Old baggage, road blocks, and time wasters have taken up enough space in your life and it's time to clean house.
Before we go any further let me answer your question. The reason we hold onto things that don't serve us is because they are familiar and what is familiar is comfortable even if it isn't serving us. Letting go is very uncomfortable but it is where transformation happens.
How Did I Acquire These Things?
Most of us, okay, all of us start our lives with someone else's idea of who we are supposed to be, what are lives should look like, and how things should unfold. Even the most aware and nurturing parents/guardians still influence the version of who their child thinks they are supposed to be. As we grow up society, social groups, and an endless parade of other people influence how we perceive ourselves. And life happens. Key experiences shape what we believe about ourselves, what we believe our dreams should be, what is available to us.
And then there is that other identity thief. The one that sneaks in and shakes even the most stable of us. It can come in the form of the loss of a loved one, the loss of our own health, natural disaster, the birth of a child with life long special needs, and a whole host of events that are reminders that we don't actually have control over the external world. These circumstances can shake the foundations of who we are and the lives we dream for ourselves.
Regardless of how we came to be where we are, the ability to find a new normal, define our goals, or simply know and honor ourselves rely heavily on our ability to let go.
Embracing our authentic, honest selves is not always defined by what we have or do, but rather by what we are willing to let go of. In order to make space and time for our dreams and goals we have to let go of habits unworthy of our precious energy, old emotional baggage, and self-limiting beliefs.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
- Brene Brown
Start With The Easy Stuff
Sometimes life pushes you into the deep end and sometimes you get the opportunity to get your feet wet. If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the gentler end of this letting go transformation thing then start with the easy things.
Time wasters and distractions are low hanging fruit on the letting go tree. Removing games on our phones, turning off the tv, and putting down our electronics are quick ways to let go of things that do not serve us. They are all wonderful sources of distraction and fuel our complacency fires. "Just one more episode then I'll go exercise". As you sit and play games or scroll social media you waste precious time that can be used to serve you and your dreams. It all adds up and your dreams deserve your attention. And I am already hearing the cries of "but that is how I relax". I am straight up calling bullshit on this. 100%. There is nothing happening while you stare at a screen that is actually creating good, relaxing, stress-reducing chemistry in your body. Want to relax? Take a walk, stretch, play with the dog, play an instrument, use your hands to make something, or just sit outside and stare at the clouds. I am not saying electronics aren't useful tools. They absolutely are. But they are tools and tools serve you not the other way around
"Holding on can give us the feeling of power when we feel powerless. But holding on to feel safe is an illusion. We "hold on" to relationships, money, ideas, beliefs, pain, resentment, power -because it feels certain.
- Vitale Buford
Warmed Up? It's Time For Some Heavy Lifting
Ready to do some serious house cleaning? Addressing beliefs and habits that no longer serve us is brave and uncomfortable work. But you know what is more work and unproductive as hell? Trying to constantly prop up old, worn out beliefs full of holes and constantly shuffling around worn out baggage that we keep tripping over.
Waiting for some external force to come along and remove road blocks labeled SHAME, EXCUSE MAKING, and COMPLAINING is exhausting. It's like standing in a line that never moves. Or even more exhausting is when we actually drag those road blocks back in front of use when they are removed.
How do you let go of shame? C'mon. You know this one. Vulnerability of course. When we shine the light of vulnerability on shame it's like exposing bacteria to sunshine. You have to quit defending shame like it is a shrouded, sacred, much feared mythical god. No more laying your dignity and future at the feet of this sham god.
How about excuses? Jack Canfield said "It's not what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you do know that's not true that gets you into trouble." Are you ready to let go of what people, culture, & society have told you are true and you've been using as excuses to hide from life? Things like "big girls aren't good athletes", "it's nearly impossible to break the abuse cycle", "once an addict always an addict", "sex isn't enjoyable after menopause", "if you have big muscles it will just turn to fat later", "poverty is generational"...and a million other general statements that are not inevitable. Have you ever accomplished something because you didn't know you were or weren't supposed to do it a certain way? Are you ready to get dumb again? To let go of old ways of thinking about yourself and learn new ways?
Going from a complaint mindset to a solution mindset is not hard but it takes practice. Letting go of complaining is a quick one. Are you ready? Next time you find yourself with a complaint as yourself these two questions. 1. What would you prefer? 2. What are you willing to do to get it? That is how you let go of complaining. Even legitimate complaints can be let go and turned into solutions with these questions.
What About Those Big T Traumas?
How do we let go of those big traumas? How do we move from victim to creator? How do we find a new normal? It is some of the hardest work we will do as humans. To reclaim our lives after it has been turned upside down rather by self or external forces. If you are experiencing the fall out from trauma it is important to ask for help, be gentle with yourself, and understand that it takes time to let go. I will not pretend for a moment that trauma is something that we can let go in the ways that we can deal will smaller traumas, habits, beliefs, and time wasters. But with time, work, and support we can let go of even the biggest traumas; love ourselves in the present and transform our lives creating the future, one day at a time, as we define it.
"Holding on is an illusion of safety. Letting go happens when we feel that sense of safety in ourselves. Trust yourself. Let go."
Get hoppin'! Let that shit go!
Wishing each of you a happier & healthier life,