As the tree drops its dead leaves each fall, we also have the opportunity to let go of what is heavy for us and no longer serving. And why not follow the course of nature and take advantage of the fall to clean up, before making way for the new year…
When we let go of what blocks us, what harms us or what we tolerate in spite of ourselves, we can then see more clearly what we really want and make choices aligned with who we are and who we want to become.
By creating this space, we open ourselves up to new possibilities that we might not have imagined, as long as we remain open and receptive to what comes our way.
Here are four categories to consider when starting this audit:
A behaviour can be useful or non-useful. Let’s take the example of being late; it’s a behavior that is not-useful most of the time. It’s not pleasant for others who are waiting for us and becomes a source of stress for ourselves especially if it’s chronic.
Sometimes, the same behaviour can be both useful and harmful, depending on it’s degree; there’s a tipping point. Demonstrating perseverance, for example, can help us achieve our goals or find a solution to a difficult challenge. In other words, enable us to succeed. What happens when perseverance turns into stubbornness and makes us continue on a path that is not optimal? We run the risk of being exhausted, of missing out on more profitable or easier opportunities, of creating damage along the way, of losing sight of our global vision and of inheriting negative consequences. It’s important to have enough self-awareness and wisdom to distinguish when a useful behaviour is becoming non-useful and when to let it go before it becomes harmful.
What behaviours are you ready to release?
Why do we keep certain objects? Because we really love them, that they bring us joy, that we find them beautiful, that we feel good in their presence ? Or is it by attachment to the nostalgic memory they represent, by fear of hurting the person who gave them to us, out of habit, because we don’t even see them anymore?
Objects are symbols that can brighten or dampen our environment. And we don’t always realize how much. If you love them and they are broken, take the time to fix them. If they accumulate dust and there cluttering you, if each time you look in their direction they remind you of a person or event that does not make you feel good, dispose of them. And if you don’t see them anymore, look at them and decide whether to keep them or not. Take a trip around your basement if you have one; you could discover some treasures that have been buried in your subconscious …
What thoughts do you have that no longer need to be?
The state in which a thought puts us in and what it attracts to us is the distinguishing factor od it being useful or harmful. Thoughts are one of the few things that we control; they are a choice.
Let’s say the company you work for is restructuring and you get laid off. You can say to yourself: “What did I do to deserve this, it’s not fair, I gave everything to this company, and that’s how they thank me? “…. or … You can choose the option of thinking: “You know what?This is good timing for a new challenge, it’s just the little push I needed to improve my situation ”
Choose the thoughts you want to nurture; let the other ones go.
- Do you ever feel exhausted after spending time with someone? Or have a negative emotional or physical reaction in certain people’s presence?
- Do you know people who criticize you, put you down, make you feel guilty or not good enough?
- Do these people bring out the worst in you or are you constantly having to impose your limits?
- Do certain people you hang out with, act in ways opposite to your most important values?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to make new friends …
What are you tolerating in your life that you no longer want to tolerate? Tolerance in its general definition refers to the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.
Start by releasing the easy stuff first and go step by step to the most difficult. You could start by throwing away that pair of shoes that has no more soles. During the process you’ll build up confidence and detachment, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and that you have a real impact on your state of being and your environment.