If we want to move forward, there are certain things we have to give up, because the more we hold onto things, the longer we stay stuck right where we are.
It’s been just over a decade since I “got sick” and started feeling my life and my plans slipping through my fingers. I had to give up going to school and pursuing my plan to double-major in Marketing and Pyschology in hopes of focusing a career on market research. I climbed into bed for 2+ years. Even when I finally began to see my physical health improve as a result of some major life changes, I still had to make some big changes mentally before I could really move forward. I want to share these six things that I had to give up in order to move forward, in hopes that they can help you move forward as well.If we want to move forward, there are certain things we have to give up, because holding on just leaves us stuck. What have you had to give up on your journey to feel better? Click To Tweet
1. I had give up the idea that I was going to be the same person again – Throughout life we are constantly changing who we are, often without realizing it. None of us are the same person we were five years ago. But, when we go through major changes like chronic illness, a divorce, or the death of someone we really love, the change is monumental and it happens fast. And, it’s often during those times of forced change that we try hardest to stay right where we are.
Most change happens over time so slowly we don’t notice it, but that’s not the case when we get knocked on our butts and have to start over again. It’s hard to accept that we will never be that person we were again, but if we can accept it we can move forward into a new place that may be better than any place we may have previously ended up. I am a new person and I’m OK with that.
Most change happens over time so slowly we don't notice it, but that's not the case when we get knocked on our butts by something like chronic illness or the loss of a loved one. Click To Tweet
2. I had to stop beating myself up for my limitations – Everyone has limitations, no matter who we are or how much we achieve. No one can do everything. However, when new limitations are imposed on us by illness, it’s much harder to accept that we can’t do the same things we could do just weeks before.
Sometimes the hardest limitations to accept are the ones that don’t really matter. You may never be a lot of things, but chances are that many of those are things you never would have been or done anyway… it’s just that now you know for sure you won’t. Isn’t it funny how we often want things only because we can’t have them. Instead we have to focus on what we can do.
3. I had to stop holding grudges – It’s not that I am one to often hold grudges, but when I do I hold them pretty tight. Holding even one grudge is a waste of energy. When you have those negative feelings towards someone to the point that you go out of your way to avoid them, that you can’t think about them without negative thoughts clouding your vision. That’s wasted energy. That’s energy that I needed for much more important things. I needed to focus that energy on my health. Once I let those grudges go, I no longer felt that negative energy, I didn’t have to try to avoid them. I’m no longer filled with anxiety when I think of those people. They are just people.Holding grudges wastes energy that I need in order to feel better Click To Tweet
4. I had to give up negativity – There have been times when I’ve been so mired in negativity that I couldn’t think positive. I would get caught in rumination cycles. I was sure the sky was falling. Moving past this required the help of a therapist. He had me actually track those negative thoughts so that I could see how often they came up. By actually paying attention I could refocus my thinking and eventually the negative thoughts came less often.
These days staying positive comes much easier. Not only because of what I learned from that counselor, and further help with Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, but also just because I’ve changed some things in my life that added to that negativity. I’m in a happier place overall. Despite all of that, I still have bad days, and on those bad days it’s so much easier to think negative and imagine the worst possible outcomes. It’s OK to have bad days, it’s just not OK to get stuck in them.It's OK to have bad days, it's just not OK to get stuck in them. Click To Tweet
5. I had to stop wanting the life that others have – The grass is always greener or so it seems. But, the truth is we don’t know what chemicals someone else uses on their lawn. It’s so easy to look at someone else’ life and wish it was your own. It seems so easy from the outside, but we don’t know their struggles. No matter how well we think we know someone we don’t know all that they deal with, we only know what they want us to know. I no longer want the life that others have. I have goals and dreams of my own. I want my own life. I can choose the direction my life takes and I’d rather do that than focus on the life of someone else.
6. I had to stop worrying about what other people think – I remember the time when I was at my worst and we were in a local grocery story. At that moment, I could have used a wheelchair cart. I had no energy and should have just stayed in the car. I didn’t use the wheelchair because I didn’t want to be seen that way. Worse yet as we checked out we saw someone we knew and I couldn’t help thinking that I wished he’d not seen me looking as bad as I did that day.
These days I don’t care. I’m happy with who I am and if others don’t like that, that’s on them. Are there moments when I worry about what someone else thinks of me? Absolutely. Do I let those moments determine what I choose to do? Not a bit.
This is a constant journey. These changes I’ve made are not made once and forgotten. I have to constantly work at them and remember that I’ve chosen to do things this way for a reason. I have to remember how I felt when I allowed these things to control me.
What have you had to give up on your journey to feel better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- 5 mental shifts that I had to make to feel better
- 7 things you need to let go of to feel better
- 10 questions to help you change your thinking
- Why Letting Go is the Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself