Letting go. How does that phrase make you feel? It has been my experience that most folks, including myself, feel a bit icky when they hear these words. Why is that?
I’m discovering that letting go (of stuff, feelings, habits, relationships that don’t help us grow, etc.) is a heady experience. Recently I had the interior of my house painted. As a self-admitted “neat freak,” this was quite painful as it put the house into a shambles (the painter’s word). But on the day that I decided to start putting things back together, I re-discovered the joy of letting go through cleaning and purging. I had dreaded this and had let it go a few days, but once I got started putting the furniture into place, I decided to clean out drawers and cabinets while I was at it. I threw out stuff that I forgot I had (and wondered why I kept), and this inspired me to rearrange the furniture in a couple of rooms. After taking several bags of “trash” outside, I ended up totally changing the furniture around in my master bedroom. I put fewer items on the walls. I decided to store a desk in my storage room instead of leaving it in the bedroom. I have to tell you I could hardly get to sleep that night I was so excited. My energy level was raised dramatically just from this change and the de-cluttering.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it gave me some insight into what energizes me, and I suspect that some of you are wired the same way. On the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I’m an ENFP, which means that I am easily bored and need frequent change. I’m way more excited about what could be than what is. Being on the borderline between P and J, my J tendencies put the “neat freakishness” into my personality, which causes me to feel much better when things are neat and tidy. So having an evening in my newly-painted home where I cleaned out some clutter AND made the bedroom look new was just too much fun!
I’m applying this knowledge to other areas of my life as well. I’ve learned over this past year that our thinking drives our feelings which drives our behaviors which drives our results. I use this to regulate my emotions through managing my thoughts. When I catch myself in the middle of “stinking thinking,” I am now much more likely to recognize it and start to shift my thoughts to support better feelings. I’m applying it to how I deal with eating and food (an area of great anguish for me since I was 6 years old), making decisions, socializing, resting–you name it.
So, back to letting go. I have found that if we are able to let go of what is not serving us in our lives, we are lighter, freer, and more likely to not get stuck. “Stuck” is one feeling I hate and I spent a long time in my 30’s feeling just that way. I feel lucky to have found a way to work myself out of it when it strikes. It’s in my control, because it has to do with my thinking and whatever actions I take based on that.
What next? I think I’ll tackle the closets…