Everything you own has a carrying cost. Whether it’s a physical asset, like a car or a house, a material good like clothes and books, or intangibles like your emotional states and physical conditions. You incur a cost to carry or own them.
A quick side note: if you’re thinking people don’t own physical conditions, I invite you to listen closely next time someone you know (maybe even you) discusses a physical condition. Listen for how they claim ownership of it: my sciatica, my lower back problem, my anxiety. These are claims of ownership.
The Costs of Holding On
Back to the carrying costs. The cost may be an explicit financial cost, as with a house or a car. It’s not always so direct. The more stuff you have, the more space you need to store the stuff. Space costs money.
But the costs aren’t always financial. Even when financial costs are involved, the bigger costs are typically emotional, physical, relational, and energetic.
The more you hold onto things, the more the toll of holding on weighs on you. This might sound like a metaphor, but it has real physical consequences. Emotional tolls manifest in physical conditions. People who are weighed down by their perceived burdens of life have rounded shoulders and tend to be hunched over. The energetic weight takes its toll.
Have you ever noticed how often we put stuff between ourselves and others? Sometimes is a physical object, like a dinner table or a desk. Other times it’s emotions, like anger, resentment, blame, judgment, jealousy.
Sometimes what we hold onto is a fantasy about the way things should be, or how we want them to be. If you’re holding on to an idea of how things should be, then you’re not able to be open to how they are. Your cost is that you’re missing out on what is.
Holding on requires a lot of energy. And it leaves us unable to receive anything new.
Picture yourself holding several objects in your hands. Now imagine I want to give you a gift. How can you receive it? You have to put something down. You have to let go of something you’re holding.
This is how it works with the universe. Whatever you’re holding on to is in the way of what you want to receive.
Why Do We Hold On?
If holding on to things is so costly, why do we do it? (And we all do it in some form.)
Fear of the emptiness that we may feel when we let go. Fear of what we might discover if we release those emotions that we think keep us motivated. Fear of being proven wrong, or looking like a quitter, or a failure. Fear that we won’t receive that gift once our hands are free.
Sometimes nothing fills the emptiness for a long time. The emotions beneath the emotions may be more difficult. You may be proven wrong, or look like a quitter. The gifts from the universe may not come right away.
All the fears you have about letting go may become your reality.
That’s the risk you take when you let go.
And that’s why letting go requires courage.
Courage comes from the Latin word meaning heart. The heart space is also our center of trust.
Every time you let go of something, you strengthen your trust muscle. You send a signal to the universe that you’re serious about what you are calling in.
Look at how nature releases what no longer serves it every fall, content to wait out the empty winter, trusting that it will bloom again in spring.
Every time we let go, we build trust. We build courage.
What are you holding on to? Can you find the courage to let it go?