Sunday morning, I decided to give this blog a face lift.
It wasn’t a decision that came easily. In fact, it took me a few months of hemming and hawing before I finally accepted the fact that something needed to change.
The day before, my husband and I had looked at my website and talked about changing a few things up. He’s about to build his own, and helping me tinker with mine was good practice. At the time, we were focusing on small changes. Safe changes. The next morning I woke up with a renewed vision and did something uncharacteristic and did a massive overhaul.
For some, it might be an easy thing to do. You wake up, decide to change your theme and go forth with confidence. For me, it was a massive turning point.
I’ve never been good with change. As a kid, I would become upset when my mother or my grandmother decided to rearrange their furniture. I liked the comfort of knowing exactly where everything was at all times. I like stability.
The older I got, the more I hated change. I don’t like it when plans get disrupted, even if it’s only a five minute detour. I don’t like traditions being eschewed in favor of new, exciting routines. I just don’t do well with it, period.
This resistance to change is often rooted in an unwillingness to let go of things, be they mental hang-ups or physical items. This has always been an issue for me as well, as evidenced by the dozens of totes cluttering up my office.
These containers hold countless artifacts of my life, from early childhood until now. A lot of these things really don’t serve much purpose, but the idea of letting them slip away is hard to face.
This need to hold onto things is especially strong if I’ve sunk a lot of time and energy into something.
When I started this site, I had a very clear vision of what I wanted. I’d sketched out a Logo that I loved and had a friend of mine create it for me. I carefully chose my colors and my theme to fit well with it and created a feel that served me well. I spent a lot of time thinking about the symbolism, and even wrote a blog post explaining it.
When I decided to change my theme, I kept trying to force that logo into my design. Over and over, I found that it just didn’t work. Although I still loved the design, it no Longer fit. I needed to do something different.
As you can imagine, it was incredibly cringe-inducing.
However, as I looked at the preview on my screen, the dread was replaced with pride. This is the image I wanted to present. This looked like me.
When I think about all the other changes in my life I have met with resistance, I have to laugh. There was never anything to fear and most of the time they wound up being pretty insignificant. It’s easy to succumb to the momentary discomfort, it’s harder to appreciate the growth that those changes can bring.
Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, muster up some courage, and let it go, having faith that it will all work out for the best. If you’ve read my novels, you’ll agree this is something Maggie could work on as well!
What I’ve learned is that there is a very specific process to this, regardless of how big or small the change you are about to make may be.
Step One: Recognizing what is holding you back.
Maybe it’s a box of old junk in your closet. Perhaps it’s a bad habit or a toxic relationship. It could be a Limiting Belief about yourself or a past hurt. Whatever it is, get a firm grasp on what exactly is blocking your way forward.
Step Two: Assessing the situation.
Why are you holding onto this? Is it helping you or hurting you? Are there other issues that are interlinked with this one? What do you need to do to get rid of this blockage?
Step Three: Acknowledging the good (if any) that it brought and the fact that it is no longer serving you.
Allow yourself to think about the purpose it served. Maybe a self limiting belief helped you avoid something that was too difficult to deal with in the past. Maybe this item, like my logo, it did the job at the time but no longer fits with your mission. A person who you’ve shared good memories with may no longer be good for you. That bad habit may have gotten you through some bad times. It’s okay to admit that something isn’t entirely awful , while still acknowledging that it is no longer beneficial to you.
Step Four: Focusing on the positive aspects of the change you intend to make.
Are you making this change to free up space in your home? Will this change have a positive affect on your physical or mental health? You’re making this change for a reason, hold on to it. If you’re moving away for a new job, for instance, focus on the new opportunities for growth, rather than dwell on the people and places you’re leaving behind.
Step Five: Say goodbye.
This doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Nor do you need to literally talk to the item or idea, however sometimes it is helpful. Let the thought go, throw the item out, burn those papers, whatever you need to do to close it up and move forward.
Sometimes, you may want to hold on to a piece of something. Maybe you take a photograph of an item you are giving up, or save a scrap of an old shirt to work into a quilt or scrapbook. I chose to incorporate the old logo into this post to preserve it (and, of course, I kept the file on my computer). Maybe you need to write a little something about it. As a matter of fact, when I have to remove a scene from a book I’m working on, I sometimes save it in a separate file in case it can be rewritten and worked into another story.
Whatever action you need to take to implement this change and ensure a smooth transition, do it.
Step Six: Breathe. That’s it. Take a deep cleansing breath and give yourself a pat on the back. Change takes bravery, no matter how small. This is more true for some of us than others.
Now that the hard part is over, go forward with confidence and enjoy all the benefits that are sure to come from your decision.
What’s something that you have had to let go of? What helped you through it? Share your tips in the comments below!
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