40 things i’m giving up

As I contemplate turning 40 in two weeks, I’m ready to give up a lot of things. Things that have taken up time, energy, attention and ROOM in my heart and mind in my first four decades. Things that helped me become who I am today, but might not serve me any longer. By finally letting go of these behaviors, patterns and beliefs, I hope to create space for more of what really matters to me.

40 Things I’m Giving Up as I Turn 40

  1. Allowing others to disrespect, demean or devalue me. Been there and done that. It left its scars. I don’t need to try to convince anyone that I deserve to be treated better. I just won’t accept being treated without respect or consideration.
  2. Putting up with manipulation of any kind. Guilt trips, pressure, emotional abuse, games, steamrolling over my thoughts or feelings, tantrums. None of these are acceptable between adults, I won’t engage in them or play along ever again.
  3. Talking down to myself. I’m my best friend, strongest ally and partner for life. Rather than using angry hate-speech in my own mind, I’ve consciously started to speak to myself with a respectful, positive, loving honesty and treat myself with kindness.
  4. Negative filters. Viewing anything—relationships, situations, work, the world at large, other people, myself—through a filter that only allows me to see the things that might be negative, problematic or “wrong,” ignoring all the extraordinary things that are positive and right.
  5. Having expectations for how things will be. Getting attached to an idea of how something “should” be, setting myself up for disappointment when it doesn’t turn out that way, assuming that I know in advance how something is “supposed to” happen. It’s far healthier to commit to intentions and let things play out as they will.
  6. Believing that I should be anything other than what I am at this moment: skinnier, healthier, richer, more fit, more successful, more ambitious, a mom, a homeowner, married… more, different or better in some way.
  7. Feeling like an ugly duckling that never quite became a swan, like I somehow missed my “blossoming.” I’m blossoming RIGHT NOW. Every minute of every day I get to blossom, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and in character, until my last moment on earth.
  8. Being self-conscious. My extremely draining, awkward self-consciousness peaked when I was about 18 to 25. I’ve been on a downward trend lately, feeling less insecure every year, and find it incredibly relaxing. I’m ready to give it up for good and enjoy the same steady self-assurance that I had as a young child.
  9. The need to be RIGHT. It doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve anyone else. My truth is my own, and I can stand centered in my truth, but in the end it doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong. I can drop my cases against others, drop my grudges, and give that energy to compassion, forgiveness and learning.
  10. Overwhelming, debilitating self-doubt. Listening to that negative voice of doubt telling me I’m going to fail has never helped me achieve anything. My inner wisdom tells it to me like it is and inspires me to work for my goals, all the while making me feel loved, encouraged and appreciated. That’s much more productive in every way.
  11. Not trusting my gut. Until recently, I did what I thought I was supposed to do or was told I should do, rationalizing away or outright ignoring the voice inside telling me “this is not OK.” It led me to making some terrible decisions and caused a lot of suffering. Now I trust my gut for everything. From the smallest reactions to the biggest decisions, my instincts will lead me exactly where I want to go by the best possible route.
  12. Compromising myself for the love, affection, attention or approval of others. I don’t need to earn love. I’m worthy of being loved exactly as I am, and anyone who expects or demands otherwise will not be trusted with my heart.
  13. Judging myself for not spending my time or energy a certain way. I could be giving more time to helping others, and I hope I will in the future, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong for spending my free time in the ways that feel right to me right now.
  14. Worrying about looking foolish. Honestly, what does it matter? There are so many other things that I could be giving my attention to, rather than feeling embarrassed or worrying that other people are going to think I’m stupid or silly.
  15. Not speaking my mind or standing up for myself when it really counts. I try to be impeccable with my word and conscious of what I do and say, not speaking out of anger or to hurt, but I don’t have to hold my tongue out of politeness or fear when something deeply affects me. If the other person doesn’t want to hear it, that’s OK, but I’m allowed to say what I need to say.
  16. Not taking care of myself—neglecting myself and subverting my needs for the needs of others. There are times when other people are going to require more of my attention and energy, but my own health and happiness are always going to be my first priority, even as I honor the needs and take care of others.
  17. Overspending, under-saving and getting into debt. I didn’t manage my money for many years, and ended up in deep debt because of it, wasting a lot of time and energy being anxious. From here on out, I’m committed to carefully managing my money as well as enjoying it.
  18. Living in my old story. I’m no longer the person who believed that story or needed to live it in order to prove herself. I know what’s really true about myself and who I am today.
  19. Not giving myself credit for all the truly amazing things I am and do every day. All the things I do right. All the things I accomplish. All the ways I’m generous and loving and kind. I know I can always improve and learn and grow, but I also get to celebrate everything I’ve achieved so far.
  20. Endlessly spinning my wheels about something that won’t matter in 5 days, not to mention 5 weeks, months or years. I know I’ll still sweat the small stuff sometimes. I’m just a lot faster and better at reminding myself that life is short. This is it. We don’t have forever, we just have right now. Worrying isn’t productive or useful in any way. If I can do something about whatever’s bothering me, then I’ll do it. If I can’t, then I’ll find a way to let it go.
