I stared at the skull-n-crossbones keychain hanging off the edge of my business bag. Right next to it hung pink flipflops.
I was truly hating my job and the unappreciative coworkers. Most didn’t know that I’d been working over a year without salary. While the hubs and my life savings were being dumped into the business so that paychecks could be issued. Times were tough, there were signs that we’d all tightened our belts. Yet petty office-griping continued, rubbing me raw.
As I stewed and despised—feeling a rage of going postal—I stopped in a silent shock. Those keychains.
OMGosh those two keychains! Had I been telling myself something all along? The cute skull held my office and desk keys. The beachy flip-flops held a mini usb flashdrive with my writings, logos, and creativity — art — coaching curriculum—the life I dreamed of having.
Death and Freedom. The imagery was so obvious, and yet for years of using these keychains I was oblivious. I had to make a change. I had to LET GO of my corporate life. A wave of fear came over, then my stomach filled with violent butterflies. I was breathing and swallowing hard to keep my nausea from winning.
That was the first day I started to LET GO of what was slowly killing me. And then plotted a path and way to embrace what could be. The life I wanted that fills my heart with a passion, purpose, and freedom.
SO HEY BABY, WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?
Okay, so maybe you don’t have something as obvious as my keychains—your subconscious desperately trying to give you a message. But my guess is there is something that when you think about it you get the twisty feeling in your stomach. And you poke around at the idea of letting go and ponder change.
Well, those gut feelings can be of help. But maybe there are some signs—guideposts—some questions you can answer that affirm if it’s time for a change.
DO I DREAD IT?
Dreading is one of the first signs that something needs to change. Whatever your circumstance or task, if time after time you truly abhor and dread, then maybe it’s time to listen to your heart. What does it say? Is there a hint of spark of what “could be” — but it’s overshadowed by the thing you dread?
Then yeah, keep reading and answering these next few questions.
AM I UNDER-APPRICIATED?
Often the first realization I have about letting go surrounds my personal feelings of being unappreciated. It has become a guidepost in all areas of my life. People I choose to put my personal time into, places I volunteer, all the stuff where I put love, and effort, and heart into—I’m checking on reciprocal feelings of appreciation for my what I do—my worth.
Now don’t get me wrong. I count my ultimate worth on something much higher than what other people give to me. I get my true worth in being an image-bearer of my Creator. And often I do things in which I do not expect (nor want) praise and appreciation. Why? Because I’m doing something for the greater good. I’m being light and salt. I’m getting appreciation from a higher place. But there are times when it DOES matter what’s going on below the heavenly realms.
True story: it’s a crummy feeling when being a responsible, reliable, and accountable volunteer for five+ years—yet I didn’t get a year-end appreciation gift because I couldn’t come to the volunteer-party. I didn’t expect a gift. And certainly wasn’t about to “ask” for the gift. But knowing there was something there for me–but withheld–stirred me. And it’s true, there’s been other guideposts along the way. But in this moment—this small pang of a circumstance—I felt unimportant and under-appreciated. My heart was saying, “This is one in a long string of circumstances…perhaps, now, it’s time to go.”
In your life, is there a circumstance where you continually feel unappreciated? Where your worth is overlooked? Then maybe it’s time release that friendship, person, group, place, task, or item.
And yes, it’s hard. I too can take a laboriously long time to let go. But once it’s done I think “wow, I feel so much better—what took me so long?”
HAS MY TRUST DEPARTED?
Fool me once, shame on you—fool me twice, shame on me.
Truth be told, I give more than just two chances when someone breaks my trust. But sometimes, now-and-then, when trust is broken and a betrayal is overwhelming—it becomes a guidepost in possible time for change.
If you sit in a chair and the legs come out from under you, you clearly won’t trust to sit in that chair again. Either you get rid of it—or love and need it so much that you put effort into fixing it. And if by chance you fixed it—yet it continues to break and break again—then your trust is gone. Broken. For all your efforts, the chair continues to betray you.
It’s a sad realization and crushes the heart when the person or thing you loved has proven it can’t be trusted. Find the lesson in the circumstance and then follow that guidepost pointing towards letting go.
AM I LOOPING LYRICS?
I hate this one the most. It’s when I’m looping the conversations and how I’ll respond to people that push my buttons over and over and over. It’s when I’m living in either the lyrics of the past or future—and not living in the present. It’s a guidepost right in front of my face screaming, “STOP!”
Those hideous negative thoughts that become an obsession and take over the brain are NOT good for anyone. Sure there are processes you can put yourself through to change your thoughts (one of my favorite tools I share with clients). But when that doesn’t work—and when the circumstance keeps re-rearing its ugly head—then perhaps it’s time to let it go and seek change.
There’s a great quote that serves as a guidepost in my life. It’s a sign that appears in the deepest hours of desperation. It goes like this:
“You’ll never make the change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of the change.”
How true. In every way, shape, and form.
Don’t change, and the pain increases till it seeps into all the parts of your life.
But if you notice the guideposts along the way and choose to change, let go, release—then you could dive into a new thing. And what if it was amazing?
You’ll never know until you try.
Seriously, what do you REALLY have to lose?
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