I’ve been thinking a lot lately about needing a change. I’m not at a major milestone time of my life and nothing has recently changed, but I’m feeling compelled to figure out something new for myself.
I know we all go through different times in our life when it seems as if we’re destined to make decisions about our life, our work, our goals, etc. This happens while deciding what you want to do as a career choice, where you want to live, how you want to live, what to study, etc. But have you done this just randomly? Have you ever just had this nagging feeling that you need to do something different, to change something in your life? Do you pay attention to it?
We all have a built-in intuition about what’s best for ourselves. We might not always hear it and we sometimes just ignore it, but it’s there. We inherently know what we should be doing but we may not have the money, the time, or the circumstances to accommodate it. Sometimes we can make small changes to quiet that voice for a while.
Every now and then, though, we’re afforded an opportunity to make a REAL change in our life. Most of us spend our lives doing what we have to do and what we’re supposed to do. We go to school, we work, we raise families and take care of the hundreds of things that need doing. What do we do for ourselves though? What is it that makes you YOU? What inspires you? What makes you happy? What is it that touches your heart and speaks to your soul? Give yourself some time to think about all the feelings that come up when you ask yourself these questions.
I think it’s important to listen to that voice when it speaks to you. Make whatever changes you can to honor that voice, whether it’s a tiny little change in your daily routine or a monumental life choice; it doesn’t matter! Listen to your Voice. Listen to your Self.
Give Yourself a Hug
What if, this New Year’s Day, instead of listing all the things that we want to change about ourselves, we instead make a list of all the things that we are proud of ourselves for?
This does not come easily for some of us. We are so used to telling ourselves that we are too fat, don’t do enough, or that we are just not good enough for somebody or something; that we don’t deserve it. This is self-defeating and self-fulfilling. It has been proven that our thoughts directly impact our feelings. Far too many of us say negative things to ourselves throughout the day. What if, instead, we start telling ourselves how beautiful we are exactly as we are and how proud we are of ourselves for the things we have accomplished?
How many times, when we go out to eat or go the refrigerator to get food, do we say to ourselves “do I really need that?” or “I should not be eating this; I’m already overweight.”. When you look in the mirror when getting ready to go somewhere, do you think to yourself “Wow! I look great!” or do you look and say “I really need to lose some weight” or “I wish I were prettier”? When are we good enough? Even though you are exhausted by the end of the week because you’re juggling work, home, maybe kids, pets, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc., do you think you did enough? We spend our weeks getting stuff done so that we can enjoy a few hours of rest and relaxation. During that time, do you think to yourself that you’ve done a great job all week or do you think about things that may be left undone or feel that you could have or should have done better?
This has been a rough time for all of us. We all carry a lot of emotion about the times we are living in, ranging from confusion to anger to fright and impatience. This takes a toll on our emotional, mental, and physical health. The least we can do is be kind to ourselves and, in turn, to each other. Let’s just be enough for a change.
For this upcoming year, instead of making a list of things wrong with us, let’s instead make a list of all the things that are right with us! Are you kind? Are you helpful to a friend or neighbor? Are you the go-to person in your group of friends or family for advice or for support? Have you tried to be patient with people during these stressful times? These are just a few things that should make us proud of ourselves! Just surviving these past couple of years with the chaos of work, covid, stress, fear, and anxiety is worthy of honoring and respecting ourselves!
Before the new year starts, think about all the good things about yourself and your life. Be appreciative of who you are and what you do. Instead of physical attributes, jot down the values that are most important to you. How many of them do you practice? Honor the good parts of you. It’s fine to think about what you want to change; it’s how we grow and improve as human beings. Just don’t live there.
Wishing us all a very Happy New Year and a year filled with happiness!
How do you know when it’s time to let go of something? Is there a right answer?
We spend so much of our lives trying to get stuff, from clothes to cars to jobs to relationships, that I think it’s somewhat against our nature to let things go. There comes a time, though, that we have to dispose of things that we’ve accumulated for our own well-being. When it no longer serves its purpose or no longer feels good, it’s likely time to let it go.
What are some things that we might consider getting rid of? Hard feelings, toxic relationships, objects that don’t make us feel good anymore, negative feelings that are getting in the way of personal growth or contentment. There are a number of other things that can affect our lives that we should consider dismissing from our lives.
It seems that I’ve been on a purging expedition for the past few years. I’ve reexamined relationships, living environment, finances, emotions and feelings as well as my general “stuff” that I’ve spent decades accumulating. I’m not sure that there’s necessarily one reason why we do this. Rather, I think it’s a gradual process that we go through and sometimes we’re just more aware of it than others. In my case, I think it’s a combination of events including illness, financial necessity, reprioritization of what’s important to me, and capping it off with a milestone birthday (i.e., ageing!).
We all have things that we hold onto that we know we should get rid of. Sometimes it’s emotional, like anger, grief, or resentment. Those things take a toll on us, emotionally and physically. Sometimes we’re able to process these things and move forward with our lives. Sometimes we get stuck in a perpetual replay of whatever incidents caused these feelings. Sometimes we need longer to process something that happened and that’s okay. At some point, though, we know that we’ll have to let it go, to move forward and start healing. That can mean mending a problem that we’re dealing with in order to move in a more positive direction. We can do this by letting go of something or someone or by actively addressing the problem itself. Making a decision and taking action at all is positive.
