What do you need to let that go?

In anticipation of the holiday season I got my nails done up fancy. I’m not sure if it was gel or shellac, or if that’s just two names for the same product – seriously, this girl is not a girly girl; one time my friends were talking about eyelash treatments and I had no idea what was happening – but get my nails done I did. With a lovely, red sparkly color that was really fun.

They told me at the salon that it would last two weeks – woo-hoo! Way to get my moneys worth!

Two weeks came and went. My nails were showing new growth at the bottom, but they still looked nice, so no big deal.

A few days later, the extra length was starting to bother me. So, I clipped my nails in the morning. Then, in the shower, the polish start to come off my thumb. I thought, “Oh, this is convenient!” and pulled.

Okay, so this gel stuff, it is not like normal polish. Normal polish creates a thin layer on my nail  that flakes off easily and creates a satisfying experience for someone like me, who likes to pick.

As I peeled off the gel there was a weird tugging sensation, not painful, but when the gel was gone, my nail was all scuffed and cruddy looking and full of pits and bumps. I am pretty sure part of the nail bed came off with the polish. (Any experts on this out there? Please let me know what I’m messing up here.)

Now I had nine pretty nails and one that looked like it had been in a barroom brawl. And lost.  

Two days later my dear friend Betsy commented on my red nails. I showed her the scruffy thumb. She laughed (she knows I’m not girly) and told me I could go back to the salon and get the gel removed. In fact, she recommend that I do that because it was easier and more efficient than trying to remove it myself.

Did I listen? Hell no! I would do it myself! I had put that bloody polish on, kept it as long as possible, and when it was time to let it go, I would take care of it on my own.

I tried. It did not work. I needed help letting go of the gel polish, which was taking up way too much of my time and attention.

So, I went back to the salon. They were so nice about it. They removed the gel without tearing my nails up and today they are all pretty and shiny and back to normal color.

There’s lots of stuff written about letting go. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Get over it.

The missing piece is that we can’t always let it go on our own. Especially when going it alone has resulted in a tightened grasp or the addition of a heavy weight that we would have been better off to drop yesterday.

We need help to rip off the bandage or to peel back the heaviness that is weighing on our soul. And then to drop it.

We need a supportive person to share a resource. Or listen to us gripe, or witness us shed that which we cling to that no longer serves us.

Do we need to do this over and over? Sometimes.

And that’s okay. It’s all just practice in asking for help, loving ourselves enough to drop the things that distract us and hold us back, and creating more space for light and movement.

What do you want to let go of that tugs a little at your heart? If it’s been hard to release, try a journal entry with this prompt: I haven’t been successful in letting this go on my own. What help do I need?

Sara Marchessault is a writer, publisher, teacher, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. For ideas on how you can get the benefits of journal writing without always keeping a traditional journal, check out Sara’s book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.

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