As I write this, we sit between Juneteenth (which is now finally a federal holiday) and the 4th of July. Both of these dates represent independence (albeit in very different ways) and so I’ve been thinking about the concept of liberation a lot lately. On both the macro level and the micro level in my own life.
And so, I want to pose a question to you as we head into the latter half of the year: Is there something in your own life that it’s time to declare independence from? Would you benefit from letting something go? From saying goodbye?
What’s been dragging you down? (Other than the elephant named COVID in the room.)
Because the only things we can truly control are our own actions and reactions, take a look at where you have real agency. Take a look at your locus of control. What falls outside of that, you’re not going to worry about right now. Within your locus of control, how can you create more freedom for yourself?
Is this sounding a bit too hypothetical? If so, let’s make it practical. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Right now, take a moment and ask yourself: “What am I doing that I really don’t want to be doing, that I wish I had said no to, or that isn’t working for me anymore?”.What are the things that you dread going to or doing?
For example, maybe you signed up to be a (Zoom)room parent in your kid’s class and it’s really been more of a time-suck than you had anticipated. Maybe you are on a committee at work that was valuable to you (and others) at one point, but isn’t anymore. How about that weekly meeting that always feels like a total waste of time?
It’s worth noting that sometimes what we think of as obligations are actually false obligations. We’ve managed to create or heighten a sense of obligation that is greater than what exists in reality. When we set new boundaries, people are typically more forgiving that we imagine. Challenge yourself to really question whether something is so obligatory that there’s no way out.
And, if it’s scary to extract yourself from an obligation, you may want to read up on techniques for how to say no.
Do you have relationships in your life that are dragging you down? What if you could liberate yourself from a toxic relationship, or one that just isn’t serving you anymore?
Do you have a friend who you’re just not excited to see post-COVID?
We tend to think of friendships as super-long term (and some certainly are!). The reality is that most friendships last between 7 and 10 years before they run their course. It’s not a personal failing to let go of a relationship that’s no longer working for you. And when you do, you’ll likely feel a lot more free.
Not quite ready to pull the plug? What about a baby step of unfollowing those you find emotionally draining on social media?
Responsibility is a heavy topic. And it may seem odd that I’m suggesting you liberate yourself from it. But I don’t mean all responsibility. How about liberating yourself from excess responsibility that didn’t necessarily need to be yours in the first place?
What if you decided that it was your kids’ responsibility to ensure their homework was done every day, not yours?
What if you decided that keeping your house clean, and your family fed, didn’t have to rest entirely on your shoulders? Could you outsource any of it, or simply have a conversation about dividing responsibility more equitably? (Use this free template to help you get the conversation started.)
Do you have any beliefs that are holding you back? Do you find yourself saying “I can’t” or “this is just the way I am” as an excuse to let yourself off the hook for something that’s hard?
One of my clients recently wrote:
For all my life, I’ve self-identified as someone who inevitably struggles with organization and procrastination. Alexis helped me see that I don’t have to be a disorganized person — I can learn, and I can improve.”
And you know what? That could be you. You can learn, you can improve.
Try this little wording trick and see how it feels. Fill in the blanks in the following sentence.
I can’t ________ because of ________.
Now, fill the same words into the sentence below.
I can_________ despite ________.
Which sentence makes you feel more free, more liberated, more independent?