Sometimes we have ideas, principles, or beliefs that we hold dear to our heart, those things that define us; who we are, what we stand for. These things are really hard to change but sometimes we have to examine them and determine if they’re still appropriate or right for us. If you start feeling uncomfortable about things that you do or things that you think or say, it’s letting you know that perhaps those things no longer belong in your life. Our culture and our surroundings are always changing and what you used to think may no longer be applicable. It’s up to us to ensure that we are self-aware and behave according to our norms and morals. Additionally, as we age and as our life circumstances change, so do our beliefs or the things that we expect in our life. How we think about things at 15 isn’t how our circumstances are reflected when we’re 35 and certainly different than when we’re 65. Things that we experience, people that we meet, and things that happen to us throughout our life will, of course, affect the way we view things. We SHOULD be changing our beliefs and ideas about things. If we didn’t, we would always be disappointed! It’s important to let go of things that we thought should happen or we wished would have happened. We have one life to live and we need to move forward. We need to adapt our own beliefs and ideas to the person that we actually ARE and that may not be the person you expected to be.
Then there’s our STUFF. I’m a person that had (has) boxes of the kids’ stuff in my attic. Every card I received was something that I loved and wanted to keep. I have mementos from vacations and wear a t-shirt to bed that I got at Niagara Falls probably 20 years ago (OMG, I just realized it was that old). I like my stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hoarder and it’s all put away somewhere, but I have a hard time parting with things that mean something to me.
We keep things for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s simply because of where/when we received it (vacations, memorable times, etc.). Sometimes it’s because of the person that gave it to us; perhaps they’re no longer with us or you identify that person with the item. Sometimes it reminds us of better times and we hate to get rid of it. There are any number of reasons that we hold onto things and lots of them are good reasons. There are some things, however, that would benefit us to let go of.
If you’re holding onto clothes from 10 years ago because you might fit into them again, you’re constantly thinking about how you DON’T fit in them now, which is defeating.
If you’re holding onto every single piece of paper your kid brings home, trust me when I say that you’ll be able to remember their accomplishments and their personality 30 years later without looking at that picture they made in kindergarten. If you order just the school pictures you need instead of the full package just to throw away 90% of them, you’re not a bad parent. Don’t let guilt guide your decision. You don’t need to keep or buy everything!
Old batteries and light bulbs are a great example of keeping things just to keep them! How many times have you replaced either of those and held onto the spares because they MIGHT still be good and you MIGHT be able to use them at some point? No more! I’m throwing them away…starting today.
I just let go of my treadmill and exercise bike. If I had to guess, I would say that I’m not the only one with exercise equipment in my home that isn’t used (or used much). I tried to get in the habit of using them, I really did. When I walked past it, I would occasionally walk for a bit or spend some time on the bike, but it was more out of guilt than it was enjoyment or even for the benefit of exercise. I was defiant in holding onto it, though. I kept convincing myself that I would soon be in the habit of using them every day, or at least every couple of days. Why? Because I wanted to be that person! I really wanted to be the person that exercised a few times a week and was fit and toned and healthy! I wanted to be dedicated enough to stick to it and see results. Sadly, I’m not that person.
Many times, we hold onto things, not because of the things themselves, but for what they represent. To me, that bike and treadmill represented success, diligence, and health. That’s a lot of pressure for exercise equipment. The fact that I had to admit that I don’t have the dedication I expected is something that I finally dealt with. The fact that I had to admit that I’m not physically able to use those things on a regular basis (and likely will never be) was a lot harder to accept. It was something that I’ve been trying to ignore for awhile now. That part makes me sad. So in getting rid of these two items, I’m releasing the guilt and the sadness that I lived with daily when I saw them and reminded me that I didn’t live up to my own expectations. Good riddance!
In the end, not everything is worth hanging onto, from our thoughts to our belongings. Be choosy about what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, and what you’re holding onto. Not everything benefits you. We all have things that we have to deal with. Sometimes the best course is to keep something and other times, it’s to release it. When it’s time to let it go, take a deep breath and just DO IT!
Everybody has something to deal with, whether it’s chronic pain, illness, injury, stress, or trauma. I have some limitations in my life due to chronic illness. I won’t bore you with all the details of how chronic illness is defined or what it means. I won’t explain the names of the illnesses with which I live. Everybody has their own problems, ailments, and other struggles that they live with. Mine are certainly better than some and, for that, I’m grateful.
Having said that, I feel that it’s also beneficial to raise awareness for the struggles that people live with, whether the limitations are physical, mental, or emotional. I feel like they’re all intertwined anyway. For sure, when I feel physically depleted, I also feel angry or depressed or sad (or all 3). Sometimes my thinking is adversely affected and I don’t trust myself to make important decisions or even drive. My anxiety ramps up even more than usual. Conversely, if I’m feeling down or thinking less clearly, it also seems to magnify the physical aspect of my conditions. Being affected like this means that I’m incapable of functioning at my best. Continue reading “Life with Limitations”
Throughout our lives, we come across times of change, whether we looked for it or not and whether we want it or not. Obviously, how we react to these changes will affect the next portion of our life.
Some changes are easier to react to than others. For instance, if we actively decide to make a change for the better (new job with better hours, more pay, or a better location or a new house/apartment, new relationship, etc.), the change is much easier to live with. You’ve made the choice yourself and you’re benefiting from the change in a positive way. Does this mean everything is rosy? Nope. Continue reading “Change Happens, Ready or Not”