Personal growth is an ongoing process that takes time, but not everyone grows at the same rate. We all have different experiences, skills, and DNA that allow us to move toward our goals at different speeds. One major factor that determines the speed of your growth is how good you are at letting go of things that are holding you back.
Imagine trying to run a race while wearing a heavy backpack. People without that extra weight would pass you by, and you would have a very hard time reaching your full potential. If you are carrying negative things through your life, you’re going to grow slower. The first step to letting go of these things and accelerating your personal growth is determining what is weighing you down.
What’s weighing you down?
The negative thoughts, feelings, objects, and people in your life are often referred to as baggage. We’ve all heard emotional baggage, but not enough of us actually take time to figure out what extra stuff we’re carrying in our own lives. If you don’t first determine what you can let go of, you’ll have a hard time learning to let go of anything.
Emotional baggage can be harmful not only to your personal growth, but also your health. The emotional and mental items that hold us back can be the greatest hindrance, but can also be the hardest to let go of. Emotional baggage can include your job, your relationships, your own behavior, and anything that emotionally affects you in a way that doesn’t help you grow.
Physical baggage, also known as clutter, can be as simple as having too much junk in your car or as extreme as having a house full of hoarded clothes, furniture, and knick knacks. Even items you love might be part of the problem if they’re not helping you move toward your goals.
How will you learn to let go?
The easiest way to learn to let go is often to start with physical baggage. It can be as simple as going through your purse or your car and removing items that no longer serve a purpose. You might just find trash, but you might also find more valuable items from your past that you wonder why you’ve held onto. Get rid of them. Sell them, throw them away—whatever you have to do. Once they’re gone, see how you feel. You’ll probably find that most of what you got rid of was physical baggage and that you feel better without it.
From there, you can move on to figuring out which aspects of your life are emotional baggage. Who’s taking more from you than they’re giving back? Which parts of your daily routine aren’t worth the time you’re putting into them? Go slowly. First, determine what you might let go of, then pick what you actually can let go of. Then, let it go. Once again, see how it feels and act accordingly.
Just to reiterate: It’s okay to take your time. Letting go of parts of your life—especially relationships—can be difficult. The process of letting go itself can take an emotional toll for a while, but after you recover you should feel better than you did before. Every piece of baggage you let go of allows you to grow faster. To achieve the maximum effect, start sooner rather than later.