One of the fourth graders at my daughter’s school was upset during recess because another had accused her of cheating. That’s when Sweet P, the peacemaker, got involved.
But I didn’t get it.
Were you there when they argued? I asked. No.
Were these close friends? No.
Did they ask for help? No.
So why were your involved again?
There are plenty of times when you should step up and help out, but, as we have told Sweet P on numerous occasions, there are plenty of times when you should let go and mind your own business.
That can be a tough thing to do, especially when letting go means letting the one you love find her own way.
I get a lot of chances to practice this particular thing and I am not all that good at it. I alternatively want to help out, manage, control, fix, but when I do that, when we step in and take over from someone else, we all lose.
Loving and Letting Go
There is a moment when you’ve given the advice and the support and the love, when you’ve done all that you can do, that you must step back and say “Enough.” This is the moment when you step back and gently remind yourself that it is no longer your business.
You can feel good, that you were there to offer support, and equally as good that you let up and let go, that you moved on, because the moving on is super important too.
It’s in that space, the space of loving and letting go, that you both get to learn what you are capable of.
We get opportunities to practice this letting go in little and big ways, just about every day. Think about how we love people struggling with addiction, and partner with friends and lovers who have their own ideas and values sometimes very different from our own. We practice in how we strive toward our goals, and in how we parent our children.
It’s in the little ways we love each other.
Lessons in Letting Go
Sweet P didn’t want to do her homework. She wanted to put it off until morning. Sweet P barely gets her socks on in the morning let alone finishing up three pages of math.
And I felt stress for her and a little disbelief that she would so quietly and peacefully deviate from the Homework Doing Plan. And then I felt a little admiration that she was brave enough to deviate at all.
I offered some gentle encouragement and then something a little more assertive. None of that changed her mind, not at all. So, I did what I could do. I let it go.
Because, FINALLY, I figured out, it wasn’t EVEN MY homework. I don’t have to answer for her homework. Not my DEAL.
Whew. That made life a lot easier. No stress for me. And guess what? When she figured out it wasn’t my deal, she somehow got it done, without even my knowing. And she turned it in on time. She didn’t tell me. But I saw the handout returned in the homework folder with the teacher’s star on top.
And in this little moment, I learned yet again, that we are all capable of doing hard things, things we don’t want to do. We just need someone to let us go so we can do them. The letting go allows us to move forward and through.
It allows us to live fully, to have our own experience. To learn our own strength. To know what we are capable of. And those are good lessons to learn.
Art by Erin Cairney White.