Release: verb; allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free.
Nature has always been a soothing place for me. Whenever I go on a hike or walk, I always bring a bag with me to hold things I find along the trail. Usually, they are pretty rocks or feathers that catch my eye. Sometimes though, I’ll grab a stone just because I haven’t found anything else, and place it in my bag. It could look nice next to some of my other, favorite pieces. I’ll do the same with another, and another. Soon my bag is full of items that I don’t really treasure. I simply picked them up because I didn’t want to walk away empty handed.
Life is often like my weighted bag of ugly rocks. We hold onto so many things because we are afraid. Afraid that something better might not come along. Afraid that this is the best we can do. Often, we are afraid that we don’t deserve the precious stones and settle for the mediocre. Even though we know the handful of rocks we hold are just taking up space for the real gems, we clutch them tightly, leaving less space to hold the ones we really want.
In order to make room for the unique, beautiful, wild experiences we want and deserve, we need to be able to let go of things we are holding onto, simply because we are afraid.
Here are five things you can let go of now to create more space in your life for the things that truly matter.
- Clutter – Whether physical or mental, start by clearing out the clutter. Empty a shelf or a drawer. Let go of possessions you’ve physically been holding onto that no longer serve a purpose in your life. Broken household items, shirts you never wear, or books you know you’ll never read. Let them go.
It’s also important to do some mental housekeeping. I find sitting down and making a list of all my thoughts and to dos, also known as a brain dump, really beneficial. Once they are all down on paper, my mind is free to focus and let my creativity flow.
- Unnecessary Commitments – Spending time doing what you love is a no brainer, but often we are so buried under other obligations that we seldom have time to do the things that we really want to be doing. Once you get your physical and mental clutter taken care of, it’s time to tackle your calendar. Is it overcrowded with obligations and commitments that you’re less than thrilled about? Take some time to evaluate whether any of your current commitments can be eliminated and free up some time to do things that you really want to do. If you can’t eliminate them, try delegating them to others that would be interested in taking them on.
Practice saying no to future commitments that will end up leaving you with less time to take care of yourself. You and your time are too valuable to waste doing things that aren’t necessary. Be honest with yourself and ask, “Is this something that I really want to do?”
- Comparisons – Comparing ourselves to others is such an energy suck. If you’ve never fallen victim to comparing yourself against another person, please tell me your secret. As a mom, I fall into this trap more often than I’d like to admit. The mommy wars are real people. When I find myself sitting around, sulking because my life doesn’t look like Pinterest came in and threw up all over the place, the best thing I can do is get active.
I’ve realized that when I’m sucked into the comparison trap, it’s not really because I want my life to look exactly like someone else’s, but I’m actually feeling really lazy. Instead of sitting around feeling envious of that perfect kitchen I saw, I get up and take the time to clean the space around me or go for a walk. Doing so reminds me of what I have to be grateful for and pulls me back into a positive state of mind.
- Other’s expectations – A life spent striving to meet someone else’s expectations is no life at all. How many times have you done something just because it was what someone else wanted or expected you to do? How many times have you denied yourself because it didn’t meet another’s expectations? I’m probably batting a million on this one. I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. On one end I was the ultimate people pleaser, and on the other end, a rebel against anything that others thought I should do, say, wear…
Neither one was really me. I was forgetting the most important person, and the only one that really mattered. Myself. I still struggle with this. We want our parents to be proud and we want to feel accepted. I get it. But the price is too high. Life is too short to follow someone else’s compass. Trust yourself.
- Self-limiting beliefs – I saved the hardest one for last. It’s no easy task to let go of self limiting beliefs. It’s true, in most cases, we are our own worst enemy. Looking back, 99% of the time, I am the only one standing in my way.
“I can’t jump out of a plane.”
“No one will want to read my blog.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“It’s too late for me to do this.”
Sound familiar? My guess is you’ve probably said something similar to yourself once or twice. To break the cycle, you first need to acknowledge what your self limiting beliefs are. Once you’ve done that, try reframing those same statements into something positive.
“I can jump out of a plane.”
“I will write a blog.”
“I am worthy.”
“I choose to follow my own path.”
Makes a big difference, doesn’t it? When you feel a self limiting belief sneak up, take a second to acknowledge it and then reframe it. Let go of those old beliefs.
All of these are easier said than done. But, I encourage you to dump out that bag of ugly rocks and start filling it with ones that make you feel alive, and remind you that you are wild.
Have any other tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment before you go!
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