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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

This year has brought upon a sudden pause to our lives and, as an effect, caused us to reevaluate our life choices. Whether that is about who we are, where we are going, or who we are with, the lull of a pandemic has elapsed time between our present and our future. 

I could sit here and tell you that letting go, whatever the specifics may be, will bring you peace of mind. Well, it may, but it most likely will not. Letting go isn’t for your present self. It’s not for whoever or whatever caused you pain. It’s for your future. 

When we hold on to these moments of darkness, it tattoos itself onto our soul. It brands us. Our identity should not revolve around a moment of pain; its roots should not be from a place of regret. Yet, it’s effortless to do so. Without difficulty, we can trace our present frustrations and obstacles to past events, of which we have no control over. It’s quite simple to do so because it places blame on something that cannot be fixed, and thus traps us into a repeating and unhappy cycle. 

Letting go is not to heal your past self because your past self does not exist anymore. Letting go is for the future. It’s to enjoy every moment of life, including the bad ones. 

Now you might be asking yourself, what are we letting go of exactly? Well, I’m sure by now, a few memories must have come to mind. In essence, we let go of the person we used to be for the person we want to become. We let go of past failures for brighter futures. (But learn from these failings! There’s no shame in not being perfect; it’s quite normal.) We need to let go of our past mistakes, whatever they may be, for a future us that is more complete, and whole, and happy.

What does happiness feel like to you? What do you envision? Who’s there? For me, it feels like a cold winter morning when I can sleep in and watch old movies. It also feels like working as a high school teacher and connecting with my students. Happiness, just like success, looks different for everybody. We have no control over our future, but many of us continuously attempt to plan our lives. We cannot plan happiness, and we cannot plan growth. We experience these things. Similarly, we did not plan our failings and pains, but if we cannot learn from them and move on from them, we will be unable to grow. Unable to live and experience the world fully. 

If this has to do with someone who has caused you pain, I never said forgive and forget. It’s simply not possible for everyone. It’s challenging to forgive someone because it asks us to say, “forgiving you is more important than how it made me feel.” Must we always be the bigger person rather than prioritizing our mental health and valuing our emotions? You have the right not to be the bigger person. You have the right not to forgive. Just like you have the right to let go and move on. 

Let go of an argument, a failed exam, a fallout with a friend, the end of a relationship. Let go of the pain that you had no control over. When we hold on to these pains, it’s poisoning us like a silent, emotionally lethal weapon. 

To let go does not mean that the event was not significant. It’s the opposite. To let go of something that has dictated your life, you allow yourself to sit with uncomfortable emotions and face head-on an event that has impacted your character. Sometimes we have to let go even if it hurts us. 

This healing process is not a one-time-fixes-all cure. Letting go creates opportunities for joy to come into your life. And just as such, it allows pain to enter your life as well. But that’s the beauty of this practice, let go of the wounds, yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s, and focus on the profusion of joy.


Angie Tamayo is a junior at The College of New Jersey. She studies English and Secondary Education with a Social Justice minor. During her free time she enjoys binge-watching shows, playing with her pet beagle, and painting horrible portraits.
President of HCTCNJ, Panhellenic Delegate for AXiD, Communications Major with Marketing/Management Minors!