A fear of being hurt. Fear of rejection. Believing in overnight success (avoidance of hard work). The imposter syndrome (fear of being "found out" to be a fraud, or not really competent at what you do). Indecisiveness; fear of making a decision. The unknown, what can't be controlled. "What if's"; the fear that a wrong decision was made.
These are some of the responses I got on a post I put out asking what you all wanted and/or needed to let go of, and I don't know about you, but I see a theme: fear. Evolution gave us this great protective system in our brains that looks for danger around every corner, because back in the day (like really back in the day, when we had to hunt and gather), we needed that system to survive. Nowadays, not so much, but this "alarm system" is alive and well and it is always scanning our environment for danger. It will even go as far as to project hypothetical situations and tell us to be alarmed about some possible future situation that hasn't even happened yet!
Pair that with our tendency to cling to the familiar, and to use past experiences as the blueprint for every moment ahead of us, and we are destined to repeat old patterns even if they are toxic just for the sake of them being known to us; I can't even count how many times someone has told me they are staying in a shitty situation because they truly believe there is nothing better out there for them.
So what do I need to let go of to grow to be my highest self? For me it's the need to be "perfect" (quotations, because, that doesn't even exist). I hold back and second guess myself often, for fear of being wrong or not living up to some ridiculous imaginary standard that I created for myself. I condition my day to day with long lists of "should's", and that sometimes sets me up for some major disappointments, because life doesn't always go by my terms (who knew?!).
I can acknowledge this need to be perfect on a surface level and chalk it up to being a Virgo, but I know there is a deeper reason for that need. The fear underneath the need is that I'm not enough; that I always have to prove my worth and if I don't measure up to my standards I have set for myself well, then I have failed. Which is craziness because I remember when I was much younger I never even doubted that I was enough. But over time, my brain has taken all the negative experiences I've had and amplified them. It's turned them into negative thought patterns that ring off false alarms and prevent me from being able to just "be", and my thoughts tell me there is a way I'm "supposed to be" to be worthy. Dear brain, that is bullshit.
For me letting go of this need for perfection has been a process of embracing my vulnerability. It's showing up just as I am and chancing rejection. It's reminding myself how worthy I am, and how I am enough simply by being me. It's approaching life and myself through a lens of love and compassion rather than one of fear and avoidance. It's noticing when that inner self critic shows up, and telling it to take a seat while I actually enjoy my life.
I challenge you to look behind that habit or thought pattern you need to let go of, and ask yourself where it's coming from. What are you really afraid of? Maybe that fear was something you needed to survive or even thrive at some point in your life, but I have a feeling if it came up as something to let go of it isn't serving you anymore.
Letting go isn't an easy process; but you know when something is limiting your growth. And I think a lot of us don't like the idea of having a void after you let go because it's uncomfortable AF: it's unknown. But I promise you, as you shed things that no longer serve your growth, lean into that discomfort. You're making room for what is going to bring you to the next step of your evolution and your future self will thank you.
Bonus challenge: write down purposefully what you are releasing in your life, like you are writing down a vow to your future self. Commit to a new way of thinking about what you're letting go of that is not based on fear. For example, letting go of your imposter syndrome? Whenever it comes up choose what thoughts to embrace instead: "I am here serving my purpose". Releasing your fear of being hurt? "I will have/am worthy of a loving and healthy relationship". Find your mantra, the one that cuts through fear and resonates with your truth, and write it down. Say it as much as you need to so it becomes your new normal.
Light and Love,