2020 taught us all a ton of lessons: washing your hands is important and should be prioritized, never take seeing your loved ones for granted, and that it’s okay to let go of things, habits, people, etc. that aren’t serving you anymore. Let’s face it, sometimes we hold onto something because we think it’s the noble thing to do, or we simply do it without even realizing it.
It happens to everyone
Have you ever held onto an old t-shirt for so long that you’re not even sure if you actually like it or if you’ve just grown accustomed to seeing it in your drawer? Regardless of why you hold onto it, it continues to sit there, taking up space as you repeatedly grab for other things. The reality is that a lot of times this happens without even realizing it – it’s a slow progression from reaching for the shirt all the time to never grabbing for it at all. The same can happen with virtually anything, and it happens to everyone.
We’re all unique, which means that the specific things we need to let go of will be totally unique to our individual needs. However, with that said, there are 10 things that likely everybody needs to get rid of – let’s chat about those.
10 Things You Need to Let Go Of
1. The idea that you’re behind
There isn’t one specific, single path that everyone needs to follow to live a successful and fulfilling life, yet, for some reason, we seem to tell ourselves there is. We think that if we don’t do things in a specific order or timeline, then we’re somehow behind or less than. You need to let go of this to realize that we are all on our own journey, and things will work out the way they’re meant to. Somebody else’s success does not take away from your own.
2. The feelings that you’re not good enough
Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Hands down, we are our own worst critic – we have this tendency to pick ourselves apart and notice things that nobody else would ever see. The problem is that when we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are not good enough or that we are less than, we are going to believe it’s true. When we believe something is true, our subconscious brain looks for confirmations to prove it. Let go of this idea that you are not good enough, and instead, focus on realizing that you can accomplish literally anything you set your mind to.
3. The constant need to please others
Being human means that we’re social creatures, so unless you are a sociopath, you’re going to want to treat others well – this is an important part of life. Where this becomes an issue, however, is when we let these feelings take over our lives and become more focused on pleasing others, and push our own needs to the side. We need to remember that everyone has their own unique interests, likes, and dislikes, so it would be entirely impossible to always please everybody. Let go of the excessive need to do this, and instead, focus on cultivating healthy relationships through setting healthy boundaries.
Also read: 10 Healthy Boundaries
4. Constantly comparing yourself to others
Social media has created entirely new pressure when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. The reality is that we only ever see what someone shows us, which means we never fully see the complete picture. Comparing ourselves to others can be an extremely unhealthy game to play that nobody can win. Let go of this desire to compare yourself to others. Focus your attention on creating the life you dream of as opposed to analyzing somebody else’s life.
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5. The belief that you need to do everything on your own
Depending on your past, it can be easy to get sucked into the idea that you need to do everything alone. The reality is that there are always resources out there to get help – sometimes you just need to know where to look. Identify your needs and see if anything can be delegated to others. This could look like recruiting a friend or family member, or even hiring outside help where necessary. For example, see if your neighbour can watch your kids for an hour so you can get caught up on chores, pick up dinner if you’re too tired to cook, or ask a friend to help you organize your garage.
Whether we may realize it or not, our internal world shapes the external world around us. This may sound like a strange or foreign concept, but the reality is that we create more of what we focus on. For example, let’s say you paint a fence and step back to admire your work – everything looks perfect. Then, someone comes over and points out a spot you missed, and you suddenly can’t see anything else. The same can happen with the negativity in our own life – it is easy to get caught up in the struggles or hardships that we forget to see all of the progress we’ve made. This isn’t to say that we should live in a fantasy world and ignore our responsibilities, but it is to say that it’s good to let go of the negativity we carry around regularly. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself, and focus on all that life has to offer.
7. The fear of the change/the unknown
Let’s face it, nothing stays the same forever, and embracing change isn’t always the most comfortable thing in the world. Change tends to bring about growth, which is essential for both our wellbeing and personal development, but not always easy to see at the time. We need to remember that sometimes it can be more painful to hold onto the past than to embrace change as it happens. Let go of the idea that change is always scary or difficult and try to embrace it where possible.
8. Holding onto grudges
Life isn’t always perfect, and sometimes we struggle with letting go of events or people that have hurt us. The thing we need to remember about holding grudges is that they’re not so great for our mental and physical health, so the best thing we can do is to let go of them. This isn’t to say that you need to forget about what happened, or even be okay with it, but rather, to find peace within yourself.
9. Toxic people
Toxic people can show up in our lives in a ton of different ways, sometimes without us even realizing it. We may feel obligated to hold onto these relationships because we’re afraid to let someone go or hurt them in the process, and while we should aim to always be kind with how we do things, sometimes we need to prioritize our own needs. This could look like setting healthy boundaries, taking a break from people or situations, or even letting them go altogether.
Also read: Toxic Positivity
There’s a story about a Native American grandfather who is explaining to his grandson that everybody has two wolves: one is full of peace, kindness, and love, whereas the other one is full of fear, greed, and hatred. The boy asks his grandfather which wolf will win, to which the grandfather responds, “the one you feed.” The reality is that, yes, we all have the potential to hate and get upset about things, but we also have the potential to love and be kind. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t ever be upset about something or ignore your feelings – it just means that when you focus your attention on the good, the good gets better.