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Ahhh Spring has arrived--the season infamous for goal-setting and "fresh beginnings", sort of like the second chance after failing at New Year's Resolutions (jokes!). But now that the weather's warmer and the flowers are blooming, it makes sense that we want to be synonymous with nature: we crave for growth and newness after a long, cold Winter. Plus it's a lot more motivating to exercise when the sun is shining!
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to start a three-part series called "Spring Cleaning Your Life" based on a few little things I learned in my life about welcoming change. I'm so excited! So please, allow me to join you in your goal-accomplishing endeavors. Together we can make some great progress! :)
This week's theme is: Letting Go.
I read an article about Spring Cleaning that talked about (literally) cleaning out one's closet as a way of "clearing out the old and making room for the new." It carried so much truth. It was like gardening: you have to clear out the weeds in order for new plants to bloom. Often the reason we make little progress is not because we are incapable of it, but because we're holding on to unnecessary baggage. After all, how can we embrace what the world has in store for us when our arms are too full?
1) Let go of self-imposed limitations
"I can do anything I set my mind on." How many of us have heard that one before? Or better yet, how many of us actually live by it? I was absolutely NOT one of those people who lived by it (I'm still working on it now!). I used to live by what I thought was "realistic" of me, only tackling things based on what I thought I "could" or "could not" do. But recently I realized how wrong I had been; after an entire semester of tackling new things that I perceived were "too big" for me--things I never would've imagined myself doing--I learned that I was way more capable that I ever thought!
That's the danger of imposing limitations on ourselves: how can we be sure that we can't do something if we haven't tried? So this is the challenge for all of us: to give ourselves a chance to prove ourselves wrong when it comes to our self-imposed limitations. There may be a lot of obstacles in our way, but we don't have to be one of them.
2) Let go of inaccurate self-perceptions
It's natural for us to change as human-beings. But sometimes we get so caught up in living a certain way, or perceiving ourselves a certain way, that we don't even recognize the changes that have occurred within us! It's important to keep up with ourselves.
I, for one, was surprised to find that old attitudes I once carried no longer suited me anymore. The labels I had given myself were suddenly inaccurate, and the attributes people noticed about me were suddenly different from anything I would've described myself with before. It's like my heart had changed before my mind could catch up!
So here's the challenge: Let your old self-perceptions wilt so that new ones can emerge. If your desires have changed, let them be! It's okay :)
3) Let go of failure & rejection
Failure and rejection are inevitable--we have all gone through it, and will continue to go through it! But it is important that we don't let them inhibit us from embracing the present and future. If you have failed at one point in your life, do not be ashamed: instead, hold your head up high and know that you are a better person because you have learned a lesson. It's time to seek forgiveness from others, including ourselves.
This is real life: things rarely ever occur perfectly. Instead, let us learn to laugh at imperfections, to acknowledge when things have gone wrong and to let it slide. What really prevented me from getting discouraged was having the attitude of "brushing things off"--sometimes we really do just have to keep calm and carry on when it comes to things we have no control over. In the end, we'll find that things really aren't as "catastrophic" as we perceived them to be. Just move on.
4) Let go of people who bring you down
The cold, hard truth is that we can't please everybody. There will be those who constantly reject us no matter how respectful we are to them. Don't be afraid to decide that these people are no longer worth your effort, energy, or time to gain their acceptance. Invest, instead, on the people who do accept you unconditionally, even if this means sacrificing quantity for quality.
As our values change, the crowds we've hung around all these years may no longer match ourselves. Have the courage to leave them behind and surround yourself with people who match who you are and what you believe in--people who will ultimately bring you up.
And finally, for all those who have hurt you in the past--forgive them, even if they never deserved it. It's the final step to fully letting go.
That's it for "Part 1" of this series -- stay tuned for next week's "Part 2"! Feel free to leave any comments below, & please share this blog if you feel inclined! Happy Spring! :)