Let Go Joyously
I’m in a very reflective mood as I write this, so I should warn you that this might be a long reflection.
For the past several weeks I was in a more playful mood as I wrote my reflections, but today is different. I’m in a joyous place, but I feel more “pensive joy” than “playful joy.”
I’ve been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster this past week, and it seems that I haven’t been alone. Virtually everyone I’ve spoken to has been on the same crazy ride as me. In some ways, what I’ve gone through feels almost like grieving.
That makes sense, because I’ve been letting go of a lot of things lately, which may be contributing to what I feel. We humans are a very clingy lot, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best word I can use to describe my feelings is grief.
It helps to acknowledge a simple reality… that humans love to cling to stuff. We especially like to cling to things that remind us of people we appreciate or emotions we label as “desirable.” It therefore makes sense that every time we let go of something – whether voluntarily or not – we experience some level of grief.
To be totally honest, I’m not in the mood to ramble on about the reasons for grief or to give a sermon about grieving being a normal and natural part of dealing with loss… because frankly, the collective reactions will be, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. We’ve heard it before.”
So, I’ll just get straight to the point: Which is to recognize that when we grieve ANY loss, most of us want get through our grief as quickly as possible.
My methods of coping may not work for everyone, but one way I let go and then move through the grieving process is to remind myself of a basic tenet of our human experience: Our emotions are chaotic and they will drive us crazy at times.
So, when I’m letting go of something and grieving my perceived loss, I also remind myself not to resist what I feel or to judge myself.
And what do I mean about not judging myself? Put bluntly, I don’t care what society says about how I’m “supposed” to feel. Putting rules on what and when we’re supposed to feel is the same thing as putting us in a straightjacket and then locking us in a padded room.
The “rules” of what and when we’re supposed to feel have done nothing except to screw us up psychologically and emotionally. Sure, there may be times when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations where someone is showing an abundance of emotion, but what makes the situation uncomfortable is our sudden awareness of the rules, not the emotion being expressed.
I therefore say screw the rules. Feel what you need to feel and do so as intensely as you want.
If people want to judge you for being human, then that’s their problem, not yours. Being human means having emotions and experiencing them – fully and completely.
I don’t care that society says I’m not supposed to show emotion just because I’m a man. My response is, “bring it on.”
Bring on the grief. Bring on the feelings of loss. Bring on the panic of not knowing what I’m going to do because something or someone I once relied on is no longer around.
A Tenet of Joy is that every emotion I feel is an ASPECT of Joy, and by allowing ALL of my emotions to flow, I know I’ll live a joyous life NO MATTER WHAT.
I can let go joyously because I know that my grief will pass more quickly if I give myself permission to feel fully and completely. I know that regardless of how awful I feel in the moment, I will end up feeling better in the long run.
What’s more interesting, I’ve learned that letting go joyously has had a remarkable side-benefit: I don’t care if people agree with me or not. I’ve let go of the need to be right or the need to convince other people that they’re wrong. I’m able to “live and let live” in the truest sense, and that has led to a more joyous human experience.
Letting go joyously has allowed me to see life as a celebration. Everyone is invited to participate in my celebration if they wish, but I’m okay if they don’t. I will still celebrate.
Let go. Celebrate. Live joyously. That is the human adventure you signed up for.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.