BY Naomi Midura, LMFT, PsyD

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

-Hermann Hesse

Growing up I remember always wanting to do well, wanting to make others happy with me, believing my value was deeply tied to my achievements. I didn’t know yet that I was valuable just because, that there was no achievement, or lack of achievement that could change my value. So as a young person in the world, I worked really hard to do everything right, and had fears of falling short.

I have a memory that came up for me recently. I want to preface this story with the fact that this is my recollection as a six year old girl, and I am recalling this memory the best that I am able based on that fact. My memory goes something like this. I was with my mom and we were dog sitting. I’m not sure for who, but the dog was big and beautiful. He was much bigger than me and my little six year old body. I eagerly and enthusiastically asked if I could walk the dog. I wanted to help, I wanted to feel big and a part of what we were doing, and I was confident I could. My mom said “okay” but told me, as any parent would, to make sure I held onto the leash. It wasn’t a moment later that the dog that I was now responsible for was running through a field to get to a dog on the other side. This field went on forever, I was being dragged and scraped and bumped along this field.  I was sobbing, bruised and beaten, grass stains on my clothes. I had finally let go of the dog after he made it to the other side and I was no longer able to hold on. My mom frantically caught up with me and asked, “Why didn’t you let go?” And my sweet six year old self said, “Because you told me not to.”

It never even occurred to me that letting go was an option. I remember thinking I would get in trouble or would have done something wrong if I had let go. I didn’t want to lose the dog. I didn’t want to let anyone down. I know my mom was surprised by this, because she in her adulthood, knew that it was okay to let go of a leash if you are being dragged across a field, even if you are responsible for a dog. In looking back on my own life, I see how easily well intentioned messages can get confused. Especially in a young mind and a heart desiring to do well. This is a part of me that I have had to do a lot of work on, the part of me that won’t let go sometimes, even when something doesn’t serve me, or causes me harm, bound to some belief of what I am supposed to do.

I wonder how often many of us, in our desires, to be kind, noble, stay committed, work hard, and do the right thing, find ourselves in situations where there is a cost, where the good we are seeking to do is not being honored, or reciprocated? Perhaps, we engage in good work, but overextend ourselves to the point of burn out and depletion? Or we stay in relationships where we invest everything with someone that invests only half of themselves? Each of us must find our own paths, but I think in that process, we must evaluate what we are holding onto in our lives, particularly anything that may drain us, or cause harm. When this memory came up for me today as I was running with my dog, my dog that could never drag me across a field, I had a poignant recollection of this experience as a sweet tender six year old, and considered the lessons I have learned along my journey about finding balance, and about letting go of the leashes.

What are the leashes you may need to let go of in your life? What are the “Supposed Tos” you can begin to challenge and perhaps give yourself permission to let go? Are there aspects of your life that are draining and not life giving? We never have to hold on to something, especially if it is harmful to us. I am continuing to learn how to identify the things I need to let go and I hope you can too.

Sending love,

Naomi Midura, LMFT, PsyD

If you would like to partner together to explore the leashes in your life, I would love to schedule a meeting with you. You can reach out at: (209) 598-7432 or or follow me at:

I am located at: 2729 Fourth Ave., Suite 3, San Diego, CA 92103

**If you are in an abusive situation, and feel stuck, please seek support from a mental health professional.

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