As I approach my 40th year in this life of mine, I find myself reflecting on past circumstances more than ever before. I have found, when I really dig deep, that I am still harboring negative thoughts that aren’t serving any good purpose in my life.
They say that you can find true peace when you allow yourself to let go of thoughts and feelings that are always in the back of your mind. But how do you do this?
It seems so hard, but actually, it doesn’t have to be. Here's how:
- Start by writing down things that bother you. It can be anything, big or small.
- Then add things that make you feel guilty or shameful, even if they happened years ago.
- Go ahead and include any negativity in your life that is out of your control. That should give you a good starting point to work from.
- Add anything else you feel isn’t serving you in your life and then really dig deep into each item.
- Sit with each of these feelings and truly allow yourself to let it go.
This may not happen overnight, but with time, you can allow yourself to be forgiven and to stop worrying about what you cannot change or events that are (or were) out of your control. We are all imperfect, but we are enough. Be sure to tell yourself that often.
We all have things that we push into the back of our minds on a daily basis. But, as I learned the hard way, if we don’t deal with them, at some point your body is going to backfire on you and make you address things immediately. This full-time stress and worry over things out of your control can really wreck your immune system and your overall happiness in life.
So I'll start with examples of what isn’t serving me in my life and how I am working to let them go:
1. For the past four years, I've been carrying around a huge amount of guilt and anger associated with my mom’s death from breast cancer in 2009.
I find myself mad that I didn’t research alternative treatments or drugs when she was sick. I feel guilty that I listened to her doctor and let her eat sugar-filled food during chemo treatments, because I now know that cancer thrives on sugar. I feel guilty that there were a few times she was in pain and I had promised her that I would make sure she wasn’t ever in pain.
So how do I get past this? I have to let myself realize and know in my heart that none of it was my fault. I did the absolute best I could do given the terminal situation. I was completely alone in caring for her and had to leave my successful career for over a year to be with her each day. I have found peace and comfort knowing that I was lucky enough to spend every single day with her until she took her last breath.
I have to let go of the guilt about other treatment options. I didn’t know of them at the time and that’s not my fault. Allowing myself to get over these things has been a slow process, but one that I am making peace, and progress, with.
2. I must stop being concerned if other people don’t like me.
I am a people-pleaser by nature and very sensitive. If I know, or even feel, that someone is angry at me, it hurts me to the core. I now work to allow myself to let it go. If someone doesn’t like me, that's their problem and their loss. I focus on myself and being the best person that I can be. Letting go of this concern has been so refreshing for me.
Often, we assume someone is upset with us when it really isn't the case. So just being the best person that I can be on a daily basis is good enough for me. We don't have time to wonder and ponder over someone else's opinion of us when it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life.
3. I am letting go of this idea that in order to be worthy, I have to do everything.
I have a full-time job and a growing health coaching business, in addition to being a mother and a wife. I rarely allow myself to relax and just "be." My dad raised me to believe that relaxing is a sign of laziness. I now know this isn't true. We all deserve some time off to enjoy life. I don't have to constantly be doing something in order to be worthy. My idea of perfection also sets me up for failure every single time.
I am learning to let go of this idea that was put in my head at an early age. I am now allowing myself to relax without feeling guilty scheduling yoga into my day and taking time to just relax with my family.
What is it in your life that you are holding onto that isn’t serving you? What can you make a point to let go of and move forward in your life? I would love to hear them and wish you all the best in letting go of things that are not in your control so you can live a healthy, peaceful life.
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