I had an amazing conversation with one of my co-workers today who I happen to really look up to. She has this glow about her that I notice people have when they feel good about themselves and are self assured. She looked at me with a warm expression on her face and told me about a conversation she recently had with her oldest daughter about learning to let go.
I have always been the kind of person that takes things personally and has a hard time letting things go. Even worse yet, I make assumptions about what people think about me based on the negative self talk going on in my head constantly. The result has been hurt feelings (often times without basis) and a deep dependence on people’s approval. This has had a detrimental effect on my self esteem over the years.
I have been carrying around emotional baggage without even realizing how much it’s weighing me down emotionally and all because I have not learned to let go. So when this co-worker of mine tells me about how she’s teaching her daughter that if you want to live a fairly happy life you need to refuse to allow herself to carry around emotional baggage and that to do this you need to learn the art of letting things go, I began to worry. I have been doing the opposite. She concluded that if we don’t learn to do this you will suffer unnecessarily on top of the curb balls life is known to throw at you. And with this, a lightbulb went off in my head.
I realized that a lot of the things I am currently having a hard time with, I am causing by giving things more importance than they deserve. I am stubbornly holding on to old grudges, and hurt feelings that other people have probably long forgotten. I am letting the negative voice in my head run wild and come up with thoughts about myself that always lead to the same conclusion… that somehow, I am just not good enough.
My realization… I am carrying around all this emotional baggage and am suffocating under it. After our conversation I decided to sit with this realization and really think about it. What I found is that I have been caring way too much about so many things that I could seriously just chose to let go. And I really do care way too much about the dumbest things sometimes. For example, if one of my friends walks by and does not say hi, I immediately start speculating about what I did to make them mad or why I am not interesting enough to be taken notice of. And what’s really scary is that I do this all the time without even realizing it.
Today I realized that I don’t have to care about all of the things I have been giving so much importance to. I can chose not to care if someone was having a bad day and was short with me. I can chose not to care if the guy I was getting really excited about getting to know has not responded to the text I sent days ago. I can chose not to care about what that negative voice in my head has to say about me. I can chose to let things go, even if it’s just for the sake of saving myself some needless suffering. After realizing this, I felt a jolt of joy rush through me, like I just discovered some hidden secret to happiness. I sat a bit longer noticing myself feel lighter as I found new things to let go of. I have been given a new tool that I know will help me in my quest to live a happier life and I truly hope you take some time to think about it as well so it can help you too.