“OMG, Stacey what were you thinking!?”
This is what I heard from almost ALL of my family and friends when I walked away from a government job with great money, great benefits, a pension and guaranteed paid vacation for several weeks a year.
I had spent 15 years at that job. A job that I hated. A job that I knew after year 2 was not for me.
For my family and many friends, that job was the pinnacle of what you should aim for in life. It was the Holy Grail of success.
But I never saw that.
What they saw as me giving up, I saw as letting go.
Letting go of what felt like a prison sentence.
Letting go of crying every Sunday night because I hated the thought of starting yet another week there.
Letting go of feeling as if a part of my soul was dying every time I swiped that access pass each day I walked through security.
And here is the difference between what they saw and what I knew…
Letting go is about releasing control to reclaim your power.
Giving up is about relinquishing your power.
The only reason we ever try to control anything is because we feel unsafe.
Something or someone is pressing against the parameters of what we perceive we need to be okay; what we need to keep us safe in our lives.
We each have an idea of what safety is individually and also collectively.
So why did I stay so long if I consciously knew that it wasn’t for me?
Because that programming we receive growing up is powerful. It teaches us to stick to it at all costs – because our very survival is at stake – happiness be damned.
But I could deeply feel that this wasn’t right for me.
What was right for me felt more like freedom. It felt like running my own schedule, my own business, my own life. It felt like living on my terms all the time not just on weekdays after 5 p.m. and from Friday to Sunday nights.
So I let go of the controls I had in place to keep this paradigm running in my life and exchanged it for the uncertainty of going my own way.
In letting go of the control, I gained back every bit of power I’d given to that programming, my family and friends and that definition of success.
I remember the moment I realized I could actually make this happen. The HR person told me the info I needed to hear and the impact of what I was about to do suddenly hit me. All I could do was put down my head on the desk and cry.
Not even tears of joy at that point because I wouldn’t be able to access that for weeks later. It was pure relief.
I hadn’t realized until that moment just how much of an emotional and physical weight this had been on my mind, body and spirit.
It takes so much energy of all kinds to keep doing something that is not in alignment with you.
The truth is letting go or surrendering is a power move.
You are freeing up space for what you truly want to come in.
It is definitely difficult to let go of control of things that represent safety to you.
Here are some ways to practice getting into the state of surrender and letting go rather than just giving up in frustration which doesn’t help you move forward in life in any way.
Questions for reflection:
Letting go of stuff:
- Have a look around your house. Include all broken items, items from old relationships, inherited stuff that you don’t want but feel you have to keep, gifts you received that you will never use.
- What do you see that is weighing you down the moment you look at it?
- What items are on that list are you willing to get rid of? Recycle? Re-gift? Donate?
- Do you have any resistance to getting rid of an item? Examine why you think that might be. Try to feel into what your attachment is to it.
- Make a plan to get rid of what you can.
Letting go of a belief:
- Journal on what beliefs you have that you feel get in your way of living more authentically. This could be a personal belief (I need to be perfect for me to be good enough), family programming (no one in our family is wealthy) or any other belief you’ve picked up along the way that takes up space in your mind.
- Sit with the belief and ask whether the idea of getting rid of it feels liberating or brings on anxiousness.
- How would your life be different without that belief? If that belief didn’t exist, what could you stop doing that is draining precious energy?
- Decide whether this is something you can let go of at this time or whether you have to sit with it more before doing so.
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