Letting Go v Holding On

I have been interested in Chinese martial arts for as long as I can remember – and whether I was watching the ‘Kung Fu’ TV series, or Bruce Lee in ‘Enter the Dragon’, it was always the philosophy that caught my attention more than the physical side.

I’ve been re-reading “The Shaolin Grandmaster’s Text”, and there’s an interesting point in there about how if you ever find yourself in a confrontation, in their view this is regarded as a ‘failure’. The idea is that you should be able to anticipate potential issues, and deal with them long before they become problems.

One of the ways to do this is to walk away – or as they put it, to ‘let go’ of the situation. This is very different to the view we have here in the West, where ‘walking away’ is usually seen as ‘backing down’, and therefore an act of cowardice. If it’s fear of consequences that makes us walk away, then that’s probably not a good thing. There are definitely times when we need to have the courage to stand up for ourselves, but if it’s an argument over who last had the stapler, then ‘letting go’ seems like a sensible option!

The opposite of ‘letting go’ would be ‘holding on’ … how does this look when we apply it to a confrontational situation? When we find ourselves in an argument – whether that’s at work or with someone we care about – ‘holding on’ to the things that have been said and done is unlikely to help us resolve things.

This idea of ‘letting go’ has powerful possibilities … is there anything you’re holding on to? How might it look if you were to let go instead?