If you do not allow yourself to go past what happened, what was said, what felt, you will look at your present and future through the same dirty Lens.
You can never change things by clinging to the existing reality. To get ahead in life, you have to leave some things behind and build a new life model that makes the existing model obsolete.
You must make a firm decision that you will also make a change. It doesn't always happen naturally or automatically. Sometimes you have to stand up to the wind and say, "I don't care how hard this is! I don't care how disappointed I am! I'm not going to let this be the best of me! I'll leave this and move on with my life! "
As of today, it's time to leave behind …
. The idea of what could have been (or what should have happened, but didn't do it)
Before you can truly live today, some of you must first die. You must completely let go of what could have been, how you should have behaved and what you wish you would have done differently. You must accept the fact that you cannot change your past experiences, the opinions others once had about you, or the immediate results of their choices or yours.
As you embrace the present truth, you will begin to understand and feel the true power of forgiveness when it applies to others and yourself. From this new consciousness you are free to take the next best step forward.
2nd The idea of making another excuse makes sense.
There is always a lie embedded between a promise you made to yourself and apologies for why you did not follow. Rushing into explanations of any kind is always a sign of weakness.
Stand strong! Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving. A mistake or delay will not be a mistake until you refuse to correct it. Thus, most long-term failures are simply the results of people making continuous excuses instead of decisions, even if they know better. Don't be one of them.
Decide to do what you have to do for yourself. Trust me, in a year from now you will wish you had started today. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the chapter "Goals and Success" in the NEW Edition of 1,000 Small Things That Happy, Successful People Do Different.)
3. The idea that you have to shrink to be in certain relationships.
You have to admit that to some extent you have spent too much of your life trying to shrink yourself. Trying to bend in half. Trying to be smaller. Quieter. Less sensitive. Less opinion. Less YOU. Because you didn't want to be too much or put people off. You wanted to fit in. You wanted people to like you. You wanted to make a good impression. You would be called.
So for years you sacrificed yourself to make other people happy. And for several years you suffered. Let this be your alarm clock …
The main reason why a situation of toxic conditions is holding you back has little to do with what the other person is doing directly to you; instead, it's about how you constantly have to shrink yourself to adapt to the situation. The pain and toxicity occurs when you choose to shrink.
When you choose to withdraw, say less, or limit your magnanimity in some way out of fear, out of logic or out of cleverness to survive in a relationship, this spells trouble.
So it's not about them, really, it's about your response to them.
Next time you have to spend time with this person (no matter how necessary, mandatory or convenient it may seem), ask yourself:
Do I have to shrink to do this work, or is it a situation where I can grow?
Call your courage and logic as you answer this question. And give yourself some space if that's what you need to grow.
4th The idea that it's too late to come clean and be completely honest.
There are absolutely no guarantees when you will finally come clean and practice honesty with people. Sometimes you lose what you once had. Sometimes you do not win love and trust. Sometimes your mistakes cut the bands. Sometimes you break your own heart in the process. Sometimes you lose your foot and your path. Sometimes you feel worse than you did before. But even a step or two backwards, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction. You walk away from every act of honesty with a heart free from lies and regrets. You have closure, in one way or another, and this will help you in the long run.
In time, you will heal and find yourself living a life that is far from the mental torture chamber you once lived in. This path to freedom and happiness is the scariest thing you will ever navigate. But it is the path that ultimately saves your life. (Read Loving What Is.)
5. The idea that you have to be perfectly OK all the time.
While it is true that you are growing and healing, and that it will be OK … it is not always OK right now, and sometimes it is all we can see and feel when we are in the midst of a difficult life event . Sometimes it is NOT to be OK all we can register in our tired minds and aching hearts. This feeling is normal. This feeling is human.
The truth is that it is not OK when someone you love no longer lives and breathes and gives their gifts to the world. It's not OK when everything falls apart and you are buried deep in the rubbish of a life you planned for. It is not OK when the bank accounts are almost zero, but signs of a promising income opportunity. It's not OK when someone you trust betrays you and breaks your heart. It's not OK when you're exhausted so you can't get out of bed in the morning. It's not okay when you swim in failure or shame or a grief you've never known.
Whatever your challenges are, sometimes it's just NOT OK right now. And it is above all more than OK.
Yeah, was OK with not being OK all the time. Those with the strength to succeed in the long term are the ones who lay a solid foundation for growth with the bricks that life has thrown at them. Don't be afraid to fall apart for a little while, because when that happens, the situation will open up an opportunity for you to grow and rebuild yourself into the brilliant person you can become.
Your turn …  What would you add to this list?
What specifically do you know that you have to leave behind to move on in life?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.
We just released our NEW podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event). You can listen to the first six episodes of your favorite podcast player right now (Apple iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts).
Finally, our next annual Think Better, Live Better conference will be held in February 8-9, 2020 in San Diego. 3 discounted early bird tickets are still available today (while they last).