With the start of the New Year just a few days away, many of us are scrambling to come up with our resolutions to better ourselves for a new beginning. Perhaps it’s shedding off some weight or rekindling a lost relationship. Or maybe we’re going for the extremes and demanding ourselves with expectations that ultimately add more stress and anxiety before we even ring in the New Year.
But what if we approached this upcoming New Year’s with the mindset of giving up or releasing the things in our lives that no longer serve us? Maybe this will allow us to create the space and lightness in our present reality to help us evaluate the things that we really need in our lives.
Remember, the New Year is an excellent opportunity for self renewal and beautiful new chapters to begin. Take some time in the next several days to meditate on this list and evaluate your current life to make space to receive the bigger blessings to come.
Let Go of Toxic Friends. Now.
No matter how close you may have been to this person, if they are continuously causing harm to your emotional and physical well-being, it’s time to let them go. Easier said than done, but surrounding yourself with good, positive and caring people in life are one of the most essential tools to self-care and personal growth. If you’re unsure about whether this person deserves space in your life, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this person constantly make you feel unwanted, stupid, or undermined?
- Do they genuinely have your best interest in mind?
- Are they genuinely happy for your personal success?
- Are they constantly judging you and others based on physical appearance or lifestyle choices?
- Are they constantly speaking negatively of others?
- How do they treat other people around them? Do they easily mistreat the waiter or other strangers for petty reasons?
One of the more difficult decisions to make with releasing toxic people in life is when they are family members or people that run in your same circle of friends. If this is the case, take whatever necessary steps to emotionally detach and limit personal conversations with this person. If this is unavoidable, keep the conversations light and stick to topics that do not involve personal matters. (Weather, food, current events, etc.)
It is never your responsibility to change them, and until the day they can outgrow their toxic ways, protect yourself and keep the much-needed distance. You only have one life to live with dreams to achieve, why spend it with those that make it more difficult?
Stop Caring About What Others Think
How many times have you been swayed by a personal decision based on everyone else’s opinion? Though it is only natural to care about what others think, altering the path of our course (big or small) due to the pressure of our friends and family can be one of the most dangerous forms of self-neglect. Bronnie Ware, the author of Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, highlighted that the most common regret of the dying is “having the courage to live the life true to myself, not what others expect of me.” Most people (even our family and friends) throw their opinions and judgments all too easily without giving it much thought, even though it may be delivered with the best intentions in mind. Remember, they are not the ones that must live with your decisions and lifestyle choices. If they truly care and love you, in the end, they will support and be there for you no matter what.
Let Go of Guilt and Shame of Past Failures
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” –Brene Brown
Holding onto guilt from a past mistake does nothing for your personal growth except take up space within the consciousness. Instead, acknowledge the mistake and vow to never make it again going forward. Once this understanding has been achieved, fully accept the fact that you are just another human being in this vast planet trying to navigate through life the best way possible. Use this experience from the past to better yourself and send thoughts of gratitude to the universe for providing this valuable lesson, no matter how traumatic or difficult it was.
If meditation, prayer, or self-reflection is not helping to overcome these feelings of guilt, take action without hesitation. Volunteer, spend extra time with loved ones, be good to those you may have hurt, or make the conscious decision to become a better human being. There is nothing more beautiful than the process of healing through the act of giving to others and bettering yourself.
Learn to Say No.
Though it is important to make time for our family, friends and colleagues, putting yourself in situations where you’re constantly neglecting your own needs (both emotionally and physically) could be harmful for both parties in the end. Perhaps you are trying to avoid conflict or drama to appease the requester by fulfilling certain favors or tasks, but remember that in the long term, you have to take time to assess your current workload or emotional state to lend a helping hand. Without doing so, you will easily burn out or even create feelings of anger or frustration against the requestor. By properly evaluating your personal situation, consider it doing a huge favor for not just yourself, but for the other person and others involve as well.
If the requestor tries to make you feel guilty for your decision, consider this a testament to their character. Relationship with people that react to your decision with pettiness or bitterness is most certainly not the type of people you want to be cultivating a relationship with, so pat yourself on the back for making another good decision by walking away.
Stop Breaking Promises With Loved Ones
One of the most disappointing feelings is when our loved ones fail to keep their promise. A person with true integrity and loyalty knows how to keep their word and follow through with their actions. Though it’s hard, do everything in your power to fulfill your promises as it could mean the world to the other person. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re tempted to make a promise with a person and you’re not 100% sure you can keep it, better to keep quiet and surprise them rather than disappoint them.
Stop Holding Onto Grudges
"If you dig a pit for others to fall into, you will fall into it yourself.” -Rumi
Every person in this world has experienced feelings of negativity and anger against another individual. Whether it’s family, friends, coworkers or even a stranger, remember that holding onto grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Bad feelings will accomplish absolutely nothing for your personal growth and will act as shackles to your heart. Make the conscious decision to release the grudge, and if that’s impossible, keep your distance from this person as much as you can.
People sometimes carry grudges simply due to the fact that they never take the time to sit down and evaluate their feelings against the person they are angry at. Consider meditation, mantras, or writing in a journal to sort your feelings out.
Here are a couple mantras to repeat during meditation to effectively release grudges:
“I forgive you. I release you. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you find peace.”
“I am the forgiver. I am the forgiven. Self forgiveness frees me. I release me. I am free.”
In addition, here is a forgiveness meditation shared by Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, MD., ABIHM, neurologist and integrative medicine physician at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Florida.
1. Find a comfortable position and quiet place to sit.
2. Ask God or a higher power you believe in for help in forgiving- this is your prayer to higher power.
3. Visualize the person you would like to forgive. See them in a different role/light. They are after all someone’s child, a brother, a daughter, another human being wanting to feel loved.
4. Choose to drop the pain and forgive by saying, “Today I choose to forgive _______ for the _______ they caused me.”
5. Thank God and yourself for being open to forgiveness.
Recite the mantra, “In Forgiving Others, I Forgive Myself.”
No matter what you're facing or dealing with for the New Year, in order to receive bigger and greater blessings, we must make space in our lives for them. Reflect on this list through the next couple weeks and take time almost daily to evaluate the details of all the moving pieces in your life to welcome a new successful chapter for 2017.
Written By: Kristen Hwang
500 RYT, Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Founder of Happygirl Yoga