One of the major themes in my life this past year is letting go. Today, I wanted to go into detail on some of the things I’ve let go of or that I’m still working to let go.

For so many reasons, it’s the right time for me to let go of some things—mostly internal things that were weighing me down.

Letting go of what people think. 
I’m sure at one point or another we’ve all overanalyzed what people think. Through the years, I’ve learned that people can invent all kinds of extra perceptions about me, a lot of which are totally untrue. I used to spend a lot of energy trying to prevent people from taking things I said the wrong way and adding little disclaimers to all kind of things. These days as a working person there just aren’t as many hours in a day for me to worry about what people think. Whether they think I’m pretty or ugly, smart or not, talented or lucky, a good guy or a bad one … I honestly just had to let go altogether.

People can think what they think. I take comfort in knowing that those people close to me seem to love me and are very loyal. I can’t control everyone’s perceptions beyond that, and I’m no longer trying to.

Augh … sigh of relief.

Overcoming my own imperfections. 
I don’t have a perfect body or perfect skin and I’m finally at peace with that. It’s no longer something I’m pursuing. In my 20s, I was so into photoshopping myself and trying to “fix” my imperfections. It’s crazy how now, in my late 30s, I am so much more comfortable with a raw photo of myself than I was then. I truly can accept my physical imperfections, and own them. I’m not ashamed of them. It feels SO GOOD to be OK with my appearance.

When it comes to my heart, it’s a whole different matter. I’ll keep working there and always try to grow and be better.

Overcoming haters. 
In the early days of career, I didn’t know how to handle “haters.” Now, after more than a decade of experience, I’m able to read them pretty well. There are times to ignore and block. There are times to open up to an honest conversation and ask questions and really listen. And there are times to fight back.

It took time to know the difference.

I used to be so afraid for all the hatred and wanted to protect myself from ugly comments. Now, I can see that it’s an important part of learning to be a confident person. I don’t need to protect myself, I need to learn to deal with it just like everything else adults deal with. It’s necessary.

I no longer give it more power than it deserves.

Overcoming guilt. 
The big one. Guilt for saying no. Guilt for having 10 things on my to-do list today and only getting seven of them done.

It’s an ongoing process for me to overcome guilt, but it’s important to face it and not ignore it. That’s what I’m working to do every day. It feels good to own it instead of run from it. If you’re successful in your career it’s likely going to come with a fair amount of guilt because there are never enough hours in the day to please everyone and do everything you’d like to do. Accepting that is step one.

I am grateful for the perspective that career has forced on me at times. It’s definitely made my shortcomings all that much more obvious, but I’m grateful for it since at times all that really needs to happen is letting it go. It feels good to work through some of this stuff! I honestly didn’t realize how much guilt and shame I was carrying around for no reason in years past. I hope this was helpful to some of you.