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What Do You Need To Let Go Of?

What Do You Need To Let Go Of?

    I like the concept of letting go. It’s mostly where I find joy, calm, peace and purpose. It’s so much easier than chasing. And so much more effective. Rather than chasing happiness, the Buddhist philosophy suggests that we simply choose to let go of that which makes us unhappy. The very notion of chasing something has a sense of urgency about it, doesn’t it? And, of course, with urgency comes anxiety. And with anxiety comes illness. And with illness comes unhappiness.

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    Maybe our gentle robe-wearing friends are on to something. Some people spend their lives chasing acceptance and approval. Perhaps it’s time for some of us to let go of the need to seek the acceptance, approval and even permission of others? Perhaps we’re good enough all by ourselves? Perhaps we should stop giving away our power? Perhaps in the letting go we’ll find the only acceptance we need: self-acceptance. Some will spend their lives chasing physical perfection. I have some expertise in this area. While it’s great to be in shape, it’s not great when our confidence, self-esteem and sense of self are dependant on our physical appearance.

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    Considering that we spend most of our lives in a slowly deteriorating physical shell, this pursuit is an exercise in frustration. This desire for physical perfection arises out of fear. Fear of not being pretty enough. Good enough. Desirable enough. And, of course, fear is at the root of unhappiness. Some will spend their lives chasing financial wealth, only to wake up one day and discover that all they’ve created is emotional and spiritual poverty. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, except when that wealth defines us. If only we taught our kids (and ourselves) that being rich has nothing to do with money or material possessions. Some of us have spent years (and years) trying to ‘find’ ourselves.

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    Maybe it’s time to stop looking and simply let go of everything that isn’t us? When I let go of everything I am trying to do, be, create and own, there I am. And while I might do, be, create and own much in my life, I am none of those things and they are not me. I can’t be found in things. And neither can you.

    What do you need to let go of?

    Image: source

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

    My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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    Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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    Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

    How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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    1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
    2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
    3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
    4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
    5. Smile and get cracking.

    The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

    Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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