Welcome to 2023! I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year, and a lot of that has to do with my sense that people are starting to feel some normalcy returning. What a crazy few years it’s been! While we were all trying to deal with a pandemic and crazy weather events, I noticed people were starting to hang on to things. That panic we felt from toilet paper shortages didn’t help the situation, and some people became full-out hoarders of anything and everything.
I’m hopeful that as things settle down, we can all begin to look around us and see the things we have been blindly holding on to that no longer serve us. Initially, those things might have brought us some sort of comfort, and we were all searching for reassurance and comfort wherever we could find it. But, reaching our new “normal” means we must re-evaluate how we have been living life and probably make some changes.
On that topic, one of my favorite essays is “Let It Go” by Bishop T.D. Jakes. In it, he talks about the need to stop trying to hold on to people and things that are not serving you. My favorite lines are:
“You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something, I’ve got the gift of goodbye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in goodbye.”
So, this month’s article is all about saying goodbye to the people/places/things that are keeping you from being your best self. Let’s take a look:
People. Are there people in your life who are no longer healthy for you to spend time with? Do you feel less energetic/happy and more exhausted when you spend time with them? Do you spend more time worrying about them and checking on them than they do you? Healthy relationships are reciprocal. You both invest in the relationship, build each other up, call each other out, and support each other. If you have relationships, be they friends or family, that don’t do that, it is time to re-position them. Some of them might need to go. Others might stay, but you begin to back off on how much time and energy you are going to invest in them. Stop giving more of yourself than you are getting in return.
Places. Are you spending time in the places where your priorities lie? If your priority is self-care, family, fun, or career advancement, is that where you invest in your precious and limited time? Commit to re-balancing things. If work is not your priority, then stop letting it bleed over into your private life. Quit talking about work, ruminating about work, and generally letting work ooze into every aspect of your life.
If you have other places you must spend your time but don’t really want to, stop complaining about it and dreading it. We all have places we feel we must go but do not look forward to, such as the funeral home, hospital or nursing home. Remembering that no one wants to be in the situation of needing any of those places can be helpful. You are there because you feel it is the right place to be and to support someone you care about. Having a good attitude will help the time pass faster, help the time be more pleasant, and you will be gone before you know it.
Things. This is my favorite place to use the “gift of goodbye.” Take a look at how attached you are to the things you have. How much time are you spending coveting things you don’t have? Begin to look around you and notice how much stuff you have. Do you truly need it, or has it become something more than a “need” to you? Does the amount of stuff you have represent how successful you are? One thing many of us learned during the weather events is that stuff is not nearly as important as being safe and alive. Many of you haven’t seen your “stuff” in over two years because it is still in a storage container. Isn’t it amazing that you have been okay even though you didn’t have all those things? The acquisition of things does not make you a success. What is it time for you to say goodbye to?
Speaking of goodbyes, the time has come for me to say goodbye to you. After almost 20 years of writing this article for Thrive magazine, I feel it is time for someone else to get a turn. Thank you to the partners of Thrive for allowing me to write on whatever topic I wished and always being supportive. Thank you to you, dear reader, for allowing me to share my views, discuss uncomfortable topics, and gently nudge you to re-think some things (okay, sometimes not so gently). It has truly been an honor and a privilege. I wish you a wonderful 2023. Goodbye!