On letting go

On letting go

After a hard day's work, my friend was on her way back. The traffic was dense and home at last, she drew out a bunch of keys. She fitted one into the lock and turned it, but the door would not open. She kept turning the key with greater and greater force.

Finally the key twisted, would not turn and became stuck. She discovered then that she had chosen the wrong key. It took her much time, effort and money to undo the damage. Had she chosen the right key, it would have turned very easily. She remembered now that every lock has its own individual key and will not answer to any other.

Ponder on this and you will find this is true of human relationships too. We often use the wrong key when dealing with others. Wherever and whenever we believe we have the authority, we try to force others into our way of thinking. More often than not, we fail for it only leads to rebellion or resentment. Rebellion causes unhappiness and resentment breeds an inner sense of failure and dissatisfaction.

While we all have the tendency to persuade others to share our own views, this trait is strongest among parents, teachers and bosses. Some parents use their children to satisfy their own unrequited ambitions. They are unable to treat them as separate individuals who have their own hopes and rights. The ideal parent will instead give his child both roots and wings.

In other words, he will keep him rooted in values but allow him to choose his own path. Teachers make the mistake of thrusting all her pupils into a single mould. Individual abilities are ignored and overlooked. Some bosses, well, are just bosses. They issue commands that have to be obeyed. They leave little room for initiative and innovation. In every field of activity, there are those who try to fit square pegs into round holes. It turns out to be a fruitless task. It is only when we stop trying to force the key of our lives into the lock of others' existence that happy results follow. In the wise words of Havelock Ellis, "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."