  21. Skimping, short-changing and playing small. I’ve spent a lot of time focused on lack, and it’s only led me to feeling insecure and pessimistic. When I focus on abundance, knowing there’s enough for everyone including me, I can accomplish so much more with my time and resources.
  22. Judging others. I can’t help but have my opinions sometimes, but they aren’t necessarily true. My truth is just that—mine. I can dislike and even disapprove of what someone is doing and still not righteously condemn them or believe that I know best.
  23. Comparing. My journey is my own. My mistakes and successes are my own. My timeline is my own. My body is my own. It’s all perfect and perfectly unique, and won’t benefit by being compared favorably or unfavorably to the journey, body, timeline, or choices of other people.
  24. Challenging others over trivial things. Having opinions is fine, I can speak up if I feel that someone is being offensive or abusive or I want to calmly share my views, but otherwise it’s a waste of energy and goodwill to get heated about sensitive issues or differing ideas, especially in casual conversations.
  25. Surviving on autopilot. Living day to day just barely making it through, overwhelmed and consumed by lack and fear, that’s something I never want to go through again. I commit to finding the deepest fulfillment and highest happiness for myself, whatever that might mean, and not accepting anything that stands in the way of it. I commit to thriving, and making the most of each day I have left.
  26. Shame. Feeling ashamed of who I am, what I’ve done, all my mistakes. I can take full responsibility for my choices without being weighed down by a load of ugly and useless shame.
  27. Over-apologizing. I’m accountable when I make mistakes, and will sincerely apologize for any hurt or inconvenience I cause. But I don’t need to use apologies as my gut-check response to everything. And I certainly don’t need to apologize for being myself, being human or having needs, wants and feelings.
  28. Taking things personally. In work, relationships, dating, family, it just isn’t worth it to take anything personally. Even when my initial response is to feel hurt, if I can just take a tiny step back and see that it’s not about me, I can see the truth of the situation much more clearly.
  29. Toxic people in my inner circle. By my definition, toxic relationships are those that suck my energy, bring negativity to my life or require more of me than I’m able to give. I now allow myself the freedom to end friendships, cut ties or just separate myself emotionally when I don’t feel the interactions are a source for good for either of us.
  30. Playing roles I’ve outgrown. Many of the ways I’ve defined myself in the past aren’t true to who I am now. Words that I used to describe myself and traits that were assigned to me or adopted by me at different times no longer apply, if they ever really did. Either way, they’re not authentic to my life today and can be left behind.
  31. Unhealthy boundaries. After living without boundaries and suffering for it, I understand how important it is to establish and enforce my personal boundaries. I’m now comfortable speaking up when my boundaries are crossed and relaxing them when I’m ready to adapt to a new situation.
  32. People pleasing. It’s a wonderful feeling to make the people I care about feel valued and loved. But it’s not so wonderful to swallow my anger or deny my hurt because I’m afraid of disappointing or upsetting anyone. It’s a codependent tendency that I learned early on and am finally ready to start unlearning for good.
  33. Bad habits. I challenge myself to continuously notice behaviors that are unhealthy or unhelpful, figure out what’s behind them and create healthier habits in their places.
  34. Making assumptions and believing them. Barely listening when someone is speaking because I assume I know what they’re going to say, jumping to conclusions, becoming attached to my ideas about how something is. Letting go of the clutter of assumptions will leave a lot of empty space to learn from others and challenge my preconceptions.
  35. Saying yes when I don’t really want to. I’m allowed to say no. I didn’t believe that for a very long time, but now that I know it’s true, I’m prepared to face the consequences of refusing when it’s right for me. It isn’t the beginning of a negotiation or the chance for someone to manipulate me into a different answer. It’s just no.
  36. Meeting other people’s expectations. Even if I helped create them at one point, as long as I’m clear about myself and the choices I’m making today, other people’s expectations are not my responsibility or problem to solve.
  37. Using old ways of measuring “good.” My mind still echoes with voices from my childhood instructing me on how to be good, how to impress authority figures, how to present myself best, what rules to follow. But none of that applies anymore. I’m the authority figure. I’m the person who decides what defines good and successful for me and what’s necessary for my growth. NO ONE ELSE. Every time I hear those echoes, I remind myself of this.
  38. Acting out of fear. Withholding love, suppressing my desires, subverting my needs, not taking necessary risks, missing opportunities, avoiding failures, hiding. You can either be brave or safe, you can’t be both. I trust my inner guide to help me face my fears with awareness, compassion and strength.
  39. Waiting for “someday.” There’s no magical ideal future waiting for me. This is it. This is all I’ve got. There are things I want to accomplish that aren’t priorities right now, but I’ll never again wait to be happy until my ship comes in and everything I imagine comes to fruition. I want the life I have, right now, exactly as it is today.
  40. Not living as my authentic self. I know what it’s like to feel like a stranger in my own mind, to be constantly off-key, constantly working to make it all fit somehow. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. The key to my happiness and fulfillment is knowing my core values and living aligned to what matters most to me in every single aspect of my life.

 

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