The 5 Things To Remember When Learning To Let Things Fall Through

If you’re anything like me, you have a tendency to make more obligations than you can fulfill. One of the hardest things I have had to learn, and something I am still learning, is the art of letting things fall through. Because we live in a society that pushes us to be highly productive, we often forget we have agency over our lives. It can be especially frustrating when you work within groups and feel responsible to pick up the slack of others. However, this list of 5 rules just might save you from putting yourself through unnecessary stress.


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This rule is especially important when working with others. If we are being honest, most of the time we are stressed about things not being done is because we are working with others. If someone else is assigned a task and they are not able to complete it, it is not your responsibility to finish their work. I know it doesn’t seem that way and it feels like the end of the world when you have to get rid of an idea or turn something in incomplete, but you will develop skills on how to present what you bring to the table. Take the time that you would put into doing the other persons part and reward yourself because you deserve it!


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Okay, so maybe you underestimated how busy you would be after taking two exams and signing up for two events. Like I said, there is so much pressure to exceed expectations and be involved in everything, but please remember to be gentle with yourself. This guiding rule is set in place for the person who might not be able to fulfill their obligations. If you can’t fulfill an obligation, there is nothing wrong with asking for a little help. You’d be surprised with how nice people can be if you take a leap of faith. Asking for help is not admitting defeat or a failure in any way. In fact, it is a great method to hold yourself partially accountable while also building relationships to those helping you. 


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In response to rule two, it is important to acknowledge what got us there in the first place. Most often, things are falling through because we have committed ourselves to too many things. It is okay to say “no” occasionally, if it helps you maintain your sanity. This rule goes for group work as well, only take on the tasks that you know you can do. Sometimes it is hard to swallow our pride and admit that we don’t know how to do something, or we don’t have the time. But it is important to be honest because it saves everyone time from worrying about something. 


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This rule goes both ways. Never feel guilty for letting something fall through or not following through. This is probably the toughest thing for me to learn. I have always felt guilt when not being able to do something that was asked of me or someone else. But here’s the thing: you are not responsible for others and you can only do so much. So, if you are struggling to finish all of your commitments, prioritize them and get rid of the least important ones. Even though I am not encouraging you to evade your responsibilities, it is impossible to please everyone all the time. Most of the time, the obligations that you cannot fulfill are a lot lower-stakes than you thought. 


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The reason we feel so stressed when letting things fall through is because we are scared that we will not be valued in the same way. We often make obligations because we want to be seen as reliable and hard-working, but it is vital to check-in with yourself. Recently, I was faced with a situation in which I had to make a group presentation and, as usual, my partners were not doing their part. Normally, I would have finished the entire presentation and held my tongue. But this time, I just let it happen. I finished my part to the best of my ability and presented. After the presentation, my professor pulled my aside and personally congratulated me on my part because she could tell my partners did not put effort into the assignment. Even though I was not expecting to be personally complimented, I learned that sometimes letting things fall through can be beneficial to you. Not only did I receive recognition, but I also used the time I would have used doing other people’s work to relax and unwind. So remember: Be kind to yourself and honest with others because it will all work out.