I was reflecting today on the things that I used to worry about. I used to worry about pretty much everything.
“What needs to be done?”
“What needs to be cleaned?”
“Is this person mad at me?”
“Should I eat this?”
“Is coconut oil good for you?”
“Am I gaining weight?”
“Am I doing enough at work?”
“Am I doing too much at work?”
“Is cardio better than strength training?”
“Am I getting wrinkles?”
Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc!!!!!! Can anyone else relate?? I am sure that many of you have more to add to the list. About 8 months ago, I couldn’t take it anymore. All of my stress, anxiety, and foolish attempts to control everything were making me absolutely crazy…and absolutely miserable.
This year has been a spiritual journey for me. After going through some uncomfortable growing pains, I have finally learned how to relax and let go a little. I am not saying that I have mastered this yet. I will always be a work in progress. That being said, here are some of the things that I have learned during my “letting go” process.
1) The only thing that I have any real control over is me and my attitude.
I cannot control others. I may not like or get along with Jane or John Doe, but the only thing that I can change about that is me. I may not like the way the world is sometimes, but thing only thing that I can change is my attitude about it. I must always ask God to change me instead of the world around me. I should always spend my energy trying to be a part of the solution, rather than a piece of the problem.
2) If I cannot get along with someone, I need to look at my part in it.
This is a HUGE one for me. There are billions of people on this planet, and unless you are a complete hermit, you are bound to bump heads with different personalities from time to time. When I am in this situation, I always have to look at what it is that makes me dislike or not get along with this person. Am I threatened by them? Do they affect my self esteem? Is my ego involved? Thinking along these lines helps me to look at what I can change within myself. I have yet to find a situation where once I change my attitude about someone, the situation didn’t improve. Sometimes this can simply mean removing myself from this person’s presence. I do not need to involve myself in toxic relationships.
3) There is no such thing as perfect.
I will never be perfect. NEVER. Looking back, so much of my stress had to do with trying to meet some sort of ideal that I thought I needed to live up to. As silly as it sounds, part of my growth started with allowing myself to leave my house without any make-up on. Until this year, unless I was going to work out, I would never leave my house without make-up on my face. I was like this with everything. I couldn’t speak unless I knew that what I was going to say sounded okay. I felt as though everything I did needed to be rehearsed before doing it. I have learned that people are not drawn to perfection; they are drawn to honesty. People are drawn to other individuals who are willing to bare their flaws. This is how we truly get to know one another and this is how we grow.
4) The best things in life are not things.
I can try to tell myself that material and worldly possessions will make me happy, but that just isn’t so. True happiness comes from a connection with something bigger than myself. I no longer try to keep up with the Jones’s. Most likely, the Jones’s are in debt and unhappy. Live within your means and stop trying to get emotional satisfaction from “stuff”.
5) Be authentic.
There is no use in trying to constantly adapt to what I think it is that the world wants me to be. For one, it’s exhausting, and for another, it is a disservice to myself and to the person that God made me to be. While I will never be perfect, I should always strive to be the best version of myself. I need to make sure that it’s the version that is in God’s image and not everyone else’s.
6) Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Lately, when something is bothering me, I have been asking myself one question: “Will this matter a year from now?” 95% of the time, the answer is no. I used to stress about EVERYTHING. It is useless, and it makes me spiritually and physically sick.