You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is
waiting for you.”
It’s autumn and a time of harvest. The plants are releasing their fruits and vegetables and the trees are releasing their leaves as nature prepares for a cycle of hibernation before beginning new growth. We humans are not like that. Change is often difficult for us to navigate. We have trouble letting go of habits, people, jobs, roles, etc. We often forget that life is dynamic and that everyday we are changing both on the inside and outside. Acknowledging this fact makes it easier to let go. And yet we also need to acknowledge that it is natural to hold on to things and people we love because we believe they are important to our well-being. The key here is to be aware of this natural process within ourselves; be gentle and thoughtful about what to hold onto and what to let go of; and to remember that it’s the very act of letting go that allows new things to emerge in our lives.
Letting Go of Habits
We know that 95% of what we do is habitual. This is necessary for us to be successful as once we have behaviors on autopilot we can focus on other challenges in our lives. The problem arises when these habits don’t take us into our potential and actually take us away from what matters most. The first step in changing habits is identifying current state. What is the most pressing habit that if you released it would make a significant difference in your life? Tracking when it occurs; who, what, where and triggers it; and committing out loud to changes can lead to successful changes. A word of advice here-the habit you want to change has to be chosen by you and requires a high level of desire on your part in order to create the greatest opportunity for success.
Letting Go of Fear
Fear comes in many forms. We can be afraid of delegating what needs to be done because we think the task won’t be done they way we would do it. This applies to relationships both at home and at work. We can be afraid that we are not good enough so we wait for someone else to tell us that we are important. We can be afraid that we won’t be successful so we hold back on going after what we are most passionate about. Many authors have suggested that as people reflect back on their lives they have more regrets about the things they didn’t do instead of the things they did do. Acknowledging our fears is the first stop in releasing them. If we try to avoid or deny them, they remain our constant companions. As Ralph Waldo Emerson told us “Do the thing you fear; and the death of fear is certain.”
Letting Go of Anger
The emotion of anger is itself neither go nor bad. It is actually health to feel anger when mistreatment or a wrong has been committed. Anger becomes a problem when it is unmanageable and interferes with relationships and our work. Often people who struggle with an anger issue believe it is out of their control when in actuality we have more control over the emotional state than we think. Learning how to express feelings in a healthy way will not only lead to feeling better it can lead to enhanced relationships. It can also lead to better health as high levels of anger have been connected with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and insomnia.
Letting Go of Perfection
One of the biggest struggles we face as humans is the need to be perfect. In Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, she defines perfection as “the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame.” Brown shares that perfectionism serves as a shield that we believe will protect us when in reality it keeps us from letting go. When we engage in perfectionism, we need the approval of others in order to feel good about ourselves. Letting go of perfectionism requires us to be more loving and compassionate with ourselves as we are truly the very ones who are extremely hard on ourselves.
As you prepare for the change of seasons, what needs to change in your life? What do you need to let go of in order to be the person you want to be? Give yourself the space and time to decide what one thing if you let go of it would make a big difference in your life!
To Your Success!