Things To Let Go Of

We marked our Jewish New Year almost four months ago. It gave us the opportunity to reflect on our spiritual life, relationships and priorities.  Some of us even made important decisions on how to improve these and other elements of our lives. The secular New Year can be a good opportunity to check where we are standing vis-a-vis those decisions. Are we still on target? Did we start too fast or too ambitiously and after a short time ran out of air? Did we intend to start, but are yet to find the time to do so? 

No matter what you decided to do to improve your life and the lives of those around you this coming year, I would like to offer a list of seven things you should let go of: 

Let go of your complaining - as Martin Seligman put it “Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.”  

Let go of having to always be right - Kathryn Schulz in her important book, Being Wrong, explains how our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong. 

Let go of any self defeating ideas - "An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you." – Goi Nasu 

Let go of making criticism - Refrain from criticizing anything and everything that you don’t understand. Allow people and things to be different and don’t see differences as an excuse to criticize.  

Let go of trying to control situations, events and people - So much of what happens around us cannot be controlled by us. When we realize that, and allow things and people to “just be”, our own level of stress reduces and we are much happier, let alone, accepting. Let go of resisting change - Every life process entails change. As human beings we often enjoy familiarity and once we become comfortable we become resistant to change. However, very little lasts forever and so we have to always be ready for change. We need to see change as an opportunity for something new and better and not fear it because it’s unfamiliar. 

Let go of living life to other people’s expectations - We allow the expectations of others to determine the job we do, the car we drive, the clothes we wear and much more. How much happier would we all be if instead we followed our hearts. We are all talented individuals, we all have something to offer, something unique. We need to nurture our talents and gifts and contribute through doing what we do best, doing what we love, rather than doing what we think is expected of us. 

Happy 2014! 

B’Shalom, 
Rabbi Alon Levkovitz