by Teresia Smith
Here we are at the end of one year and poised to begin a new year. The past two years have been quite difficult for many people and everyone has high hopes that a new year will bring back normalcy, more joy, and a sense of peace. People will be making New Year’s resolutions and gym membership purchases will be at an all-time high. However, I recently saw a quote that reminded me that the things we want to happen don’t just happen on their own. It takes our willingness to change, grow, and to work for what we want as we pursue our dreams. Marc and Angel say it best: “We waste all our time and energy waiting for the ideal path to appear. But it never does. Because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting.” Sometimes in order to walk a new path, we have to lighten up our load by letting go of things that just aren’t benefitting us. Like an airplane in a holding pattern, you can go in circles only so long before you run out of fuel. It’s scary and sometimes painful to let go of things; however, where you are today is not the end of your story. There is a new chapter ahead. So instead of just waiting for all the things we desire to just happen, what steps can we take to lighten our load and walk along and make that new path? Here are a few ideas:
1. Let go of the unrealistic ideas and the distractions in your life. Sure, those things may be fun for the moment; but are they helping you reach your long term goals? If what amuses you at the moment is not propelling you toward your goals, it’s a distraction. Don’t settle for good when you can have better. Choose the better thing. Focus on what really matters.
2. Let go of the idea that you have to compete with everyone else. Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost. Don’t compare yourself with perfect social media posts that we all know are really staged. Instead, fill your time with experiences that are meaningful to you. If all your choices are based on what you see in others, you’re giving your life away. At times, we all fall prey to marketing, which is created to motivate you to want to look a certain way, or to purchase certain things or else feel you don’t measure up. It’s all just a distraction from what is real and its purpose is to sell things. Instead keep your eyes on what is real, like you and your friends and your family, your hopes, and your dreams.
3. Let go of blaming your decisions, anger and frustration on someone else. We have all made poor choices and had to live with the results. However, those experiences often do leave us with newfound wisdom. Gaining the ability to own our mistakes and not overreact helps keep us at peace. The biggest obstacle you will ever have to overcome is yourself. Learning to effectively control your responses to unexpected challenges of life is a skill that will help you overcome anything.
4. Let go of being afraid of change. Be willing to learn new things. Be mindful, humble and teachable. There’s always room for a new idea, a new perspective, even a new beginning. Life changes daily and so can you. Because it’s never too late to let go and step forward in the right direction.
We all need support, guidance, and healthy reminders sometimes, especially if we have experienced trauma which can leave us fearful of everything. At Crisis Services of North Alabama, we offer support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to help them find their way forward and recapture their dreams. Our services are free and confidential. You may reach our Jackson County office at 256.574.5826 or our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000.