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Last March my friend Liz at Connected Life wrote A Lesson on Letting Go. It is a wonderful article about letting go in order to focus on the bigger picture of living authentically.
At the end of the post Liz ask two questions.
Do you need to loosen the grip on a project you are working on right now?
Are you squeezing the last drops out of each 24 hours, just trying to get something done and forgetting to enjoy the process of creating?
These questions have been jostling for my attention over this past weekend.
Two days ago I realized that it had happened again.
The “you shoulds” and the “you musts” had hijacked my life. I had lost sight of what was really important for me.
I started writing here, because I wanted to help. (Click here to learn more about what prompted me to start my blog.)
I love writing. It is my creative outlet and it brings me joy.
And I loved this blogging thing at first. I enjoy crafting posts and I love the community that springs up around ideas. But then I got side tracked by experts out there telling me I should do this and I must do that to be a successful blogger.
- You must create compelling content for every single social media post.
- You should publish on social media consistently to get noticed. Post often, but not too often!
- You must constantly analyze your social media posts to see what gets attention.
- You should to post at least 23 pins a day to get anywhere on Pinterest.
I listened too much to the shoulds and the musts. As a consequence I spent what seemed every waking moment trying to get my social media going. And it sucked out all the joy from blogging, because writing is my first love. I really don’t enjoy posting on social media. The really sad thing was that it didn’t do much good. I suspect my bad attitude had a lot to do with that!
The sad result
Of course time is a limited commodity and all this emphasis on social media meant other things went on hold.
- The free e-book (my gift to you) that is so close to being finished was put on hold
- My writing in general was put on hold
- I had no time to respond to comments
- And no time for things that were fun
Because there is only one of me me and I can’t do it all, but I believed the story that I should. When I get side tracked like this things go sideways quickly. I get caught up in numbers.
- The number of followers.
- The number of likes.
- The number of shares.
But self worth and peace are not found in numbers. I found myself weary and ready to quit. Then I got two back-to-back infections. These infections are usually my body’s way of bringing me back to reality. It was time to stop and take a good look at my life. I remembered
- I need to write
- I need to create
- I need to read for fun
- I need to do some artwork
- I have a lovely knitted scarf that I want to finish creating
Finding my way back to joy
So although I will be posting on social media regularly, I’m not going to live there anymore. Instead I will go back to the things that give my life joy and meaning. I will make writing a priority and give myself permission to take time for fun.
How about you?
Do you find your life hijacked by the shoulds and musts? We parents all have ideas about we should and shouldn’t do. It is possible to become so preoccupied with those ideas that spending time with our kids can be put on hold. Sometimes we have to let go, so we can focus on the important things like building connection, having fun, and making memories.
We are also coming up to the crazy holiday time of year when the shoulds and the musts can easily take over our lives.
Before the craziness begins I would encourage you to figure out what is really important to you. Identify the things that give you joy. Go there. Follow those things. The rest can be delegated or maybe it’s time to let them go.
A question for you
Before I leave I’m curious to know – what shoulds and musts tend to side track you?
What ideas can you let go or delegate?