Letting Go of All That No Longer Serves.
“If only she had known her worth, she would’ve stopped begging for the crumbs of other people’s hearts.”
I once owned a beautiful sofa. I loved it so much. It was deep purple with soft, voluminous cushions. Friends would remark on the elegance of this prized possession of mine. This was back in the day when I was living a conventional life as a teacher and owned a small semi-detached house on a housing estate in a London overspill town in Suffolk, UK. It was my first proper ‘upscaled’ owned house. My former home, also owned, had been a tiny one up one down affair in a rural village not so far from my newly acquired semi-detached. I was in my early thirties and doing what I thought I had to do:
conventional job + conventional home = conventional life.
The home had everything you would expect a home to have, including the aforementioned magnificent sofa that cost me three months wages which I, following modern day convention, purchased with my credit card.
How very, very grown up I felt.
On the surface.
Job +Home + Credit Card + Sofa = Grown Up = Happiness
That’s the right maths, isn’t it?
That’s what we’re taught to aspire to in this society. Right?
The trouble was, I wasn’t happy.
I was actually deeply, deeply unhappy.
And – mostly – bored. Life had no colour.
I would come home from my job, exhausted by my own ‘ fed-upness’ and sink in to that sofa with a sense of overwhelming gloom and loneliness. The truth was my ‘ job + home + credit card + sofa = grown up = happiness’ equation just wasn’t adding up for me. I was unsatisfied, with a profound gnawing sense of wrongness about my own well being.
A Grand Life Decision:
In those days, I had no qualms about making grand life changing decisions in the blink of an eye – normally on dull weekends in February at the heart of winter’s darkness. This particular year was no exception. I decided to quit my job and open a restaurant. Like you do.
Within six weeks I had resigned, rented out my home, bought a second home back in my home county, bought a restaurant and moved. Taking my oversized credit card purchased sofa with me.
Did I mention that I knew nothing about running a restaurant? My greatest experience linked with the restaurant trade had been back in my teenage days working as a waitress with my mates in a Wimpy Bar!
It turned out, not surprisingly, that this was not the best grounding for owning and running a restaurant serving a full a la carte dinner menu. It also turned out that:
1: It’s hard to earn money in the restaurant trade, and:
2: I didn’t like owning, running or working in a restaurant.
In fact, I hated it more than I hated my former job.
I actually did sink in to that oversized sofa, symbol of my ‘grown-upness’, every night – often falling in to a gloomy sleep upon it.
Needless to say, I didn’t last long in the restaurant trade. Unlike my ‘ safe’ teaching job which I stuck at for many unhappy years, my decision to leave the restaurant trade was swift. I exited within a few painful months.
Poverty, Debt and Another Grand Idea:
There was, however, one tiny glitch to this particular spontaneous departure: lack of income. An equally, perhaps not surprising, swift spiral downwards equation occurred:
no income + utility bills + credit card bills + the need to eat = poverty & debt.
Thank goodness I had my oversized sofa to sink in to each night. I could even hide some of the unopened and ignored demand letters under the vast cushions. Many of you might be familiar with this equation:
out of sight = out of mind – not.
It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened. Increased debt. Fear. Worry. Full depression resulting in me having to sell my homes and move in to rented accommodation. Thank goodness I had my sofa to remind me of my former ‘glory’ days when life was ‘ sweet’, when I was conventional and safe and ‘grown up’.
The only house I could afford to rent was a tiny, tiny terraced cottage where my sofa took up most of the space in the living room. I had had to ‘let go’ of most of my other furniture but nothing was going to persuade me to get rid of my sofa – my one emblem of my former ‘ successful’ life. Besides, I was still trying to pay for it and I was convinced that ‘one day soon’ I would have a new home where it would fit in perfectly. No – the sofa must stay. At all costs. Until one day, out of the blue, a thought arose within me bringing a new type of equation in to my life:
‘Let it go. What are you holding on to it for? It’s overtaking everything. Let it go.’
So I did.
I donated my oversized and over expensive credit card purchased sofa ( for which, remember, I was still paying) to a charity for homeless people and immediately felt a whole lot better. I quickly realised that this sofa, a former symbol of sophistication in my life, had actually become a millstone around my neck entrapping me in a life for which I had no desire. I had, in effect, been living a life where I had been offering myself crumbs of joy, barely touching the surface of all that could make me happy.
Letting the sofa go was, it transpired, one of the most freeing acts of my life.
Liberation – And What the Sofa Taught me About Love:
After that, my life followed a pattern of letting go of everything from furniture to locations to people to expectations. A process of clearing and cleansing on every level of my life. A process of discovering who I really was, what I really wanted and needed for my own well being at the highest level.
Although sometimes frightening, it was mainly liberating. I honoured this new found freedom in my life and slowly but surely, bit by bit, a new life formed.
A life where I felt happier ever. More real. More vibrant. More alive. More excited. More genuine.
I began to find out who I am and what makes me tick. Joyfully.
Do I ever miss that sofa? No! Not for one second! Ditching that sofa was the most freeing act of my life! It taught me many things, including lessons in love:
You can’t hang on to love because of memories and nostalgia. There has to be a positive sense of self esteem and self worth in the love in the here and now.
Love has to feed you in the here and now, bring you what you want in the here and now – not as an attachment to the past or hope for the future but right here, right now it must nourish you, bring you joy and nurture you. It must help you flourish and create a sense of bloom within you.
Are you being fed or starved by love? Not just tickled with the hint of potential happiness but with a full on daily deluge of joy?
You can’t stay in a relationship because you pity or care for someone and that includes yourself. You must be in a relationship, any relationship, because you feel valued and appreciated, because you have fun with someone. And that, I repeat, includes a relationship with yourself.
Neither can you stay in a relationship as some form of passive aggressive way of getting your own back or proving your point or getting your own way. You have to be there because you want to be there. Because it serves you and nourishes you at the highest level. And this must, I emphasise, include your relationship with yourself.
Love does not drag you down, make you small or ignore you.
Love worth it’s weight in gold does not offer you crumbs.
Love raises you up to your highest height.
Love, in all its forms, cannot be, must not be an oversized, bulky lump of furniture in your life.
And that includes your love for yourself.
Isn’t it time to discover what you need to ‘let go of’ in order to ‘liberate’ your life?
Regrets and A New Equation:
Do I have any regrets about getting rid of my precious sofa?
None at all! Getting rid of my sofa taught me:
Letting Go = Relief = Liberation = Freedom to Expand = Honesty Living = JOY!
‘Letting go’ of that cumbersome, bulky, hefty, debt-inducing sofa brought me nothing but liberation and freed me up to to paint a bright new picture for my life!
Never Be Afraid To Let Go of All that No Longer Serves You.
A Question for You:
If you had to think of one thing right now to release from your life that would make you happier and more joyful, what would it be?
Leave A comment to Let Me Know!
I’d love to know what your version of my sofa is or has been?!
Never Be Afraid to Paint A new Picture for Your Life.