Why do we hold on to people, places and things that limit our growth? From relationships that no longer serve us, to guilt for things we can’t change, to grudges whose cause have long been forgotten, we fail to “let it go.”
It’s time to clean house! And we are going to start by unloading all the unnecessary baggage we hold on to that clutters our thinking and our lives.
A couple of weeks ago I had a yard sale. I decided to finally purge my closet of all the clothes that were in the “one day I will fit back into them” category. This was an incredibly difficult process for me. In my distorted thinking, letting go of these too small items was like saying to myself, “I give up!” The reality is, if—and it’s a hefty if—I ever get down to my early 2000s weight, I can buy new clothes! And no, I am not skirting (get it?) over the fact that twenty-year-old items hung in infamy in my closet. In my defense, I’ve been alive enough decades to know that everything comes back into style at some point.
So, why do we hold on to things that not only limit our growth, but no longer fit? Because letting go equals change. And change is scary. For example, my niece went through her toys that she no longer played with or outgrew and included them in the yard sale. At first, she was excited about the potential earnings she would make that would allow her to purchase new and improved toys. As the day rolled on, I noticed a stockpile of her old toys were back in the garage.
When we let go of things—even when they no longer fit; or, we no longer play with them; or, they no longer serve us -- we are letting go of a time that no longer is and a piece of us that no longer will be. The uncertainty of it all can be paralyzing. Instead of stepping into the abyss of the unknown, we curl up in the comfort of familiarity. In my niece’s case, letting go of the old toys would equal accepting the reality that she is growing up.
Author John C. Maxwell once said, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” You can NOT control change. It is going to happen regardless of how hard you try to hold on. What you do have control over is how you approach change.
The following are a few tips on how you can let go of people, places and things that limit your growth:
1. Acceptance- Repeat each day, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Acceptance is the first step on your journey of growth.
2. Change your Mindset- Once you accept the fact the change is inevitable, you can begin to seek and embrace the benefits that come from letting go. Opportunities present themselves to us every day; unfortunately, fear prevents us from seeing what is often right in front of us.
3. Set Yourself FREE- Work on your self-worth. Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with positive body image and perfectionism. Letting go of my “skinny” clothes that no longer fit was a step forward in letting go of the unrealistic and unattainable 20-year-old me and embracing the healthier, stronger and happier 50-year-old me. Once you accept and believe you are worthy and good enough, the people, places and things that are weighing you down will be much easier to rid of.
I want to challenge you to start your spring cleaning today. List all the areas of your life that are no longer benefiting you, accept that you no longer need it in your life and open yourself to all the opportunities for growth that awaits you.