Many things in life are outside of our control, which is why it is all the more important to pay attention to those things which are within our locus of control.
One of the principal things which is within our control is our ability to make decisions about what we prioritize in our life and in our emotions. What is most important in your life?
What do you spend your mental energy on? What keeps you up at night and why?
In this article I’ll take a look at the top 10 things to let go of if you want to find more fulfillment in your life. Let’s get started.
1) Desire to be seen as a success by society
The desire to survive and succeed is deeply linked to ancient human evolution and the human experience. There is nothing shameful about wanting to succeed, be wealthy and be a success.
However many of us are too deeply attached to images and perceptions of success that have been sold to us by certain social institutions.
The mass media, Western and materialist mindsets along with a post-Enlightenment view of what is success keep us in far too cramped of an emotional and vocational box.
It is crucial to let go of the externally applied model or version of what you have been told success is. Wanting to be a success on your own terms is wonderful, but you need to let go of the desire to be seen as a success on society’s terms or an imagined collective of external observers who you think are deciding who succeeds and what it means. They don’t matter: you do.
2) Seeking satisfaction through material gain
As I mentioned in the previous point, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be wealthy.
Having the physical needs to provide for yourself and those you love is a wonderful achievement in life. However it is important to let go of materialism as a means to self fulfillment.
No amount of possessions or numbers in your bank account will ever make you feel like you are valuable or a worthy person.
Although they may have augmented and enhanced improvements you are already making in your life, they will never provide that inner sense of worth and meaning in and of themselves.
3) Expectations of happiness or getting what you want
The Rolling Stones sing “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find – you get what you need.”
I love their optimism.
But the bad news is that sometimes you don’t even get what you need, either.
The mentally empowered individual doesn’t have an expectation of getting what they want. They understand that life is not about them and that many things do not happen in the way they would prefer or even the way that would be necessary for them.
But they still find a way to adapt and keep going anyway.
4) Remaining in your comfort zone and usual routine
So much of the best growth doesn’t happen where you expect or plan.
It’s natural to get a routine and seek out comfort to a certain extent, but it can become a kind of addiction.
That’s when the comfort zone becomes more of a trap than a refuge. It becomes an excuse not to grow, and a hindrance to our development in every area of life.
If you need a little push getting out of your comfort zone, try spending time around friends and colleagues who live boldly and take risks. Spend time with those who think outside the box and also want to challenge their assumptions and routines.
You’ll grow as a person and let go of the need to always know what’s going to happen next.
5) Staying in relationships that hurt your soul
Relationships can be very hard to let go of, even when they’re no longer a place of real love and care.
Long after any real sharing or learning is taking place, the old patterns and comfort takes over, and emotional or sexual codependency creeps in.
You find yourself feeling the urge to do what seems usual or to stay with someone who makes you feel poorly but who you’re used to.
But it’s important to be willing to be alone in life and to not be in a relationship and not know when you will be in one next.
In many ways, this is the place where you as a true and unique individual are formed in your truest sense; in your aloneness and even in your loneliness, you become your truest self and eventually find the one who’s also become their true self alone as well.
6) The need to be liked and approved of by others
Not everybody is going to like you, and that’s ok.
In fact, it’s more than OK. It means you’ve probably taken some brave stands in your life and stood up for things you believed even when it wasn’t popular.
Not everyone can approve of you or find you pleasant, and that’s perfectly fine. We’re all on our own journey.
When you let go of the desire for others to approve of or like you it’s a giant weight off your shoulders; you find that you’re free to be yourself and be weird and even unpopular at times.
So be it!
7) Being seen as a ‘nice’ and pleasant person
Many of us are raised from a young age to be seen as nice and agreeable.
We’re conditioned to believe that if we treat others well and they like us then we’re succeeding at life.
But the truth is that this attachment to being liked and being seen as nice can be quite limiting and toxic.
It’s important to stand up for yourself and be willing to be disliked or not always seen as nice.
Sometimes you’re the man or woman who others don’t understand. Sometimes you’re the one who’s on a different page than others. Sometimes you’re the lonely outsider.
And that’s OK. In fact, that can be freedom and authenticity.
8) Clinging to the past in a nostalgic or regretful way
The past certainly matters, but dwelling on it too much becomes a deadweight.
Whether you find yourself drawn to the golden days of the past and nostalgia or to tearful memories and hurts of the past, it’s sapping energy from the present.
Let the past be whatever it is:
A mystery, a sadness, a joy, a mix of many things. Let it come to you at times, but don’t consciously seek it out too often or let it overtake you in the present moment.
9) An attachment to positivity at all costs and ‘high vibrations’
Being optimistic and positive is a great thing. But like all good things, it’s best in moderation.
Forced and excessive positivity is finally becoming seen for what it is: toxic.
The New Age community has a lot of teachings which unfortunately verge on elitism and shaming, creating a situation in which those with “high vibrations” are “above” or more “pure” than those with “low vibrations.”
The truth is that when we reject our difficult emotions in ourselves or others we repress them and create a lot of shame. This worsens cycles of emotional shame and toxic guilt and repression.
It’s crucial to let go of the need to always be OK. It’s vital to allow yourself days off and to see the value in difficult emotions and the ability to channel them into productive and meaningful tasks.
10) Control behaviors that steer others to do what you want
You can try your best to influence and persuade people, and sometimes it works.
But generally speaking, focusing too much on getting others to bend to your will is a waste of energy.
It distracts you from your own goals and becomes overly chaotic. People do what people do, often for motivations you aren’t aware of. Sometimes for motivations they aren’t even aware of.
Trying to get a handle on that or influence it is very tricky and borderline impossible.
Best to focus on what’s in your own control: you!
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
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