In 1968, a song by the Beatles hit the airwaves — “Let it be.”
Some of the most poignant words of this timely classic are, “and when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree There will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see. There will be an answer, let it be.”
Do you find it hard to let others be? Do you find it hard to let yourself be?
I know you do — because we all do.
Let’s talk honestly for a moment. If you are honest with yourself, the “let it be” battle rages within all of us, not just once or twice, but all the time. The battle doesn’t end unless we choose to end it.
Sadly for some, they can’t see how to end the battle so they struggle, until the battle is what they do every hour, every minute and every second of every day. This battle rages until it consumes them and they (or we) no longer see anything else.
The thing about battles is they are sweaty, taxing, devastating, sometimes fatal and always exhausting places to be.
The liberating life philosophy of “let it be” can be applied to all of life’s battles. It doesn’t really matter whether your current battle (struggle) is racism, sexism, ageism, genderism or any other “ism” you wish to apply.
This does not mean that we give up fighting for what’s right or trying to change the wrong we see in our world. It just means that you don’t have to always fight. Sometimes it’s better to not to fight, especially when the fight is just for the sake of the fight.
Here is what it means to “let it be.”
We live in a world with a cacophony of sights, sounds, voices, beliefs, perspectives and real and imagined realities.
In this cacophony we are the only ones who can make the decision to not “pick up the rope” (there is no tug-of-war if you don’t pick it up).
Carl Rogers (one of my favorite psychologists) in his book “A Way of Being” said “people are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right-hand corner. I don't try to control the sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”
What a beautiful way to describe letting ourselves, others and things just be. Allow them to “unfold.”
“Unfolding” has a gentleness to it. It’s not rushed. It’s not hurried. It just “unfolds.” Will you allow the unfolding without trying to control it?
If the answer is no, then ask yourself why. If you look at the reasons for your why you see that the “why” is not really a “why” at all. When you realize the why is only an unsubstantiated reason to not. Just as you make the choice to intervene, you can make the choice to not intervene.
Rogers states, “life is about being and becoming … what you are to be, you are now becoming.”
Becoming, unfolding, allowing things to just be — no judgement, no intervention and no struggle — just unfolding.
Now that’s freeing — to just allow, just be, with no “butting in” on your part?
Just as you cannot force a flower to open in the warming rays of the sunrise without damaging the flower, you also cannot force others to change. You have to step away and let the unfolding process of being.
“And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.”
Apply the ethos of “let it be” in everything you do. If you do this, peace of mind, body and spirit will follow.
Richard Stride has been a practicing psychotherapist. He has worked in behavioral and forensic mental health for over 30 years as a counselor, clinical director and senior executive. He served eight years as a captain in the United States Army Reserve. He enjoys teaching, public speaking and prides himself on being a student of history. He is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.