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Why Letting Go Seems Like The Last Option Even Though It’s The Best

Why Letting Go Seems Like The Last Option Even Though It’s The Best

“The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go of the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.” – Seneca

Letting go is an essential practice to maintaining balance and inner peace. It is a cycle of surrendering, acceptance, having faith and self-love. This cycle is not something we do once but a cycle we must repeat everyday, maybe even numerous times a day, due to the incessant chatter of the mind. The voice in our head will continue to chatter in hopes of bringing us back to a place of self-doubt, fear and control.

So what are we letting go of? Whether it’s a relationship we are trying to make work, a job we really want or of what people think of us, we are letting go of trying to control the outcome of our desires.

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Desires are good, they motivate us, but sometimes life has a different, better plan for us… So, when do we know when it is the right time to let go? When our ego is running the show and our self-worth is at stake. This is usually the time that letting go seems like the least possible scenario. This is when letting go is necessary so we do not lose touch with ourselves.

Let’s take a look at five of the most common reasons we tend to cling onto our desires instead of surrendering and letting go:

1. FEAR.

Usually we are resisting change when we are stepping into the unknown. Let’s face it, the unknown is scary – we have no clue what to expect. This is a totally normal feeling! This is where reason #2 comes in…

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2. Lack of FAITH.

As a society, we are always looking for external gratification. We tend to have a lack of faith in our abilities, our worthiness as well our universe. This lack of faith will always bring us back to that dark place of fear, shame and control.

3. GUILT and SHAME.

Shame – that pesky feeling of, ‘I’m not good enough’ will keep us sticking around instead of letting go when the time is right. Shame allows us to inter-tangle our self-worth with our desires and the outcome can be crushing for our self-esteem. Guilt on the other hand, will make us question our actions and hold us back due to the thought that letting go = betrayal. Letting go is not betrayal; it is practicing self-love. These feelings of guilt, per Melody Beattie’s, The Language of Letting Go, are “Just after burn. Let them burn out.”

4. BELIEFS.

Let me clarify, the beliefs I am referring to are those beliefs that stem from our ego (the ones self-constructed and linked to our self-image). For example, the belief that we would have control of the situation if we were ___ (smart enough, pretty enough, taller, thinner etc.). This is why it is important to step back and be able to identify and witness the Ego at work and stop it in its tracks.

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5. TIMING.

Sometimes it is not the time for us to let go. For some reason, there is a lesson the universe is trying to teach us before we are able to let go, learn our lesson and move on. When the time in right, trust we will know…

So now, how do we let go when it is so difficult? Stay present. Listen to your heart. Then literally let go. I know it sounds hard, but this is one process we have total control over. Just like you have total control over the ability to let go of a physical object and let it drop it to the floor, you can let go of your desires, detach emotionally and walk away. Will your mind bother you about your decision to let go? You bet! Just ignore it… it will go away.

There is a tremendous amount of freedom and power that comes with letting go. We all have a choice – we can either:

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“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen proverb

The choice is yours.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Featured photo credit: Creative Commons via creativecommons.org

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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