Now that the year has now begun in earnest, life is back to juggling many demands and responsibilities. The freshness of the year is slowly fading but before the good intentions for 2020are being swallowed up by the stresses and pressures of a busy life, here is a reminder of what you could let go of to lighten the load and pave the way to more inner peace.
- Hurt and Anger: Who hurt, criticised or bullied you in the past? What still causes you to feel annoyed, offended or wounded? Let your mind remember one of these people in your life and everything that still rests painfully on your heart when you think of them. The harsh things they said, the unkind actions, the anger and hurt you still feel. The lot. Set a timer for 20 minutes and write it all down on a piece of paper. Don’t let your hand stop, keep writing. After 20 minutes stop, no matter what. Take the paper and with the clear intention to let go, destroy it. Repeat this the next day and the next. Then don’t write any more, let it go. You may want to do this with other people from your past but be sure to leave sometime between each of these exercises so that your inner peace can return a sustainable step at a time.
- Resentment: Yes, you have a right to be angry when someone takes something from you that you considered yours or takes advantage of you or is inconsiderate. Resentment represents the hurt that follows this kind of injury. But on a positive note it also shows that your moral compass is on track and you know what’s right and what isn’t for you; it confirms your boundaries. When you feel resentful commit to doing no harm to the one who has harmed you and don’t transfer your pain to them or anyone else. Take ownership of your feelings. Maybe it’s time to speak up; let the person know (kindly) how you feel and (if ok with you) hear them out as well. Or, if this is not an option, set your inner compass to cultivate forgiveness and compassion and take conscious steps in that direction.
- Shattered Dreams: It truly is hard when dreams shatter and your hopes for a particular future disintegrate. When a long held wish or vision fragments it can feel like the ground beneath the feet shifts suddenly and direction is lost. Coming to terms with shattered dreams is doubly hard when we feel it is someone else’s fault. But perhaps it’s true to say that hanging on to wishing that these dreams were still intact keeps us from making new ones. Honour what was and what was lost, make space for the feelings of loss and grief, hurt and anger. Share them with a friend or counsellor. Then let go, and let new dreams awaken. Draw, write, make mind maps and let your creative mind roam free and soon you will discover new possibilities.
- Self-doubt: Self-doubt is the troll inside your mind that gobbles up the goodness in your life. It eats achievement, chews happiness, consumes satisfaction and devours contentment. It disguises as caution or restraint, advice or timidity but ultimately drops its mask; just when you are about to take an optimistic step it steals away your courage. Letting go of self-doubt means learning to really back yourself. For better or worse, commit to be on your own team and resist the familiar pull to abandon your dreams, your wants and your hopes because of self-doubt. Let courage open inner doors to places of confidence and self-belief. Even if you ‘fail’ you will always feel good that you had your own back.
- Stress: Such a well-worn word and yet so real in everyday life. In essence stress is the imbalance between demand and resources. If time and again you hear yourself think, feel or say: I am so stressed, I don’ t know how to cope’ you need to re-evaluate. Take a piece of paper , draw a vertical line though the middle and name one side ‘demands’ (for example; family, work, health) and the other side ‘resources’( for example rest, fun, exercise). Don’t censor what you write just put it all down in as much detail as you can. Sit back and consider your two sides. Take your time. When transforming a high stress to a low stress life there are three main things you need to consider: choice, boundaries and courage.
Consider choice: You make choices, all day every day. Little ones, big ones, conscious ones, unconscious ones. The question is: are you choosing well? Step back and look at your life, be really honest. Then decide to welcome into your life what nourishes you, what serves you, what brings you joy. Let go of what adds pressure, burden or unhappiness. Now contemplate boundaries-what do you say yes to, what do you say no to? If your yardstick is peace of mind your boundaries need to support this. To act on choice and boundaries, you need courage. To back yourself and say no to demands and requests that don’t work for you takes courage. Remind yourself that while you will feel the sting of the other’s disappointment or even anger, you can bear it. People that respect, validate and support your boundaries are those you want in your life. And with those that don’t add value to your life practice choice, boundaries and courage and grow stronger and more resilient. And more peaceful.