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“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu.
Have you ever tried “letting go” of the past, whether it be a past experience, a person or a dark memory? Learning to let go is definitely a challenge I face. Sometimes, it seems like an impossibility.
In fact, I’m really not sure what to make of Lao Tzu’s quote. Which is why I love it.
It makes me think.
So, as per usual, I thought I’d kick off the week by sharing my thoughts with all of you. Of course, I’d love to hear your interpretation on this quote, so don’t be afraid to comment at the bottom of the post!
Should We Be Letting Go?
Well, I guess that’s the first question.
When I first read Tzu’s quote, that was my first thought. Do we really need to let go of who we are? What if we like the people we are in the present moment?
…I become what I might be. This is my favourite part – perhaps facing sometimes new, becoming something new, really means that we must let go of who we were. January seems to be an automatic goal-setting month for most people, thanks to the new year. Maybe when we decide who we really want to become, we shed a bit of our old shell, our past.
Deciding Who To Become
Of course, it’s often difficult to pull ourselves out of a dark place and decide exactly who we want to be. Sometimes, it seems like everything is against us, doesn’t it?
As much as we know we shouldn’t necessarily follow what society tells us to do, a little “comparison demon” sometimes pops up – asking us why we haven’t done x, or aren’t doing y, or can’t seem to quite finish z. We go deeper and deeper into a dark place, comparing who we are with others, or where we are with where we wish we were.
One of my favourite quotes is this one with a metaphor about being planted, not buried, and blooming, not sinking. I fully believe we have the power to choose our own destiny through our reactions to events. That’s what I’m focusing my 2019 goals on.
Becoming exactly who I want to be. Now, I’ve always been a non-conformist (thanks to the great literature I read as a child, and my own stubborn will). Lately, I’ve been in such a race to sort out matters like immigration papers for Europe that I haven’t stopped to make sure that I’m on the track I want to be on.
Setting goals is, of course, a part of the process. I’m about halfway through mine this year, and I can’t wait to wrap them up. Once I perfect my new additions to the process, I’ll share with all of you. (If you need help setting goals, be sure to check out this year’s new year’s post on goal setting!)
4 Ways To Let Go & Embrace The Future
So, I’ve been reading a little bit into how to let go and thinking about what’s worked for me in the past. Also, how I can apply it to the future – and the beautiful year ahead, to be sure!
I like Mindcology’s article because it emphasizes self-care, a concept I’ve only recently started caring about. In fact, one of my friends recently started “Self-care Sundays”, and I’m seriously considering adding that to my list as I finish my goals for the year this afternoon.
Here are four ways I do my best to work on letting go:
1. Recognizing The Past As Positive
Okay, I’ll admit this is a tough one! Is the past positive? Not always, I know. However, usually we can squeeze a tiny bit of positivity out of almost anything. Actually, one of my more recent jobs is proofreading college entrance essays (well, graduate school ones mostly). I’ve read so many life stories and it’s amazing what people can do after encountering adversity.
My default reaction used to be anger when I thought of parts of my past. Resentment. Negativity. My goal this year is to take the tiny bits of that, that are left – and change them. So they become positive parts in my past.
Anyone want to join me for this? Comment below and let me know!
2. Deciding What Parts of the Past To Keep
Should we forget and let go, or hold on to the memories? At times, in some parts of my life I struggle with holding on to the positive parts of an experience when it ends negatively, rather than blocking the whole experience itself.
One of my personal goals this year may well be working on this. I’ve yet to finish my goals, but I usually list them in categories of personal, business/career, financial and health. (If you’d like a free template, head to the printables library and grab it; it’s the first printable I made!)
3. Forgiving Before Letting Go
Well, this is a tough one for me, so if any of you have tips- I’m all ears! How can we forgive people who’ve hurt us, wronged us, or worked against us? I’ve read a lot that it’s the way to truly move forward.
I have to admit that I generally skip Step 3, and hop on over to 4. (Yes, I’m aware that I’m one who created this list 😉 )
4. Visualizing Ahead
Visualizing is my favourite part. It’s like imagining you already have everything you want. In fact, it’s how I set my goals every year. By truly, really believing I already have what I’m aiming to get.
Need help visualizing? Check out some key tips to help you visualize.
I’ve set aside some time this afternoon to do exactly that before I head to my afternoon lessons to teach.
What are your thoughts on Lao Tzu’s quote? Do you find it easy (or difficult) to let go? I’d really love to hear your opinions on this one in the comments below. I read and respond to every comment! 🙂
Have a lovely and productive week!
PS. Photography lovers, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took right here in the Gothic Area in Barcelona, Spain over the winter break.
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