I am the absolute worst at letting go of things. I am one of those people that tear off the band-aid SLOWLY. I mean, I will spend an entire day inching the band-aid a little closer to coming free. It literally gets to the point that a family member or friend has to intervene and just rip it off quickly for me. I always eventually get the band-aid off if I’m left to my own means, but it quite a painful journey getting there.
I feel like there are two types of people → the ones who rip the band-aid off as quickly as possible and the ones that slowly peel it off over time. The ones who rip it off quickly are able to easily transition from one life event to the next, never looking back. The ones who rip it off slowly spend a little more time thinking about whether they actually want the band-aid off yet, what the consequences will be, and ultimately, are avoiding the pain of ripping a band-aid off while causing themselves MORE pain than if they just ripped it off all at once.
That’s the thing, by spending more time making a decision and moving on, we actually end up hurting ourselves more for a longer period of time, than if we just made a decision and lived with the consequences. Now, I’m not promoting just making rash decisions all of the time because sometimes the consequences you’re left to live with are severe if it’s the wrong decision. I am saying, though, that when we are unable to make decisions primarily because we fear pain, we become paralyzed and hurt ourselves, and others, even more.
Only two months into this year, I am already finding myself paralyzed in the face of some major decisions, pulling that band-aid off ever so slowly. Here’s what I’ve found so far to help me finally rip it off, and move confidently forward:
Know Your Worth
Decisions and letting go become infinitely easier when you know your worth. My inability to let go became so heavy this weekend that I just jumped in the car and drove down to Miami, a place incredibly close to my heart. As I visited all the old haunts I used to go to in college, and had dinner with my best friend, I was reminded of how valuable I was. I remembered that confident girl from college, and how far I’ve come since then. I remembered how much my friends and family love me and want to see me happy. In a day of running away, I remembered who Marji J. Sherman is and that I deserve the best.
Know You Have Options
Often times it’s hard to let go because you think you will be free-falling with no place to go. One thing my mother has ingrained in me since I was a child is that I ALWAYS have options. In fact, many times when I’ve had the courage to let go, God has opened an even better door for me that I didn’t even know existed. When you have faith and trust God has a plan B for you, amazing things happen.
Be Patient With Yourself
Embrace the fact that you are a slow band-aid puller-offer. Don’t try to morph yourself into someone that likes to quickly tear band-aids off. Be accepting of your need to think decisions through, and give yourself the space to decide. Sometimes putting pressure on yourself to be a different type of person than you are can only paralyze you more. Take some time to reflect, just don’t get stuck there forever.
Pray & Listen
Prayer is a cornerstone of my life. When I was driving home last night, I called my mom to vent about a situation and she said something golden, as she always does. She said, “Go home and write, Marji. Then pray and pray. Your answer will be there.” Now, the second part of this is equally as important as the first. You can pray all you want, but if you aren’t open to the answer you receive, then it’s not going to help you. Listen to what God is trying to tell you. Look for the signs, the instinct (Holy Spirit), what your inner voice is telling you.
Buy A Pros/Cons Notepad
I blocked off a weekend recently to make a black and white decision. As I took a small break to run a couple of errands, I saw a Pros/Cons notepad blatantly staring at me from the side of the cash register. That notepad became a valuable tool that weekend and continues to be. Nothing helps you to let go like seeing it spelled out on paper.
Talk To People Who Know You Well
As I mentioned previously, when I felt the world pressuring me and knew I had to let go of something, I immediately called up my best friend and met with her for dinner. Knowing me for the past seven years, she was able to provide a ton of perspective and ground me. She knows my history, my past decisions, and what drives me. My next two calls were to my mom and to my dad. People who know you well are able to remind you of who you are and provide sound advice that is based on a lifetime of history of knowing you. Since they are people you trust with your life, as well, they are also able to give you that little nudge you need to let go of something that’s not good for you.
Revisit Your Life Goals
Think long-term. Sometimes we’re unable to let go because we’re only looking at the benefits of the short-term. We don’t want to feel the initial pain of letting go, we don’t want to have to tell someone ‘no’. The list goes on and on. However, when we make decisions based on the short-term, we can really mess up our plans for the long term. It’s necessary to go through pain and challenges in order to get to where we are truly meant to be. You have to let go to make room for the future.
Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day, the most important thing for you to trust is your own gut (the Holy Spirit). Chances are, you know you need to let go, or it wouldn’t be so top of mind. What are your instincts telling you? Why are you even in a position to make this decision? Trust yourself, and move forward into the great things God has planned for you. Have faith.
Letting go can be one of the most difficult things for the quick band-aid taker-offers and the slow ones. It means trusting the unknown over the known, trusting God over what’s right in front of you, trusting what cannot be seen over what can be seen. It’s scary, tumultuous, and difficult. It can also be beautiful, exciting, and rewarding if it’s the right thing to do. It can lead you to places you never dreamed of going before and open up your life to a million new possibilities.
And, guess what?! If you don’t like where letting go lands you, you always have OPTIONS.
-Marji J. Sherman