We’re fantastic at holding onto things longer than we should. Art projects, cooking ingredients, jobs, partners. I’ve definitely had to work on how long I’ll hoard and hold onto things. When you’ve spent so much time, money and heart, investing and working hard to have it, how do you know when to let something go?
Most of us have encountered that sense of failure when we’ve had to give up on something we set out to do. It’s not always as big of a commitment as marriage. It could be an art project you told your kid that you’d help them with, or a fundraising event that you said you’d contribute to.
You may had every intention on following through, but there comes a point where you just have to outweigh the cost of continuing to sink energy into trying to do it, or just releasing it and letting it go.
When should you be doing it?
If you find yourself in a place where it just doesn’t fit anymore, don’t think about what you’re giving up by leaving. Think about what you could be missing out on if you don’t set yourself free. Following your heart might seem like the biggest cliché, and sure, mine’s got me into a lot more trouble than I can count, but more often that not, it was actually my head that kept me miserable in situations I had no business staying in.
Whether it’s because I told myself I didn’t deserve better, let the fear and anxiety of what life would be like get the better of me, or got fixated on the amount of time I’d spent trying to make something work and didn’t want to miss that last minute miraculous turn around where it would suddenly work out.
News flash. That one never happens no matter how long you stay. If by some chance it did, you’d probably be so resentful about all the opportunities you’ve missed out on or what you had to go through to get there, that you won’t even be able to enjoy it.
It can sneak up on you when you’re not expecting it
Maybe you bought a house that you thought was going to be a fantastic investment, but it just led to being more trouble than it was worth. Perhaps you dropped money on a coach that seemed to take you around in circles and didn’t live up to the hype. Or did you marry a man that you kept telling yourself would change, even though your heart knew he wouldn’t?
It could even be goals that you set for yourself a long time ago, ones that have been on your vision board (or your List) that for the longest time, you held yourself accountable for. Those were what built your plan, your direction. Until one day you wake up and realise that you’re not even sure you want to follow that yellow brick road anymore.
I talked about it in Now Get Back Up repeatedly, but here it is again. You’re. Allowed. To. Change. Your. Mind.
Shame doesn’t kick in right away
The shame that comes up isn’t always immediate. In the moment, there might be this feeling of instant relief once you say what needs to be said and you take the pressure off yourself. It can creep in later, when you’re not expecting it. Haunting you, telling you that you should have been able to make it work, commenting on everything that is wrong with you because you weren’t able to. It might tell you it makes you fickle, or you could be scared to tell people around you because you’re not ready to hear what they think about the situation.
The truth is, there are times that its not worth trying to make it work because either it never worked in the first place or you’ve just completely outgrown it like a snake shedding its skin. As I mentioned in “The Fear of Expectations” you can’t look at the time you invest as a waste, as there’s always a lesson to be learned along the way.
It’s not the outcome that you should be appreciating, but rather the moments it took to get there. Instead of thinking about the time that you wasted on something that didn’t work, give yourself the credit for how long and what you did to try and make it work before you realized when it was time to let something go.
Imagine what you could do with that energy once it’s not being used on something that no longer suits you?
You have to accept when to let something go
Even amongst those who get sneak peeks from the future, none of us have the capacity to see everything coming up for us. Life would become incredibly boring if we knew all the spoilers and we’d just try to prove it wrong anyway. So if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in place because of everything that you’ve put in, but you know, deep down, that it makes you miserable?
Give yourself permission to stop trying to make it work. Everything you’ve been wanting could be right around the corner just waiting for you to stop settling and lift your standards.
Dana Maree xx