I posted on social media recently something that said "One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change."
This is so true and yet so difficult to do for so many people, especially when you want the best for yourself, for your family, for the company you work for. When you hold yourself accountable and, by default, hold others accountable. When you take so much pride in what you do, how is it even possible to let go of something you can't change, essentially stop fighting for what you believe is right? Some people may think that doing this makes you a sell-out, that it makes you ingenuine. To those people, I say, believe what you will but until you're in a situation where you realize your voice no longer matters and the proverbial fight is in vain, you won't understand.
Now, there are people out there who can let things go, seemingly, at the drop of a hat. This can be a wonderful trait to have in some situations, but this isn't about them. This is about those who are so passionate about whatever a particular "thing" is, that it causes them emotional, mental, and quite possibly physical distress to think they have "the way" and no one is listening to them. This is about those who are so set in a routine, that any deviation of said routine likely turns their whole day into shambles. This is about protecting your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Just as with the "Like/Dislike" list, you have to evaluate why you're so consumed with this situation. If it's work related, maybe you're pushing for a certain change because you know that it aligns with the company's goals and it will get them leaps and bounds closer to said goals. If it's more personal, maybe it's your kids or significant other aren't doing something exactly the way you want them to, so it takes twice as long. You have to be very conscious of yourself, very self-aware, in order to make the decision to let something go. You have to know when it's starting to bother you and you have to catch it before you begin another attempt for someone to see your point of view.
Let's take the work example first. You have a suggestion that gets the company closer to a goal and you've been proposing this suggestion to several different people for several months, if not years. Many of these people see your point of view and agree that it would be a substantial win for the company if this simple change was put into place. Your hopes are up, you're finally able to make a difference, and all of a sudden all talk of your suggestion dies. Each time you bring it up, one person in particular has a negative reaction and ends up embarrassing you in front of your counterparts and management. This stresses you out, it makes you not want to join in on any meetings regarding goals and improvement. It makes you cringe at the thought of having a meeting with this one particular person. It makes you not want to voice your opinion anymore. It makes you angry because you have the proof that this will work; you've run the numbers, you have data, you have examples. When you're in one of these meetings, your heart races when something of a similar nature is brought up, or maybe it drops into your stomach, or maybe there is some other physical reaction. Maybe you roll your eyes at the other suggestions, because if they just adopted yours on a trial run, they would see they wouldn't need many of these other, more complicated, things that people are suggesting. So, you have to ask yourself, is it worth the emotional, mental and physical turmoil you're going through? Can you really make a difference with this issue? And then you have to accept the fact that the answer is no to both of those questions, and you have to let it go. Once you do, you will be indifferent to what, or who, once infuriated you, and you will likely be more productive in other areas. This isn't to say you give up, I think I've established that in my posts, I'm not telling anyone to give up. What I'm suggesting is that you make a conscious effort to put your happiness and well-being at the forefront of your priorities.
Now let's address the personal situation. Your kids, or significant other, doing something not at all the way you've asked for it to be done. Maybe it's the way your kids put away their toys, or the way your other half folds the laundry. Your heart races just thinking about it, doesn't it? Thinking that each toy has a home and the kids are just throwing things wherever to get their "clean up" duties over with. Or your significant other folds and stacks the laundry a different way than you do despite having seen the way you fold laundry and seeing that it's the most functional method for your household. Is that anxiety your feeling really worth it? Over toys? Over laundry? This is really difficult for a lot of people and can make them, dare I say, miserable to be around. You don't want to be that person, you love your family, so you have to ask those questions again. Is it really worth the emotional, mental, or physical turmoil you're putting yourself through? As much as you have figured out the easiest way to do these things, is it really worth a strained relationship to force or argue with someone over what's right? It's at this time you need to let it go. Everyone has their own way, at least they're picking up and helping. And what's the difference if the toys in the red bin are on the left side instead of on the right? What's the difference if the t-shirts are folded differently than how you normally do it? Is it really the end of the world?
It's not, not at all. And once you can increase your self-awareness and acknowledge these feelings and catch the reactions before they happen, you're be that much happier for it. You'll be more pleasant for others to be around, you won't experience those feelings of frustration or anxiety as much, you'll be more productive in other areas. Why focus your energy on a negative reaction to something? Let go of what you cannot change. Your entire world will be happier for it. And when you're happier about one thing in your life, your overall outlook becomes more pleasant, your surroundings don't seem dismal, and things start to go your way.
Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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