January 19th, 2016
Have you thought a little bit about your life? What you want, what you need? Who you wish to be?
If you are just joining us, you probably haven’t given those questions much thought. This is part two of my five-part series on The Art of Letting Go. If you have not done so, visit my piece on reflection, and then return here to learn about the pivotal awareness step.
The Art of Letting Go: A 5-Part Series
- Reflection: Learning who you are and who you want to be
- Awareness: Understanding the changes that need to occur
- Forgiveness: Making peace with your and others’ mistakes
- Acceptance: Leaving the familiar and embracing the unknown
- Balance: Making steps 1-4 apart of your life; continue to grow
If you have already read about reflection, then you have likely spent some time contemplating what makes you happy in life…and what doesn’t. Maybe you have reflected on your own hopes, dreams and standards, and you’ve developed a better relationship with yourself. Maybe you’ve thought about how fear is keeping you from moving on from unhealthy relationships, careers, financial situations or friendships. Maybe you even have your own mantra by now.
From Reflecting to Planning
Self-reflection is the first step of letting go because you find out who you are and who you want to be. Now that you clearly see the gap between your present state and your ideal self, you must create action steps to close that gap. I want to make it clear that awareness is not a one-time deal. You must remain aware everyday so that everyday you are moving forward to the life you want.
[bctt tweet=”You must remain aware everyday so that everyday you are moving forward to the life you want.”]
To reach your goals, envision the steps you need to take to be the person you would like to be. In other words, you must be aware of 1) your present reality, 2) what you want to happen in your future and 3) the changes that need to take place to get you there. Many people can easily reflect and daydream about their ideal life, but they do not plan the changes that take them from point A to point B. Awareness is a lot like creating your own breakup plan. During the awareness stage, you are essentially writing down all the things, people and situations that you need to let go of to bring you closer to your destiny.
When you reflect, maybe you will see the difference between the woman you are (insecure) and the woman you want to be (confident), then you can determine what you need to do to close the gap. Maybe it’s forgiving your dad for leaving you, taking an exercise class, attending church or standing up for yourself in your relationship.
Or maybe, when you self-reflect, you see the difference between the woman you are (working at a job you hate) and the woman you want to be (working in a career you love). Now through awareness, you can determine some actions steps of going back to school to receive a degree in business, reaching out to your support system to help care for your child and start applying for jobs that will allow you to get some experience while you get your degree. You see, awareness is creating your design for change. However, you must continue to stay aware everyday so you do not regress.
The Challenges of Plotting Change
Self-doubt is a big pitfall during the awareness process because you see all these steps that you must take and you think, “I can’t do that! What will people say? What if I fail?” Then you just stop. It’s easier to stop than to make all these changes, right? But once you are aware, it is tough to go back to living life as you were. You have heard the longing inside of yourself for more. You know who you want to be.
That is why most people don’t like the awareness process. It is when things get real. All of a sudden you have given yourself the power to ultimately design your life, and that can be scary. You are completely in control, and you cannot blame anyone else for your future.
But if you continue to stay stagnant — aware that positive change is possible but too afraid to take the needed steps — bitterness will grow. You will begin to hate yourself and others who had the courage to move forward. We often hear about “haters,” and I truly believe that haters are people who did not have the courage to go after their dreams. They are angry at those of us who do. So don’t be a hater, close the gap and make your dreams come true.
Finding Your Strength
When self-doubt comes or when change seems too daunting, say an affirmation like, “If I keep moving forward I cannot fail. I am strong. I deserve to be happy. A little hard work never killed anyone.” I love affirmations, and my clients have grown to love them too because we have to learn how to motivate ourselves. We have to learn that if we don’t believe in ourselves then who will?
And the truth is that change is going to happen. Either you face it willingly or you cry and scream and pout about it. But it is going to happen. Knowing this, why not use your strength and roll with it? Why not take the initiative and take control of change? Before someone tells you that you have the potential to get a better job, you know it! Before someone tells you your boyfriend sucks and you can do better, you know it! Before someone tells you that you should go back to school to become a teacher because you love to teach, you know it! So why wait? Make the necessary changes now; let’s rock our life now.
You now have an action plan. You see yourself moving in the direction of your goals, and I know that in moving forward, you will need to let go of something or someone. Letting go is scary and painful, but it is the kind of fear that energizes you to keep moving because you know you are looking for more. This is also where affirmations can help. I cannot say it enough: I have affirmations all over the place because even the most optimistic person has down days. Affirmations allow you to remember who you are and who you want to be.
Remember that by reflecting and staying aware, you will keep yourself from making the same mistakes over and over. You now clearly see your mistakes and what you need to do to prevent them. You know who you are everyday of your life. And you must continue to reflect to ensure that you do not lose yourself.
If you need extra support as you work to let go of the negative or dysfunctional parts of your life, a counselor like myself can offer plenty of guidance. You can contact me at (864) 559-8181 to schedule an appointment. I can help people in the Greenville, SC area or internationally via Skype.