means that my group is changed, I will survive.
So too will you, once you decide to let go of things that really don’t matter and allow yourself to breathe. Go ahead. It’s okay. Just let go.