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What do you need to let go of?

Blurred background of sea and sand with hand in the foreground letting sand seep through fingers

Today I sorted through my remaining possessions still cluttering up my parents’ house some 8 months after moving back in with them. I felt a bit apprehensive about discovering things I needed to decide whether to keep, put in storage or get rid of.

8 months ago, to go through it all felt like wading through treacle with a blanket over my head and I was a tad concerned that emotions may be stirred up this time around, although the blanket had definitely been discarded somewhere along the way. I actually finished the sorting in under 2 hours and it was easy. Easy to decide what to keep, what could go and as usual when I declutter, I felt content.

By content I mean a long exhale, a weight lifted from my shoulders, a lighter step, surprise at how easy the task was, and a realisation at just how much of a clear out I had already undertaken; there was nothing lurking to stir me up.

This got me to thinking that often on the journey to figuring out what to do next in life, we find we need to let go of some things. Things we may not even realise we are holding onto and others that we are fully aware we cling to for survival, for myriad reasons.

Looking back, I think the biggest thing I have had to let go of is the idea that living on my own in my own place whilst building a business means I have made it.

During the first lockdown over 2 years ago, I lasted 4 weeks on my own and then moved in with my parents. My emotional well-being was (as with many) being affected and I knew it wouldn’t go well with me to try and ride it out.

It was over a year later that I moved back to my place.

I lasted about 6 weeks.

All the old emotional struggles came flooding back, taking me by surprise – I thought these had been related to me wanting to change direction in my career and feeling unfulfilled which had long since dissipated having been made redundant and I had already embarked on my new adventure. So, what on earth were they doing smacking me round the head again?  

I eventually worked out that it was loneliness.

I could either stay and use all my energy on surviving, proving to myself (and everyone else) that I had everything together (something I had set as a success measurement for reasons I will go into another time) or I could use that energy to build my coaching business and enjoy the new rhythm of my life back with my parents.

I chose the latter.

I know what I need to support me – I meditate, workout, have acupuncture, have a coach and now have people around me – family and friends – and rather than hold myself together on my own, I am slowly practising using this support system when I feel vulnerable, something that is quite new to me.

Sometimes it can feel as if I have taken a backward step or I have somehow failed but I know that this choice has been what has enabled me to keep growing, learning and taking action to build my coaching business. It is also not what I would call the linear path to success.  Instead it is like moving from the motorway, which promises the most efficient route to the destination (backed up by the fact everyone else seems to be pounding along it), to a country road which has fewer cars, a much better view and more ease and space to enjoy the ride.

So, my challenge to you dear reader is to ask yourself where you may have a success measurement that is not serving you.

Let’s unpack the expectations you have of yourself:

  • What is it you think you should have achieved by now?
  • What should your life look like at this point?
  • What should you be able to handle?
  • What effect are these demands having on you?
  • Are they draining you or energising you?
  • What do you need to let go of so you can begin to allow yourself to direct your energy towards what it is you REALLY want to be doing?

Take your time answering these questions.  It can be tough to dig underneath a standard you have held yourself to for years.  

Allow yourself to mull over whatever comes up knowing that when we declutter and let go of things it makes space for the new, and that’s exciting.

Photo by unknown on Canva.