Here’s a question for you - what happens after you’ve removed yourself from the space of hurt but you haven’t moved on...yet? I ask because I’m there, sort of just treading water, not wanting to lose sight of land, but the excitement of what is beyond the horizon calls me too. Wait, isn’t that the plot of Moana? I’m no island princess, but New Zealand is an island, well islands, and leaving these shores is all I’ve been looking forward to since I made that decision last year.
I think when you reach that place, that’s when you have to decide what you’re going to keep and what you need to let go. Are you a traveller that packs the bare essentials, or do you pack for every single scenario then get there and realise you’re still only going to wear the same five pieces of clothing anyway.
Holding on to emotional baggage is just as heavy and self-sabotaging, so here are three ways I learned to let go of what no longer served me so that I can make space for the life I truly want.
1. You Can Be Right or be Happy, not Both
It’s been over a year since my ex and I have seen each other, we still live in the same town as far as I know, and it still amazes me how different our lives are less than two years since we separated. Am I ready to see him? I don’t think ‘ready’ is the right word, but I have moved on that space of hurt, which was a priority of mine. That was the first step to taking back my power, because I knew that I was only projecting my feelings of self-rejection and low self-worth onto him. He didn’t make me feel like that, I felt that way about myself.
Maybe what happened to you was a single event, over a few months, maybe even longer than that. Once you’re out of that situation, it’s natural to want to blame someone or something for those hurt feelings. If you were on the receiving end, at least in the beginning, wanting to be ‘right’ or feel like you can take the moral high ground will give you some comfort. How long you stay in the place is up to you, it helped me at least to cope with the chaos that was in my head. I would listen to hours of 80s power ballads and spend far too much money on chocolate. Whatever works to get you through it, do it.
Then one day it stopped feeling good - even when girlfriends would be angry on my behalf, it no longer felt good to listen to any of it. I had given myself time to be angry, bitter and frustrated, then I realised that deep down, I wasn’t really any of those things. Not before the hurt, and I most definitely didn’t want to be after. It was that moment of clarity that I knew it was up to me to choose happiness - to own the mistakes we made along the way, but at the end of it all, I hope we’re both happy in our own way.
2. This Is Me, And it's glorious
We all have insecurities, right? Loving who you see in the mirror, or the conversations in your head, that takes a conscious effort. It’s so much easier to be kinder to other, and be critical of ourselves. I just took a big sigh after writing that (and slowly a smile came out), because I know it’s taken a lot of work to get here.
When I started dating in the beginning, I was dealing with so much feeling of rejection that I was chasing men. They weren’t even men I was that interested in really, but I was at such a low point that I thought crumbs of affection was enough - that it was all I deserved. Like I’ve talked about before, how we allow others to treat us is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
I did a lot of work on myself - I started going to the gym and I slowly distanced myself from people that that didn’t make me feel good. I’m not chasing ‘feeling good’, more being in the headspace to receive and enjoy it. This year I’m also going to have a more balanced relationship with food. I took stock of what I valued, the skills I have and my priorities, so that I could do more of what made me happy.
We all have far more to offer this world than we realise - often I think we’re just scared to show it, to walk in that greatness because it can take us away from what we know, what is comfortable. Whoever I become at the end of it all, she will be glorious, I just know it.
3. Challenges Your Belief Systems
Think of one thing that you’ve told yourself over and over again...for me it was my fear of heights. For as long as I can remember, I would experience vertigo if I stood just even half a metre off the ground. Then last year I had to paint the dance studio and didn’t have the money to pay professionals. So I sucked it up, watched lots of YouTube painting tutorials and climbed up that ladder...time and time again.
I may not have a new career as a painter, but as I stood high on that ladder, there was no vertigo. That lead me to skydiving at 15,000 feet in Taupo, then ziplining in Rotorua. What did I learn from that? Like our taste buds, it’s good to challenge our belief systems, because our fears, wants and needs change over time. I think of all the things I’ve missed out because I convinced myself that I was too scared of heights to even try them.
They say change happens through action - what’s something new that you’re going to try today?