This post is part of the Let it Go Project: a collection of stories leading up to a beautiful releasing ritual, hosted by Sas Petherick on the 30th of January. All the details for this free event are here. And you can take part! Be inspired by other posts in this project, and share what you are ready to let of of on the Let it Go Project Community Page!
This year I’m letting go of a story. It’s a story I’ve held onto too tightly for way too long. Probably since I was a child. It’s the story of I can’t. It goes something like this:
Oh, I can’t do that. I’m not independent or confident enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not a good enough writer. (Years ago, it was I’m not athletic enough. I’m not thin enough or pretty enough.)
Whenever I start something new or just think about it, my automatic response is that I can’t do it. It’s a slogan etched into my skin.
And it rolls off my tongue — my brain — so quickly, so easily. It’s a thought pattern that stays in the back of the line. Waiting. Hovering. Until it pushes and shoves itself to the front, pronouncing its arrival.
If ever I forget, I’m instantly reminded of about 20 reasons why I can’t do something.
Oh, I’d love to do that! Wait, a minute, are you sure you can? Remember that time when you were nervous and awkward. And the other time you outright fell flat on your face.
Remember how hard it was. How much easier it was just to sit home in your comfort zone, where you don’t embarrass yourself. Where you’re not a confused child or some fool.
You don’t even know how to do that. You don’t even know where to start. You’ll get lost. Like Always. Don’t be silly.
Yep, I can’t do that.
It’s a stubborn cycle that just confirms itself.
You think you can’t do something. You don’t. Then your theory is corroborated. Or you do something once or twice. You fail (you’re simply out of practice), and so, again, your belief gets backed up.
Or you’re able to do it. Maybe even beautifully. But you see it as a unique situation. A stroke of luck. A fluke.
This year I’m letting go of this paralyzing story. I’m viewing it as a leaf I’m simply dropping, letting the breeze pick it up and take it somewhere else. That’s the ease with which I want to relinquish this limiting story.
Beforehand, if I was working on letting something go, I’d do it with the same tightness I was using to hold onto it.
I’d berate myself for thinking this way. I’d get frustrated. I’d grit my teeth. I’d clench my jaw. I’d shake my head, disappointed, ashamed.
I’d try to fight it, turn it into some battle, or some object to overpower.
I’d spit out a series of questions: What’s wrong with you? Why are you like this?
It’d become a tug-of-war. It’d become just another stubborn, slimy cycle.
This year I’m accepting that I can’t thoughts have dominated my mind for most of my life. That they’re my automatic response whenever I venture into the unknown, into a potential hardship, into an exciting opportunity.
I accept that they exist, and I’m also ready to let them go. I’m letting that story slide away like rain on rocks. I’m letting that story pass like clouds in the sky.
I made it up. I wrote it. Sure, others helped a bit. But I filled in the details. I penned the various volumes.
And I can revise it. I can take the paper it’s written on, fold it into a plane, and let it fly.