Before you tackle any sort of life or career transition or change, it’s worth considering how to let go of whatever’s holding you back from moving forward.
Picture yourself at the airport, boarding a plane towards your next adventure. Except, there’s one problem – you’re lugging a suitcase the size of wardrobe, overflowing with literal and figurative physical and mental clutter.
You know what I’m talking about… that pile of unfulfilled expectations and expired dreams languishing alongside the threadbare t-shirts and out of date pantry items.
You see, it’s almost impossible to be open to new experiences, if you’re stuck carrying all the messes, mistakes and lost hopes of the past. Clinging to things that no longer serve you is like trying to steer a ship with an anchor.
Unpacking those things you haven’t looked at in years
Remember that job you loved ten years ago? It was a launchpad, not a life sentence. That relationship that didn’t work out? A detour, not a dead end.
The things that shaped you yesterday don’t have to define you tomorrow. You’re not a museum exhibit, static and unchanging.
You’re in a state of constant evolution, shaped by your experiences. But for many (me included!), the past lingers like a shadow, influencing your present and casting doubts on the things you want to do next. Letting go is no easy feat, but it’s a crucial step for maintaining your momentum.
I know it’s a tired old quote but… change really is the only constant. And this is true of who you are as much as it is about your external environment. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the relationships, decisions or attachments that are no longer adding value.
The benefits of letting go are profound – creating space for new opportunities, renewed energy, and more clarity.
Five potent “un”packing tips to lighten your load
1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ANCHORS
Denial is a comfy, if unproductive, couch. Own up to the things that weigh you down. It could be a relationship, a habit, or even a mindset. Write them down, scream them into a pillow, do a dramatic bonfire ritual (with care, please!). Recognising your excess baggage is the first step to leaving it behind.
2. REFRAME YOUR STORIES
Stop seeing those past experiences as failures and start viewing them as stepping stones. That relationship taught you resilience. That career hiccup nudged you towards your passion. Reframe the story, and the weight magically starts to lift.
3. PRACTICE MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL DECLUTTERING
If you’re like me, you’re an expert at adding – new skills, obligations, possessions. But when was the last time you consciously said “goodbye”? Declutter your relationships, your schedule, your mental space. Release what drains you so that you can make room for the things that fuel you.
4. EXPRESS AND RELEASE
Bottling up emotions from the past prolongs the healing process. Find healthy outlets to express your feelings – journaling, talking to a friend, or seeking professional help. Release the emotional weight associated with past events by honouring the lessons and choosing not be burdened by them. Then revel in your newly cleared “space”.
5. EMBRACE THE UNWRITTEN PAGE
You’re not your past. You have potential and stories just waiting to be discovered and written. Let go of the anchors, clear the runway, and spread your wings. The world is your canvas, and your future is an adventure waiting to begin.
Letting go of the past is a transformative process that opens doors to self-discovery and newfound clarity. Paint your masterpiece.
Are you ready to stop waiting, wishing and talking about when you’re going to do “that thing” and actually make it happen. The How to Get Unstuck podcast is full of conversations with experts and everyday people who’ve navigated being stuck and share their tips for using the “stuck” feeling as a catalyst for what comes next.