For the last three weeks, my family has been debating "hanging on" versus "letting go." Here's the situation:
During our spring vacation, I flipped out of a river raft in a Class IV rapid. I held on to the thin safety cord attached to the raft with a grasp so intense that my pinkie finger was numb for the next ten days. And I injured my shoulder. It all happened so fast; I didn't know whether I'd smashed my shoulder against a rock, or tore it up by hanging on. Thus, our family debate.
I held on because I didn't want to go down this rapid like these people (this is NOT me):
And I didn't fall out of the raft again, not even when we got stuck between boulders with water rushing over us. I held on like crazy, painful shoulder and all. But I've been thinking about hanging on ever since. If I had let go, maybe I wouldn't have hurt my shoulder...
Over the years, I've hung on to a lot of things when I should've let go: not-so-good relationships, dead-end jobs, unrealistic goals...and a cute skirt that never quite fit.
The thing is: deep down I knew I needed to let go of the relationships, the jobs, the goals, and even that skirt. But I didn't trust my intuition--you know that feeling that pricks your gut, whispers in your mind? Eventually, things reached the point that I absolutely had to let go--of the relationships and jobs and goals that simply didn't work. I also--finally--gave the skirt to a friend, and it looks great on her.
So back to the river raft: I did trust my intuition. I knew I wasn't a strong enough swimmer to escape a Class IV rapid, so I held on. And I didn't regret my decision--even if it meant surgery. Last week, I was happy to learn that I broke my acromion bone (the very top of my shoulder) by smashing against a rock when I flipped out of the raft. No torn muscle, no surgery!
Holding on didn't hurt me this time, but I still think it takes more courage to let go.