As we near the end of the first month of 2018, you may be churning through your resolutions or rethinking them. Have you considered giving yourself a gift and letting go of expectations, memories, pressures, or habits that you have been carrying around? I like to think of them as a big backpack filled with heavy rocks that we all have on our backs without realizing it. The backpack can be so heavy that it is pulling us into the past when we try to be in the present or move into the future.
Are you lugging around anything that you can let go? Something that happened many years ago? An unfair expectation that you put on yourself? A negative view about your life that is tainting future moments and memories? I am at an Olympic level of being hard on myself. It stems from being a perfectionist, but this is something I am working through and trying to let go. It's easy to be critical of myself under the guise of wanting "to improve" or always striving "to be my best self." However, that can just be a sneaky way of being self-critical. I've talked in past blog posts about how when we are hard on ourselves; it can cause problems with our bodies systems and processes. I've learned that being hard on myself can lead to a lot of stress and manifest through physical pain such as migraines. I get them frequently.
It can seem so simple when you want to let go of an unhealthy habit, rather it's mental, physical or emotional, but it can take some time. I am learning that through my journey to be more kind to myself. It is a daily process and not all days will be good. So, give yourself time and latitude on your path to let things go. Be proud of yourself for turning around to see what is in your invisible backpack and to see what you can put down. It would be wonderful to just take off the whole backpack and throw it away in one go, but that is not how we are wired.
As humans, we are complex beings. This will take time. You can get started by thinking about something you really don't want to carry with you into the rest of 2018. Focus on one thing at a time. Meditation has really helped me. Even 3-5 minutes a day, can make a big impact. It will give your mind breathing room and space to let go. I like the apps, Headspace or Calm. Here's to all of us carrying around a lighter backpack from this moment forward.