We’re not quite to the end yet, but this year has been life-changing. Learning a simpler, more meaningful way to live is starting to feel how I imagined it would. And whilst there’s still much to do, more de-cluttering and much more personal exploration ahead, I feel like I’ve made good progress.
I’ve let go of a lot in a relatively short period of time. Bags of clothes and shoes, paperwork and books, unused presents and all kinds of memorabilia that looking back, should never have been allowed in the house to begin with. I’ve let go of pieces of my past, dreams that belonged to the person I once was – which no longer feel right for me now – and to unrealistic standards when it comes to getting things done.
Learning to let go has taught me that in future, I need to be much more careful when it comes to what and whom I give my space, love and time to.
But I’m also discovering that safe-guarding my future self isn’t going to be enough. When it comes to people, there are some friendships I need to let go of now.
When you invite change into your life, things shift in ways that aren’t always expected. As I’ve let go of physical stuff and shed layers of the person I once was, I’ve developed a much stronger sense of identity. The more I release fears and critical assumptions – of both myself and others – the more aware I’ve become that I’ve been lonely at times because I’ve accepted some friendships under other people’s terms and conditions and bended myself into being what they wanted of me.
As a result, some friendships feel superficial and I long for something much deeper.
It’s not easy to confess when we’ve been willing to sacrifice our sense of self in order to please other people. But what I’ve realized is that it actually makes letting go easier. In fact, I may not need to let go at all. Rather I must gently unbend and be brave. I must open my heart to talk with honesty about my dreams and the things I believe in and to be true to my values – even when that’s scary and leaves me feeling exposed and vulnerable.
But this can only end one of two ways: These friends either won’t like the real me that stands before them, or by opening myself up and inviting them in, I’ll find that deeper connection we’ve both possibly been longing for.
Building a wall and letting others go would only get me so far. Removing it and allowing them to decide if our friendship is still what they want is going to be difficult and probably painful at times, but I feel in my heart that it’s the right step to take. Some friendships will wither, others will be given the space to grow.