In the reality of our existence, holding on means very little.
Your ability to let go, however, does.
It’s far from obscure.
We’re living in a time where we constantly doubt ourselves and always compare with others.
So, it’s really important to judge ourselves by what we leave behind, not by what we keep.
What matters even more than what you let go is the impact of your liberation.
This implies that holding on does matter, but only insofar as it pushes you to release things that prevent your growth and the betterment of your life.
Below I’ve outlined six things to let go of that are holding you back in life.
1) Grudges are poison
Picture your heart right now.
It’s the wellspring of your emotions, the powerhouse of your feelings. But, at times, it becomes a warehouse, storing grudges and resentments.
While you’re reading these words, you might be holding onto some grudge unconsciously.
If you’re keen on personal growth, it’s absolutely crucial to accept that grudges are poison.
They’re toxic, infectious.
It’s essential to release the illusion of justice that comes from holding onto grudges. They don’t make things right.
Your forgiveness does, and it’s most impactful when it comes without any conditions. When you forgive instinctively.
If you can stop relying on others to apologize and start cultivating forgiveness in your life to live the life you want, your inner peace will become apparent from what happens in your life.
You won’t feel the need to hold onto resentment. You will be able to let go of the grudges that have been poisoning your life.
2) Comfort isn’t your friend
This realization dawned upon me during my journey of introspection and personal growth.
Common advice on how to live life often suggests “staying in your comfort zone” or “avoiding unnecessary risks”.
Although this is widely accepted, it’s not the formula for growth. On the contrary, growth stems from challenging your comfort zone. It arises from confronting your fears.
As a wise mentor once shared:
“Embrace discomfort. Don’t run from it, don’t shy away from it, don’t deny it; don’t do anything at all to dodge it. You just be present in it, and the miracle of embracing discomfort is growth. As you confront, slowly the comfort zone expands; but you are not becoming complacent, you are becoming more resilient, more courageous.”
When you choose to “stay comfortable” all the time, you give too much power to your fears.
You give up your instinctive courage. Now, I give less power to my comfort zone.
Sometimes I feel a bit uneasy venturing into unknown territories. Other times I’m dealing with the fear of failure. But I don’t let these fears hold me back anymore.
3) Perfectionism is an obstacle
Let me explain this.
Reflect on your actions right now.
You might be trying to perfect every detail of your work. You could be replaying past mistakes, wishing you could have done things perfectly.
While reading these words, you might be evaluating them for perfection.
If you’re to progress, it’s key to understand that perfection doesn’t exist. You’re human and humans make mistakes.
It’s crucial to let go of the illusion of perfection that comes from believing your worth is tied to your performance.
Your worth is intrinsic, and it is most recognized when you accept your imperfections.
4) Living in the past hinders growth
I began this section by focusing on grudges and comfort zones.
The thing is, these are often tied to our past experiences and how we’ve been treated.
In my experience, I often found myself dwelling on past failures or hurts. I would become obsessed with the notion of ‘what could have been’.
My intentions were good. I believed that by analyzing the past, I could prevent future mistakes.
But when I get so immersed in the past, I can slip into the habit of thinking my history is more important than my present.
I can lose touch with the opportunities in front of me. I become anxious and probably not such a positive person to be around. If I judged myself for my intentions, I wouldn’t question my behavior.
Instead, because I don’t focus on my intentions, I am more able to reflect on my actions and change how I behave.
I am learning to let go of the past and appreciate the opportunities in the present. Living in the present is what matters, not being held back by past experiences.
5) Comparison breeds discontent
This was a truth I learned the hard way.
In my early career, I found myself constantly comparing my progress to that of my peers. I’d look at their promotions, their awards, or their lifestyle and feel a pang of inadequacy.
“Comparing for motivation,” I used to tell myself.
But in truth, comparisons were not fueling my drive. They were feeding my insecurities. Let me take you back to a time when I was fresh out of college.
All around me, friends were landing high-paying jobs, buying houses, and starting families. Meanwhile, I was struggling to make ends meet in an entry-level position.
Every social media post seemed like a personal attack, a reminder of where I ‘should’ be. But then came the realization.
My journey is unique to me. Their successes didn’t diminish mine. Their pace didn’t dictate mine.
If you can stop measuring your worth by others’ milestones and start appreciating your own path, you will begin to see your value beyond societal standards. You won’t need validation from others.
You will be able to let go of crippling comparisons.
6) Fear of failure stifles success
Human beings are biologically programmed to avoid danger and protect themselves.
This survival instinct often manifests itself as a fear of failure, a psychological trait that can prevent us from taking risks and reaching our full potential.
This understanding urges us to confront our fears, to understand their origin, and to overcome the limitations they impose on our growth.
For those feeling stuck, addressing the fear of failure can provide a sense of liberation. It’s a reminder that success is not a straight path, but a journey filled with ups and downs.
Overcoming the fear of failure pushes us to see our journey as one of continuous learning and can provide a sense of purpose and resilience.
7) Chasing happiness can lead to discontent
At first glance, this may seem paradoxical.
After all, isn’t the pursuit of happiness the ultimate goal of life?
But consider this: the tireless chase for happiness often sets us on a never-ending race where the finish line keeps moving further away.
When we tie our happiness to specific outcomes or milestones, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Happiness becomes a fleeting emotion, experienced momentarily when we achieve a goal, only to dissipate as we set our sights on the next one.
Instead, finding joy in the journey itself, in the everyday moments and simple pleasures of life, fosters lasting contentment.
When we stop chasing happiness and start cultivating it within ourselves, irrespective of external circumstances, we unlock a more fulfilling, peaceful life.
Instead, embrace the present, find joy in your journey, and happiness will follow naturally.
Change is a constant
The complexities of human growth and transformation are often deeply intertwined with our ability to let go.
One such connection is the relationship between personal growth and the concept of impermanence.
This concept, prevalent in many philosophical traditions, posits that all things are transient and constantly changing, playing a critical role in our understanding of life.
For those feeling stuck, recognizing and accepting impermanence could be a life-altering realization.
The idea that our fears, failures, and insecurities are not permanent states but transient phases can instigate profound change.
Whether it’s letting go of grudges, stepping out of comfort zones, releasing the chains of perfectionism, living in the present, stopping the comparisons, or halting the pursuit of happiness, the underlying principle is embracing change.
So as you navigate through life’s twists and turns, remember that change is not only inevitable but also necessary for growth.
Let go of what’s holding you back and embrace the transformation that awaits on the other side.