Letting Go! (1/7/2022)
If you’ve taken time to reflect on last week’s issue I hope you’ve decided on that “Just One Thing” you can do to take better care of yourself this year. While it may mean adding something new, it can also mean letting go of something that’s not working. In my eBook, Clean out the Junk Drawer in Your Mind and Heart, I write about the clutter we hang on to – usually stashed away in our favorite junk drawer. (My favorite is in the kitchen. Where’s yours?) Or we have a cluttered closet, storage room or attic space that’s filled to overflowing. (As three-year-old Caroline stated matter-of-factly, “Pops’ closet looks very nice. JeJe’s closet is a mess.”) Why do we hang on to it all, even though we know it needs to go? But who wants to spend time on that project when there are better things to do?
We hang on to “junk drawer thinking” too – those attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that keep us from being our best, make us doubt ourselves and add stress and anxiety to our lives. “I can’t do this… I’m not smart enough… I’m not strong enough… I’m not good enough… I should have… I could have…” (Fill in your favorite line here.)
“Junk drawer thinking” may involve a negative idea we’ve been carrying around that’s keeping us from becoming better, facing our fears, or becoming the person we want to be (or used to be). It may include feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, discouragement and disappointment, grief and loss, holding a grudge, staying angry, or struggling to forgive another person.. or to forgive ourselves. Those can be valid feelings, but when we continue to hold on to them for too long and can’t let them go, they keep us from moving forward.
If you’re struggling, it’s perfectly OK to ask for help. Talk with someone you trust. Some people think asking for help and support is a sign of weakness – that they should be “strong” enough to work through grief, pain, fear, anger, depression … and more… on their own. I’ve found the opposite to be true. It’s not usually the weak people who ask for help. It’s the strong ones who realize they can’t do it alone.
If you want to get serious about cleaning up your “junk drawer thinking” you first must admit that you own the junk (idea, attitude, or behavior) by uncovering it. Only then can you start figuring out what to do about it. Among your many choices, you can choose to:
· Admit to what’s not working.
· Make a decision to let it go.
· Refocus your priorities.
· Redirect your energy.
· Nurture healthy relationships with yourself and others.
· Focus on the people and issues that really matter.
Cleaning out the junk drawer in your mind and heart can take time and hard work. As you analyze your life and your relationships and decide what to keep and what to let go, you can pray, meditate and/or talk with someone. It’s also very helpful to talk to yourself! When you do, pay attention to what you hear. Whatever happens in our lives, we react not only to what happens but also to what we say to ourselves about it.
So grab a tablet and start working on your “letting go” list. Oh, and if you can’t find a pen… there’s probably one in your junk drawer.
Until next week…take good care,