I’m sure that we’ve all seen films where someone is stalked or hounded everywhere that they go. I’ve just watched Wuthering Heights and the relationship that Heathcliffe has with Catherine is suffocating. It is not true love, because true love can let go. Catherine, for her part, cannot give up her obsession with Heathcliffe even though it destroys everything else in her life and makes life pretty unbearable for her. Yet neither can she give up her marriage to Edgar and all that it entails.
It made me think about how often we hold on to people and things, hoping to keep them forever. For some reason we think that we should be able to design life just a we want it, but life is full of surprises, both good and bad and coping with them as they arise is a part of being alive. Happiness is more easily achieved when we live in the present; without longing for something more.
Relationships where people hold each other too tightly bind the other person to them, causing frustration and suffering, and prevent growth in each person involved. Love lets others go and allows them to become all that they can be – indeed it encourages it.
Once a person realises that they don’t need someone else to complete them, then they are more likely to be able to live happily in a relationship. A woman or man who is desperate for a partner is too suffocating and turns others away by their desperation. Other people want to be loved, not possessed.
The same principle applies to our children, if we to keep their hearts, we have to give them the freedom to be who they really are and not try to control all that they do and all that they are.
It is sometimes other things that we hold on to. Deepak Chopra is quoted on scottwesterman.com said,
Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it and it will be yours forever.
Our society tells us that we should be able to get anything that we want but sometimes what we want isn’t good for us. Sometimes we might push at work in one direction, being constantly passed over and disappointed, but when we let go and seek to move in another direction, we might be successful. Our desperate desire for something unattainable stops us from achieving other things.
After the hospital I worked in was closed, I applied for jobs in the community because they were closest to the part of my job that I had enjoyed the most. I didn’t get the jobs – and indeed, they weren’t entirely what I had wanted, but I never thought of looking outside of nursing. The job that I do now, as a support worker for a charity, is ideal for me and I love it. I gave up nursing and eventually found something better.
As Joseph Campbell said,
We must be willing to let go of the life that we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.