Let It Be.
Let That Shit Go.
Let Go of What Does Not Serve You.
You've heard it before. But are you now ready to go inside of yourself and do the work to release what is weighing you down?
I polled my Facebook friends list last month and asked this question: What do you wish you could let go of in life?
I invite you to sit for just 5 minutes, close or soften your eyes, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and let your foundation settle into the ground. Take a few slow but deep breaths and allow yourself this time to just be. Set the intention to pinpoint what is holding you back in life, in love, from contentment. What repetitive thought, emotion, or pattern is no longer serving you? Take a step back and become a witness to what comes up. Whatever comes up is valid. If it comes easily, that's great. If you're grasping for the answer, that's good too. This is the work. Even if it's not immediately clear, just by setting the intention, that thing you're asking for clarity on will come into your awareness very soon. Or you can come back to this exercise until it does.
NAME THE CULPRIT
First things first. We need to name it. What is the person, place, thing, thought, emotion, or pattern that you are hoping to release?
Notice how I didn't say memory. A few people have reached out about letting go of pain from the past. You can't erase your memories, but you can take back control of the emotion around the memory that creates your perception of the past. You can become aware of the stories you hold onto about what happened. You can also take back control over how you react when that memory pops in to say hey.
The most popular responses to the Facebook poll were Guilt, Self Doubt, and Expectations. Does that resonate with you? If we look for the root of a lot of these unproductive states or patterns or blocks we get stuck in, it all really comes back to expectations. Expectations are standards set outlining how you "should" live your life often conveyed by your family, your friends, your job, or society. Hear me out.
Much of what holds us back in life starts with programming. From very early on in life, we are programmed to elevate the importance of other people's expectations to gain love and acceptance. These are things that we all crave innately. We all naturally crave connection. Some would say it's the meaning of life.
When we are called to do something new or different that would require stepping outside of the expectations set for us, we feel self doubt. There is an inner voice that will tell us we can't do that thing that we so desperately want to do. We will disappoint, we will fail. What will they think? Self doubt goes hand in hand with fear of failure.
From a childhood of being judged, guilted or shamed every time we stepped outside of the expectations, or more likely became "unmanageable" to our caregivers, our inner child becomes wounded. It has now become your adult inner critic voice. Thriving off of old stories and limiting beliefs, this voice loves telling us about all the things we just cannot do and all the ways we "should not" be. Basically, every time you try to step outside of these perceived expectations, the inner critic will come in and outline all the ways in which you suck. Nice, right? Think of him or her as an old, angry person, cynical and jaded by the challenges life has sent them. If it makes you feel better, we can respond lovingly with an: "Ok Boomer."
The worst part of self-doubt ? The more power we give to this inner critic, the more it will stifle our power and self worth. It's also the killer of self trust and intuition, since we are constantly second guessing and even ignoring entirely those truths from within us, the nudges telling us to follow our heart and fulfill our soul's purpose.
When and if we finally DO step out of the "norm", and possibly disrupt other peoples' expectations, what we often feel next is guilt - as in that feeling of "I did something wrong". Guilt will stifle our ability to live authentically and enjoy life if we do not actively work to release this emotion and the belief system around it.
If we keep ourselves in this box of expectations, many other common negative emotions arise. We feel insecure as we compare ourselves to everyone else in that box, or category, or others with that same label. Who is doing it best? We may feel anger towards someone for not fulfilling the expectations that we placed on them. We also might experience bitterness and resentment around why these expectations even exist and why they are being forced upon us.
YOU'RE NOT TO BLAME
So why do we place such importance on the expectations of others? As I mentioned, we are programmed to do so. So at this time, please release any shame you may be feeling around caring what others think of you. It's not your fault. It's inevitable.
We are biologically programmed to want to fit in- it's in our DNA. Long ago, the "outcasts" didn't make it very far in life. The weird ones were discarded, literally. I will give you three examples.
Cave men: I am certain they probably killed the first guy to show up with fire. Because it's scary shit when someone wants to evolve. It was most likely the second or third guy who got all the credit for fire.
Witches: These were women embracing their feminine gifts. Storytelling, song, intuition, sensuality. The "witches" stepped outside of society's expectations. Their hangings were a public spectacle.
Jesus: Crucified. End of story.
We learn by watching what happens when people "step out of line". Fitting in is a trauma response embedded in our DNA.
We are also conditioned to "fit in" by absorbing tons of information about what we "should" be doing or how we are "supposed to" live as taught