Updated: Jul 16, 2019
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” – Ann Landers
I’ve been working on my book, Better for Being Broken, for five years. Recently, I took on another project and began to give it priority over finishing up the final details of my book. I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and out of balance. We’ve all heard the term “lead balloon”. This new project started to remind me of a lead balloon; a heavy feeling that wasn’t making any progress no matter how much time, energy and effort I invested in it.
I could not figure out why until I took myself out of the situation and looked at it from an observer perspective. By doing this, it allows me the opportunity to become unemotional about the situation, the conditions and the outcome.
I also asked myself what I was willing to remove from my list of priorities to help me feel better, more balanced and prioritize my book again. This new project was diluting the importance of my book; this baby I’d been pregnant with for five years. I was in the final stages and I was prolonging completion due to something else I’d given precedence to.
Something had caused my priorities to shift and change. I stepped back and recognized this was a repeating pattern of mine. In the past, I had a tendency to put too much on my plate which caused a constant shift in priorities. From day to day and week to week, my priorities constantly changed because I took on too many projects. The bad thing/good thing is that I am a finisher. It is rare that I start something that I don’t complete. This is bad because in the past I took on too many projects. This is a good thing because I did finish the projects, eventually. However, this caused a tremendous amount of stress because I was constantly doing, completing, taking on, adjusting priorities and then repeating the same cycle. This did not make me feel good and caused me to be completely out of balance in my life because I never took any time off.
When that old feeling started coming up, I recognized it this time. I sat down and let that old, uncomfortable wave of heaviness occupy my body that left me drained of energy and emotionally spent. This was the feeling that caused me so much anxiety and stress in the past. This was a situation I was causing again in my life. It had been quite a few years since this had happened, yet I allowed it to sneak up on me.
By sitting with it and allowing myself to be in “that place” again, I remembered how much I hated being in that space and only I could change it by making a different choice. It was hard making myself feel all those old emotions however this was the only way I would be able to stop it and change it. I had to relive the past so I would not repeat it in the future.
And now, I had a choice to make. I had to choose between my book and the other project. At this point, the choice was amazingly easy to make. I felt how heavy the lead balloon was, then imagined it was a regular balloon. The image changed into a red balloon filled with love, gratitude and acceptance. I then pictured the balloon string in my fingers and I gently let it go, watching, waiting and wishing for new energy, new life and new experiences.
How many times have you felt this feeling? Is there a project you’ve taken on that is causing you stress and anxiety? Have you filled your plate too full? Are your priorities constantly changing? Remember, there are only three steps you must take, just like I did, to get out of this situation.
#1 – Recognize that old feeling. You know it when it comes up and we all have a tendency to push it down and not deal with it.
#2 – Allow yourself to sit with the feeling. It is hard to do this however it reminds you of how bad you felt before.
#3 – Make your choice. Life is all about choices and every choice we make helps us on our journey; one step at a time.
This is why it is important to let things go – not because it is a sign of failure but rather a sign of progress, growth and commitment to yourself and your story.
You can apply these three steps to anything in your life. Have your priorities changed because of a health issue, change in finances or marital status? Can you identify what your main priority is or has been? Was it travel? Moving to another house, city or country? Take a few minutes to think about anything that might be causing you discomfort. When you begin to feel uncomfortable, discern what is causing that feeling and allow it to surface. Then make a choice.
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