We live in a world where we are conditioned to acquire, accumulate and hold on to things. Why? If we don’t hold on to things, then we will be without it. If we are without it, our lives would inadvertently be terrible. We learn to keep, store away some extras for the just in case moments, save for the rainy day and over time, we find it hard to let of things that we have accumulated.
Holding on to things is just one form of “hoarding”. We not only hold on to tangible things, but we also have the tendency to hold on to the intangible. We hold on to intangible things like memories both good and bad, experiences and learnings that shape and guide us, successes and failures and the list goes on. There are many things that we should hold on to especially those things that are special, powerful, positive, life empowering, life changing lessons and the like. There are also many toxic and destructive things that we hold on to that will over time lead you down a path that is self-destructive and self-sabotaging.
The things that you should learn to let go off are:
1. Destructive or Toxic thoughts and emotions.
2. Past actions and regrets
3. Things that you are not able to hold on anyway.
Let’s break it down.
Destructive or Toxic Thoughts and Emotions
Anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred. Yes, the dreaded toxic thoughts and emotions. We know that they are bad for you and yet, find it so difficult to let go off and to move on from them. Why is that?
It is a complex issue that does not have any very good answer or a magic bullet that is able to solve it. It is one where therapist, psychologist, and counsellor deals with every day with their patients.
I am not going to pretend to know the answer. The issues are complex, and the solution could be just as complex. However, at the end of any solution is the need to let go. The “how-to” let go, is where the complexities come in. The key is in choice. It is a choice to let go. You have to start the process of letting go with a choice. A choice to let go. A choice to forgive. A choice to move forward. A choice to focus on something better. A choice to replace the toxic thoughts with life-empowering thoughts. A choice needs to be made.
You are the only one who is able to make that choice. Choose life or death. That is literally the choice that you are making in this area.
Past actions or regrets
For most of us, there is always one thing or another that we wish that we could have done differently. For some, the choices that we made in the past were regrettable and that is the baggage that we are carrying. We are carrying the baggage of the past with us everyday and if that weight is not heavy enough, we will add on to it.
We can’t change the past. There is nothing that you can do today or tomorrow that will change what you did in the past. The choice that you are making to continue to hold on to the past, and not just holding onto to the past, you are adding to the past regrets, will not only hold you back but prevents you from ever moving forward.
The only thing that you and I can do is to change our today and tomorrow. You are able to change your today when you choose to let go of the past, stop carrying the baggage of the past actions and regrets, let it go, and only then can you see and choose the future that you want to have.
You can only carry one thing at a time, either your past or your future. You cannot do both. Let go of the past to embrace the future. This too starts with a choice. The choice here is to forgive yourself. To be kind to yourself. To be your own cheer squad especially when you don’t have one at the moment.
Things that you cannot hold on anyway..
Have you encountered this situation when you decide to use something that you have not used for a long time like a watch, only to realise that it does not work anymore? You would only encounter that problem if you had more than one watch. The “extras” that you have are those that because of neglect and lack of use, will spoil or rust or degrade faster than the things that you are constantly using regardless of how expensive or cheap the things are.
It is the excesses of life that will usually fade, rust, degrade and spoil. For example, milk that you drink everyday will not reach its expiry or sour because you would have consumed it before then. It is the food that is tucked at the back of the fridge that will spoil. It is the excess that causes the waste. It is the reality of things. Nothing last forever, nor should they.
An important lesson that I was taught a long time ago was this, if your hands are closed and holding tightly onto something that you believe is good, you will never be able to receive something even better because closed hands are not able to take in anything else or more. To hold on to things with an open hand allows you to enjoy the present, with what you have and then, when the time comes, the next even better thing because your hands are open and ready to receive.
Do not hold on to the things that are destructive, toxic and negative, your past actions and regrets and things that you cannot hold on to anyway, no matter how hard you try.
Live a life with hands open wide, appreciate what you have and be ready to receive even better things to come.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life. Let’s step into the everyday with purpose. As always, please subscribe, follow and share this podcast with your friends. Take care and step into the everyday with purpose.