To move forward, it’s hard. We cling to the past, the distant past, the recent past, tightly grabbing those tendrils of feelings and memories that have shaped us to who we are today and this place, this situation. We wonder why it’s hard to move on, why every step forward feels like we’re knee deep in mud, sticking and dragging us backwards and down.
But the truth, however much it hurts, it that it isn’t working. If you’re stuck and you want to change and grow, you need to cut those ties to the things that are holding you back. Pack up the good memories, tightly into your soul, and cut the rest loose.
No, it’s not that easy. It’s taken me 2 years to get to the place where I’m finally seeing the other side, seeing that it is possible to really change, to have that confidence in myself and in my life and destiny. But still, I have to physically wrench myself away from that mud. Choosing to stay classy and making conscious decisions to focus forwards. Leaving behind the expectation I was owed something. Breaking off old relationships and trying to let any bad feelings just float away with good intentions and good wishes. It’s hard, my god it’s hard.
One effect of minimalism is that it gives you more space, both physically and mentally. I found that once I gave my thoughts the headspace to be heard, oh wow, what a waterfall. From every direction, from every space in time, unsurfaced thoughts bubbled up, bad feelings came back at warp speed, all the emotions and memories tumbling into this empty space, all demanding time and attention at once. It really took a long time to sift through them all and make peace with the new minimal. By removing the focus from the material, a certain degree of introspection arises. It’s not bad. It’s natural. Just be prepared and acknowledge it’s just a phase. Your thoughts will even themselves out. They will.
So to the future. I keep it simple. I drop things I don’t believe in, that I disagree with ethically. If relationships are part of that, well follow your heart. You’ll know if it’s the right thing to do. Go with your gut. Make effort in the right situations. Rise above negativity. Stay minimal with your feelings in that situation.
It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with self-improvement and the ‘I should’ mindset, especially when there are so many quality materials available on the internet, so many blogs and so much inspiration. Choose one or two. I love Scott Dinsmore at Live Your Legend, Marianne Cantwell at Free Range Humans, Joshua and Ryan at The Minimalists and Alexander Heyne at Milk The Pigeon. let me know if you have any more suggestions 🙂
I’d try a couple of sites. Sign up, join the community, follow them on Twitter, see who meets your needs and inspires you. Then dive right in. Immerse yourself. Believe. Use the tools they provide.
When I feel myself being dragged back into old ways, I’ll consciously stop myself. If I feel crappy I’ll bung my walking boots on and leave the house. No expectations, just to get out. If I find myself wallowing in self-pity and bad memories, I’ll shake my head, stick on my current ‘happy song of the moment’ on Spotify or iTunes, and tell myself to focus on something I love for an hour. That gives my mind a rest and it’s pretty much forwards after that!
I’d love it if you shared your story with one empty shelf if you’ve moved on or changed your direction. What strategies worked for you? Where are you now compared with previously?
Let’s keep running forwards! X