On Valentine’s Day, I chopped off my hair. I know people do that all the time, but the last time I cut mine shorter, I asked for a long bob and ended up with a Sideshow Bob. I was miserable for weeks. Hair is my security blanket. I have the kind of thick, unruly mane that can go completely Lord of the Flies if I’m not careful, so cutting it is never done on a whim. Now that I’ve done it – and love it – I realize that letting go of things that weigh me down, no longer serve me or make me happy lets me see what’s left in a new light. It made me ask myself what else is holding me back? What else could I could let go of just as easily? I came up with 5 attitudes I want to kick to the curb.
1. Let go of worry.
I’ve long believed my worry has the power to change the outcome of a situation. If you post on Facebook that you’ve lost your job, my worry will help you get another one. If your daughter’s having trouble adapting to her new insulin pump, my worry helps her cope. After my mom’s death, worry has been a constant companion. Maybe I hadn’t worried enough to keep her healthy and alive – I certainly wasn’t going to make that same mistake with my dad, or my niece, or my boyfriend, or my dog or…you get the picture. Ridiculous, I know. And also exhausting. Let go of worry. It’s a useless waste of energy. Here’s a good guided meditation for dealing with anxiety.
2. Let go of the need to control.
Sometimes I feel like the super villain in my own life story. I won’t be satisfied with anything less than absolute world domination. Maybe it’s why I write in the first place, to create a world in which we call all the shots. But control is an illusion. We can’t control other people or the curve balls life throws at us. Attempting to do so robs us of the joy of the moment. Let go of control. You do you. And let the rest of the world take care of itself.
3. Let go of regrets.
I’ve lost some friends, blown some opportunities, gained some weight, hurt some feelings, misplaced some blame, wasted some time (so much time), told some lies, and held some grudges. So, yeah … regrets…I have a few. But regret doesn’t change anything. Instead, work on not repeating mistakes. Being your best possible self going forward.
4. Let go of fear.
I hate putting myself “out there” … with my writing, in relationships, at work, you name it. It’s held me back in a lot of ways. but also propelled me in others. I have to admit that overtime I’ve faced or even conquered a fear, (Ziplines in Peru, publishing a book, dating again after a bad breakup), I’m better for it. Acknowledge your fear, but keep taking day trips out of your comfort zone. It’s not so scary out there after all.
Here are 6 signs that fear is holding you back.
5. Let go of your all-or-nothing mindset
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I’m pretty hard on myself. No, really, it’s true. I don’t know where that comes from. Usually I see myself as pretty laid back (ok, lazy), but over the last few years, I’ve become more and more driven. In some respects, that’s a good thing. Stuff gets accomplished. At other times, it leaves me exhausted and bitter. I need to relax. Cut myself some slack. Focus as much on peace keeping as goal reaching.
How about you? What attitudes, habits or mindsets are holding you back? How will you let go?