Sometimes when we’re in the process of attempting to let something go, we realize we don’t really want to even though it doesn’t do us any good. Why would we hold onto something that isn’t serving us?
Because on some level, it is.
It could be a variety of things:
- It forms the basis of our identity such as victim or people pleaser
- We’re scared/have fears
- It’s a habit that’s turned into a thinking addiction
If you find yourself in the position of wanting to let something go, but realize you’re still hanging on, then I invite you to wallow in it. Just wallow in it. Like a pig in mud. Roll around in it, get dirty, get stinky. Let yourself feel all the feelings you have around whatever it is you want to let go. The most common ones are fear of failure and fear of success.
The point is after you’ve wallowed a while and gotten thoroughly stinky and dirty, you’ll get tired of it. You won’t be able to stand your own stench so you’ll want to take that metaphorical shower. Until you’re ready to take that shower, wallow in it. Lap it up. Be like the person gorging on chocolate sundaes the day before they start their big diet. Live it up!
If you get off on mentally beating yourself up, have at it. Go for it. Get “black and blue.” Do it until you can’t stand it anymore. Eventually, I promise, you will get tired of it. You’ll realize it no longer feels good. How long that takes is different for every person and depends on where you are in your process. It could be a few minutes, days, months or years.
If you like all the attention you get from playing victim, martyr, people pleaser etc., then keep it up. Lavish yourself with all of that juicy attention. “Oh, poor you!” Get that pity party going. Stoke it up! Ultimately, you’ll see the “error of your ways” and realize this negative identity is not helping you. You thought it did, you certainly got attention and praise from it. But in the end, it was getting you nowhere and wearing you out.
Avoid Forcing Change
It can be scary to let go of old habits, of things that have seemingly served us for so long. What I’ve found in those instances is not to push it. When we force change it usually backfires. If we’re not ready for it, we’ll retreat. Like the alcoholic who goes to AA, then stops at a bar on the way home, it means you’re not ready to change yet. And that’s ok.
There’s no timetable to change. The only one putting pressure on yourself is you. So be nice to yourself. Take it slowly. You wouldn’t rip your child’s favorite blankie out of their hands when they’re upset so why treat yourself that way? Don’t force change. Ease into it. If that means wallowing in your fears for a while, do it. As I said before, I promise, you’ll get tired of it. Trying to force them out of you doesn’t work and can feel even more frightening.
Do it at Your Own Pace
We all know diets don’t have long lasting change. If someone wants to lose weight, the best advice is to take it slowly. If you’re eating double your required caloric intake per day, cutting it in half overnight is a shock to your system. Gradually cut back. Wean yourself off of so much food. Be smart and let go of the junk food first and replace it with whole foods. That will reduce calories instantly, yet keep you feeling satisfied.
Same with your fears, don’t try to let go of them overnight if you’re not ready. Readiness is a process. As I’ve been channeling in my upcoming book, “9 Keys to Change: How to Unlock Your Life,” there are steps we go through in the process of change. Sometimes it’s seamless and we don’t even know we ran through them all.
Other times, when issues are stickier, it takes time and we get stuck in one of the steps. The last step before taking action to change is readiness. There are five steps before that so it shows you how much of a process it is. Until you are truly ready, change won’t happen, or at least not effectively or permanently. That is why the keys were shown to me in a specific order. Lasting change must follow a sequence.
Stay Away from Envy
If someone has immediate change it’s generally because they’ve been working on their issues for a while and is finally ready to change. It didn’t happen as instantly as it appeared. There was work going on in the background. Avoid being envious of people who had quick change because as I said, more than likely they’ve been working on it and needed that last nudge to release it. When you are at that stage, you too will find it effortless to let go. Your day will come – at your own pace.
Until that day comes, if it feels good to you or you’re too scared to let go, then allow yourself to wallow in it. While you’re there do it right. Don’t skimp. Eventually all those tapes in your head saying “You’ll never be any good” etc. will become laughable to you. You’ll see the ridiculousness of your previous beliefs you hung onto for dear life. You might even get to a point where you are literally laughing at them. That’s a good thing. Let them go with humor. Getting rid of old identities will feel liberating too. Being a victim will no longer feel good. It will feel like you’re selling yourself short.
You’ll Outgrow it
It’s like the child who has their security blanket – they eventually outgrow it. How many kids do you see in high school with a security blanket? Right, none. It’s like when my son was endlessly potty training, I never thought he’d get it. My husband reassured me with, “How many kids do you see in kindergarten still wearing diapers?” Same answer – none.
You will eventually outgrow your metaphorical security blanket too if you’re gentle with yourself and allow yourself to change and grow at your own rate.
In the meantime, eat that chocolate sundae, wallow in the mud! Tomorrow is a new day where change can begin.