Resignation is one of those words that has suffered identity crisis. What do you think of when you hear resign? To give up? To admit defeat because of some wrong doing? It isn’t wrong to use it in that sense, but it is not the only meaning. It can also mean to step away from a role, to let go, or to relinquish control.
In any situation in life we must learn to let go when things run their course. This is not the same as giving up. Letting go is something you come to terms with on your own. Making peace with a situation or person because it doesn’t serve you to continue to invest energy into it. We all have to let go of something in our lives eventually.
Letting go of our parents care to experience responsibility and self reliability. Resigning as the child and accepting willingly the role of adulthood. This is something I have been struggling with for a long time. I have always felt like I had to fulfill an image that was expected of me by my parents and older relatives. Allowing people to hold onto some former image of me when I was a child. I am the youngest of six children. I was always seen as the kid in the family, and even when I came into adulthood I wasn’t treated any different. I became very bitter about it, and angry. I hated myself and always counted myself short in life. I didn’t feel like I could move away, buy a home, or do what I wanted because that would disrupt someone’s image of me. I became very codependent in every relationship as a result. I would cowl down around friends, partners, and always to my family. I’ve spoken before about codependency and how we give our power away under its spell. The epiphany reached with codependency is detachment, which is resignation. The point you reach where you say, no, I do not have to live out someone’s image of me. I have to make my own image!
There is a great scene in the show Game of Thrones, where a main character, Jon Snow, is struggling with making a decision. He confides in his maester, a wise man of sorts, to help him make a decision that would greatly impact his people. The maester says something very important to this character. He says, “Kill the boy, Jon Snow… Kill the boy and let the man be born”. The character did not literally, “kill” the boy he was but he resigned his role as the boy. He resigns the boy he was and takes on the role as Jon Snow the man. Like Jon Snow, I had to kill the boy. I had to let go any codependency I had towards my family, friends and other peers. Assuming the role as a man in my own right, and knowing I am the only one to create the image of myself.
It has not been easy to do this, but the more I resign my old image, the more I can build on the new one. Culturally, in the western world we glamorize the patriarch as head of all decision making. Many people can become stuck trying to live out a predetermined image for them instead of discovering one’s own path. If you are to become an adult in your own right, you might have to strike it out on your own for this reason. A resignation of the role as beneficiary, or prince, to discover your own path, and to not be bound by an image created for you.
Another great tale of resignation is that of Siddhartha Gautama abandoning his role as prince to reach enlightenment. We know this character as Buddha, or the enlightened one. He resigned from his aristocratic role. He was provided with every material thing he ever wanted, but a significant moment changed his perspective. Changed by seeing the diseased and impoverished people of his own kingdom, he decided to seek spiritually and help others. He could not fully understand the lower caste peoples if he did not himself shed his upper class life. He resigned a world that was already created for him to lead a life free of materialistic fulfillment. If you want to live the life you want, the life that will serve you, then there can be no room for anything else. Of course you may be scorned, people will not understand, but it is not meant for them.
Resignation is such an important part of the cycle of life. The end of something, in our culture, carries with it a negative connotation. Death and change are feared. When we see a politician resigning their position, we should not always see it as this person did wrong and is ending the term as a form of self punishment. We should also see it as liberation. They resigned their position because it was not serving them, or their country, to remain and made way for another candidate to fulfill the role. Resignation is not an acknowledgment of failure but an acknowledgment that the event or role has run its course. Be thankful for the opportunity, and move on to the next goal. When one door closes, another opens. I have to close the door on me the child, and open the door to me, the adult. I must do this so I can live my truth! You must live your truth if you want to achieve your dreams, and your success.
Let it be!
Let go of who you once were. Not forgetting what happened, not disrespecting the life you had before. Just knowing, that the things you were doing before are not working for you now, and they must change. We know for us to change our situation we must change ourselves first. What are you holding onto steadfastly? You may find that you have to resign relationships, resign your job, or resign your lifestyle to focus your full attention on the next chapter of your life. It will not come easily for some. You may seem selfish, or traitorous to those around you. You must remember though that your life is your sole responsibility. Begin to take steps to resign your emotional investments into toxic relationships, jobs that aren’t fulfilling you, social statuses, and self-destructive habits. Discover what is next for you. Know that this is natural, and essential to making this your decade.