“If there are things that are causing you to suffer, you have to know how to let go of them.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
As many of you know, I love the theme of letting go. Sometimes we hold on a little too tightly to expectations we have for ourselves or thoughts of what we “think” we need to be happy, fulfilled and successful. Old habits die hard and it can be difficult to let go of an idea that you have about yourself or your life that no longer rings true.
For example, I was doing a values assessment recently and the things I thought would come up, like creativity and curiosity, these really core ideals I connect my sense of identity to, didn’t. What surfaced were things I already have in my life, that not everybody has. Things like freedom, safety, and security.
And it reminded me that, while as a culture we are always striving for more, perhaps during this time of uncertainty, we should seek happiness from what we already have. To make time to be grateful for what is right in front of us in this moment. Things that many of us take for granted everyday, like freedom, safety and security can bring us so much peace if we allow them to.
So often we wait for happiness.
We tell ourselves that we’ll be happy when “x” happens. We’ll relax when we reach a certain goal, or breathe a sigh of relief as we accomplish a milestone in life, but the truth is, we have everything we need to be happy and at peace right here in this moment, if only for a moment.
So, repeat after me:
“I have everything I need.”
In times of doubt, stress, you name it, this is a mantra that has brought me calmness, reassurance and gratitude.
I hope it does the same for you.
“All the art of living lies in the fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” -Havelock Ellis
All relationships have a tension or delicate balance between aspects that we like and dislike or things that work well and are a challenge.
So too, do we tend to have multiple feelings or emotions of an event, say, the loss of a loved one. We are sad they are gone, yet relieved they are no longer suffering.
Yes, I love you, And sometimes I find you difficult to be around.
When we limit ourselves to dichotomous thinking, we miss the Rainbow of Options. Getting stuck in black/white, right/wrong, good/bad thinking sets us and others up for failure rather than success.
If we choose “right” then others are “wrong.” When our “right” doesn’t work out, we feel like we have failed.
If instead we look at the whole rainbow of options we could choose, we are limitless.
95% of the options may be things you would never actually do, but at least they are there for you if you need them.
This Rainbow of Options gives you more flexibility rather than keeping you rigid and binary. Much of mental illness can be due to rigidity while mental well-being can lie in the ability for have flexibility of thinking.
Think: Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset!