We need certain items, objects, habits, and perspectives at different points in our lives, during different phases and circumstances. And then we need to let them go.
Because we outgrow them. Because we change and so do our goals, styles, likes, dislikes, priorities, values. Because we need to make space for something new.
The thing we need to relinquish could be as small as a book (e.g., a dusty diet cookbook) or an article of clothing (a too-small or too-worn pair or pants).
It could be as big as no longer bashing yourself or saying yes to everything.
It could be as pivotal as a belief about yourself (e.g., you can’t control your circumstances; you’re unworthy; you need to diet to be healthy and worthy; you have to feel guilty for taking care of yourself).
Think of the different items in your life, everything from the books on your shelves to the cookware in your cabinets to the artwork on your walls to the clothes in your closet. Pay attention to the beliefs you have about yourself and about how the world should work. Pay attention to your habits and routines. What do you do in the morning, afternoon, and night? How do you fall asleep? What do your days look like?
Then reflect on the below questions to see if it’s time to let some of them go:
- Does it reflect my current values?
- Does it reflect my current intentions, aspirations, and priorities?
- Does it fulfill me?
- Is it nourishing me physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually?
- Does it inspire me?
- Do I even like it or enjoy using it?
- Is this sinking my energy?
- Is it sinking my mood?
- Has it stopped working (literally or figuratively)?
- Is this leading me where I want to go? (Where do I want to go?)
We typically don’t let things go because at one point they were useful….and helpful and comforting and fulfilling (or, at the very least, they were ours). So we feel guilty. We criticize ourselves for being ungrateful.
But we can be thankful for an object’s service, even a belief’s service—and still relinquish them. We can be thankful for self-limiting beliefs for trying to protect us and keep us safe. We can be thankful for an old pair of jeans that once made us feel beautiful (but simply no longer works). We can even be thankful for the dusty diet cookbook—thankful that we no longer need it, thankful that it helped us realize just how unnecessary it really is.
We can be thankful, and we can move on.
Of course, moving on isn’t always easy or straightforward. It may not be as easy as tossing a dusty, old book into the trash. But remember that saying that you’re ready to relinquish something is the first step. And it’s a powerful one. After all, it requires being honest with yourself.
After you’ve made your declaration, consider what resources you can turn to for help in letting go—your spouse, a therapist, a self-help book. And give yourself permission to do it.
What can you be thankful for—and still relinquish, maybe even right now?