Letting go of that which is no longer working for us is the only way we can heal. By letting go of destructive patterns of thinking and behaviors that cause us harm, we make room for peace and freedom to enter our lives. Letting go is certainly hard to do. There is comfort in the familiarity of the known, even if it causes pain. At least we know what to expect, that we are capable of handling it because we have done so before. It is important to recognize and move beyond our problems though in order to grow as people, and that requires us to let go.
On the topic of letting go, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“’Little things mean a lot,’ especially when we focus all our attention on them, obsess and ruminate about them, and can’t let them go. Sometimes, when we are in our disease, we just keep turning disturbing thoughts over and over in our minds, believing that we will surely figure out some solutions if we just think about them long enough and check out every angle.
When we engage in this behavior, it is a sure sign that we are in the addictive process and thinking ourselves to death. I have always found that when I was in my addictive process, I have lost perspective. I suddenly become the center of the universe, and my problems are the only ones in the universe.
It always helps me to step back and realize that whatever problem I am having is probably not of universal proportions. This perspective helps me to see that I am powerless over my crazy thinking, and that it is making my life insane. At this point I can get back in touch with my knowing that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity, and I can turn this problem over to this greater power.”
Overthinking does result in crazed behavior. By dwelling on even the minutest of details, we manage to blow them out of proportion until they are all-consuming. Because we can think of little else, the problems seem to occupy the space of the entire universe. We must remember though that we have simply lost our perspective to our addiction. Turning these same thoughts over in our minds leads us no closer to a solution. It is simply the illusion of control entering our lives again—that if we can only think of every possible outcome and keep mulling the idea over, we will eventually arrive at a conclusion that satisfies us and solves the problem. It’s a relief to be reminded again of my powerlessness.
I had not before now associated my pattern of overthinking to my disease of workaholism, but of course they are related. I must let go of what I dwell on in order to find peace within, and I can achieve this by the simple act of pulling back to realize the true enormity of the world and my small space in it. At times when the act of dwelling gets the better of me, I pause to remember the impermanence of life; that everything that is, all that we see and touch, will one day be gone and forgotten, including us. Though it sounds morbid, it is actually quite comforting at times when I dwell on minor things I know don’t hold much weight and importance in the world, or even in my life for that matter. It’s a way to remind myself to let go.