When someone you care about passes away, especially when they’re young and their life is cut short, it not only rocks you and the people who loved them, something shifts inside of you.
This happened to my family at the end of last year and everything we went through together has reshaped the way I think and feel about almost everything. I began looking at the people, situations, and things around me I’d thought were important and was no longer sure all of them were adding to my life.
You know how there are things you let slide? People who don’t seem to put the effort you do into friendships. People you don’t feel are genuine. Feeling like you’re expected to go here and there lest you disappoint people or let them down. Feeling as though you need to keep up with everyone around you.
Well, I got to a point where all of those little things had piled up so high my legs began to buckle and with my families loss being the final straw I collapsed and it all came crashing down around me. It felt as though the world waited with bated breath for me to lose it. Instead, I decided to take a step back from everything except my husband, children, and family.
And guess what happened…
The world didn’t end. Instead of feeling like a duck madly paddling underwater while keeping a calm cool façade on the surface I was able to stop and relax. I dropped commitments I hadn’t felt I could let go of before. I began saying no to the things that I knew deep in my heart wouldn’t enrich my life but make it more chaotic. I let go of friendships that were toxic or unbalanced. I stopped feeling like I owed everyone something and my life slowed and grew calmer.
As a result, my relationship with my husband became better than ever, my kids have a less stressed, more relaxed and fun-loving mother, and I began taking the time to do the things I love without the pressure or feeling as though I had to meet a certain standard.
It wasn’t all easy. Some friends drifted away. Friends I’d believed I had a good friendship with. People who didn’t understand the new me. But I focused on the people who understood and supported me and our friendships have grown even stronger.
It’s not easy to take a step back, slow down, and reassess life. Not in a world that makes us feel as though we need to constantly keep up, have this, and be a part of that. But I promise, if you start to declutter your life and slow down you’ll feel much better for it.
I’ve learned to love myself for the first time in my adult life, through meditation and NLP sessions. I’ve realised I’m stronger than I ever imagined, and that a real friend doesn’t drain you. I’ve learnt to let go of the guilt I attached to doing something for myself, and instead, look at it as me keeping myself happy and healthy so I can be the best version of me for my family and friends.
It’s not easy. I do fall off the wagon. But each time it gets easier to dust myself off and climb back on.
So do yourself a favour. Commit to a week of taking a step back from your life where you can. See what is serving you, your dreams and aspirations. And don’t be afraid to let go of the things that aren’t enriching your life.