I can let things pass all day long. And before that sounds like a shortcoming, or maybe a brag, I assure you it’s anything but. It took a whole lotta growth to let things pass. Thankfully, it’s progress not perfection, and while not everything today gets the turned cheek, the number of pointless confrontations is definitely on the decrease. Knee-jerk reactions are getting a second and third look before going public. It’s the miracle in recognizing that there’s little to no satisfaction to be gained by engaging in what I know to be old behaviors. I already know those results, even though I used to expect something different, remember?
Step 12: having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
There was a time when I couldn’t let anything pass, and as a result couldn’t let anything go. And if I managed to let something pass, I clung to the grudge created like a pit-bull with tinnitus. I couldn’t let go of the fact that I let something pass.
See, I didn’t believe you could let go of something and also let it pass. I believed they were at cross purposes: it was one or the other. Hell, I thought the only way to truly let go of something was by NOT letting it pass, but by setting it on fire and burying the ashes; by letting everyone within the sound of my voice know of your failing as a member of society. There was absolutely no way I could let whatever it was stand, not if I was to let it go.
Which kept me as crazy as I wanted to be: there was always something to be offended by, especially if I was hyper-sensitive and hyper-vigilant about it. My sense of right and wrong was under constant attack. As a result, public appearances were kept to a minimum. Cue the isolation. I was scouting locations for the origin story of the crazy old man who never left his house.
But what I’m coming to understand is that the more I cling to people, places and things beyond my control, the more power I surrender to strangers, to traffic, to shopping mall music, to reality television, to having this and not that, to wanting more, to wanting different, to wanting. It’s these clingings that leave me vulnerable and skew my perception of all that’s around me.
So letting things pass has become much more manageable, now that I know I tend to take everything personally. Even if it’s something that could be seen as a direct affront, I’m finding it easier to disengage and let it pass because I’m becoming better at recognizing it for what it most often is: a self-baited hook.
What I’m working on:
Doing nothing: demonstrate non-response for those things not worth my serenity. That’s letting it pass.
Thinking nothing: having it not occupy space in my mind is how I can tell if I’m letting it go.
They don’t need to happen simultaneously, but like everything else in this program, the sooner, the better.