Archive for April 2014

Do you know how to let go?

select releasePeople hold onto things, both good and bad. There’s something about human-nature that makes us emotional hoarders.

Sometimes we cling to happiness – the things that make us feel good. Other times we hold onto anger and bitterness, even if those emotions make us feel terrible.

Whatever we’re holding onto, it can hurt us and hold us back. Even holding too tightly onto happiness can come back and bite us.

If we’re too attached to being happy, what happens when those feelings go away? In most cases we start chasing after happiness, trying to capture it again and losing sight of what we have and where we’re at in life.

Holding onto anger and sadness is also bad for our spirits. As much as those emotions can hurt us, they seem to be the ones we try hardest to bottle up and keep with us.

Keeping anger bottled up inside you has one of two outcomes: you either end up exploding or all those negative feelings eat you up from the inside out.

It’s hard to let go.

Before you can even begin you’ve got to know what you’re holding onto and sometimes that takes a lot of work. How many of us get excited about working on ourselves?

But here’s the thing, when you become more aware and awake to what you’re feeling you have the opportunity to acknowledge those feelings, loosen your grip on them, and let them slip on by.

If you’re happy your inner dialog might sound a bit like:

“I’m really happy right now and that’s great. I may not be happy tomorrow, but I am right now so I’m going to appreciate this moment and enjoy it.”

If you’ve recognized that you’re feeling angry or sad it might sound like:

“I’m really angry right now. And you know what? For the next few minutes I’m going to be angry.”

Eventually you learn to celebrate and savor the good moments and acknowledge and learn from the bad.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel, loosen your grip, and let it float away.

Do you practice at life?

Man playing a guitarNo one is born knowing how to play guitar. Some of us might have natural gifts that lend themselves to picking up particular skills, but at some point during our lives we make a choice to try something new.

And whatever that new thing is, we usually start out pretty bad at it. If it’s guitar, we struggle to contort our fingers into the shape of basic chords and strum the strings without any regard to rhythm.

If we decide to stick with it, more often than not, we get better. Practice builds skill and eventually skill turns into expertise. We usually get better at the things we make a conscious decision to put effort into.

It’s easy to think about practice when it comes to learning the guitar, a new language, or how to play golf. But I think we sometimes forget about needing to practice life.

We look at ourselves and see things we want to make better. Sometimes we even make an attempt to change things, but then we get frustrated and say “I can’t do this. I’m not any good at it.”

The “it” might be something like becoming a better listener or learning how to cope with stress. Whatever it is, when it comes to the stuff of life, we tend to get frustrated and walk away from the things we aren’t immediately good at.

Just like the guitar, no one starts out being good at life. To get better we have to make two decisions:

  • The choice to start improving.
  • The choice to stick with it, to practice. We might have to decide this everyday.

Getting started is sometimes the hardest part. Doubt, fear of trying something new, fear of not immediately succeeding – all these things stand in our way and keep us from trying.

Again, just like the guitar, you have to let go of the expectations of being immediately great, and acknowledge that you just have to start where you’re at.

Just because you’re quick to anger today, doesn’t mean you can’t be better tomorrow.

Just because it’s hard for you to slow down and live in the moment doesn’t mean you always have to be that way.

You just have to let go of being perfect and start practicing.