Over the course of a lifetime, and even as a year passes, we collect heavy things. Maybe they don’t feel that heavy at first, but the longer we carry them, the heavier they get. Aren’t we carrying enough? At the end of each year, I reflect on what I want to hold on to and what heavy things I want to let go of. That intentional reflection allows me to consider which of the new things I’ve picked up seem like a good addition and what feels like dead weight. I often find a couple of things I’ve been carrying around for far too long. I continue to remove the things that remove me from my life.
Letting go of heavy things is a process, of course. Some of those things we’ve carried for so long that we forget how glorious the lightness is that comes from carrying less. As I release the heavy things, I sleep better, laugh more and open my heart back up for more of what’s waiting for me in the world. It’s a relief to release the things I’ve been dragging along, or maybe they were dragging me.
7 Heavy Things To Leave Behind in 2023
As you consider these 7 heavy things and others, don’t add another heavy thing like judgement to your plate. Instead of scolding yourself for holding on to these things for so long, or for picking them up in the first place, celebrate yourself. You are ready for a change. That’s worth cheering for.
1. Feeling guilty is a heavy thing to leave behind.
Feeling guilt implies that you’ve done something wrong but often, feeling guilty becomes a habit. You feel guilty when you don’t get enough done, or when you have to say no or set a boundary with someone you love. You may even feel guilty when you get sick and have to take time off or rest. Some feel guilty for relaxing and doing nothing or not attending an event they don’t want to attend. If you can relate and have felt guilty for these things, you may not be feeling guilt. Instead, you are feeling discomfort for taking care of yourself. You may not feel comfortable putting yourself first, taking care of your needs or even giving yourself what feels like a simple pleasure.
When you aren’t used to doing that, your discomfort feels bad and you call it guilt … which makes you feel worse because you think you’ve done something wrong. Let go of this vicious cycle and question your guilt. When that feeling pops up ask yourself, “Is this guilt or is this discomfort?” You deserve to take care of yourself. It’s ok to be needy.
2. Leave a little clutter behind.
Leave a little clutter from your home, your calendar and your mind behind. It’s heavy. If you aren’t sure where to start, try letting go of these 64 things or remove these 52 things, or declutter your mind for less stress and more peace and ease. When it comes to clutter, if you want to feel light you have to let go. When it feels too hard to let go of stuff, remember how hard it feels to hold on to it. You have to store it, clean it, think about what a waste it is. It steals your space, time and energy. If it’s not helpful in your life, you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Start in your closet, your kitchen or anywhere you want.
3. Expectations are heavy things to leave behind.
If you are struggling to meet other people’s expectations or you are disappointed because other people don’t meet your expectations, you know how heavy this can be. It weighs down our peace of mind and our relationships. Pushing your agenda and expectations on the people you love in the name of “knowing what’s best for them” will end in regret. Even if they bend to your will, you’ll know your relationship was built on conditions instead of love, support and encouragement. Likewise, when you are compromising the direction of your own life to meet other people’s expectations, resentment will follow. Leave your expectations in the past. If it helps, create a ritual of writing them all down and then burning them or ripping them to shreds.
4. Normal things are heavy things too.
When you do things that are considered “normal” because you want to fit in, it might feel heavy to carry them around. Some of the normal things I stopped doing include: saying yes when I want to say no, drinking alcohol, apologizing when I’m not sorry and saving everything. Notice how you spend your time and what some of your auto-pilot habits are. Which ones are weighing you down and holding you back? Life is more interesting when you take the path less traveled.
5. Schedule shaming is heavy.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Author Brené Brown said, “The expectations of what we can get done, and how well we can do it, are beyond human scale.” Most of the expectation setting is an inside job. Our focus is on getting as much done as possible instead of getting anything done well, or finding joy in what we are doing. When we try to juggle everything, we can’t enjoy anything.
If you’ve ever felt bad about yourself after a long day that wasn’t long enough to get it all done, you know all about schedule shaming. It happens when we tell ourselves…
- I should be more organized.
- I should have more check marks on my to-do list.
- I didn’t do as much as everyone else.
- I am lazy and unaccomplished.
- I let people down.
- I didn’t do enough.
- I am not good enough.
Let’s stop schedule shaming and tell ourselves …
- Organization is overrated. Less is the answer.
- I am not my to-do list.
- Comparison is futile.
- Slow and steady encourages more health and happiness.
- I will work with people who want my best not my busiest.
- I did enough.
- I am enough. In fact, I’m freakin’ awesome.
6. People pleasing can get so heavy.
This one might be the hardest because by pleasing other people, you may actually believe you are doing the right thing. It’s wonderful to do nice things for other people but when you continually sacrifice your own time and energy, disappointing yourself to please others, it’s time to check in on your motivation. What do you get from the pleasing part? The most painful part of this habit may be the dishonesty of saying one thing and thinking another. Also notice who may be taking advantage of your need to please. This reminds me of the saying, “The only people upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.” You can say, “no” and still be a wonderful person. Stop pleasing others by disappointing yourself.
7. Doing “one more thing” over and over again gets heavy.
I work with a lot of amazing people in The Simplicity Space (the simplify your life membership and support system) who wish they could get better sleep. When I ask them if the problem is staying asleep or putting themselves to bed on time, most of them say that setting and honoring a bedtime is the hardest part. Many of them stay up in the name of doing “one more thing.” They think if they could just catch up or get ahead or finish one more thing, the next day will be better. Instead, they feel grumpy the next day because they are short on sleep. When you stop compromising your sleep and staying up trying to get more done, you can create a happier life. Not to mention, you can get things done with more ease when you are well rested. Leave the myth of doing “one more thing” behind.
Once you let go of those heavy things, you’ll have more room to let in the good stuff. Always hold on to hope, humor and love. These things make even the heaviest things feel a little lighter. If you aren’t sure what to leave behind first, think about what feels the heaviest. What’s dragging you? Releasing that will create the most time, space and energy to focus on the rest. Remember, no judgement, only cheering.