Woman to Women
Spring Clean Your Life
Learning to let go
By: Cheryl M. Wenzel-Nelson
Just as a house needs to be relieved of old clutter to let the fresh air in, I have found that our lives also need a spring cleaning to help us let go of patterns that are no longer working and allow some fresh ideas in.
I just finished doing a spring cleaning on my own life. Ever since I can remember, I have tried to control my life. I don’t like to think of myself as a control freak; I just like things to be a certain way.
My controlling behavior began amid the chaos of my childhood. In a Herculean effort to control the world around me, I began to think about how my life should be and tried to make it that way by becoming a “good girl.” It didn’t change the chaos in my home, but it did make me feel better to have some control in my life, even if it was self-imposed.
From this childhood experience, I created the belief that I could be happy only by micromanaging my life. Unfortunately, once I grew into adulthood, this behavior became a problem. Instead of letting my life unfold naturally, I exerted that same Herculean effort to try to control every aspect of it, creating more stress than happiness.
I was controlling in my relationships with people, which left me with many disappointments and few friends. I tried to control my career based on what I thought would make me successful rather than focusing on my talents and doing what I enjoyed. This left me confused about what I wanted and I ended up changing my career three times.
I even tried to control my romantic life in an effort to find the perfect partner. But I always ended up alone and discouraged, feeling like I would never find the right man.
Then one day I accidentally met the man of my dreams. We married and had two beautiful children. I immediately began trying to create the perfect husband, perfect children and perfect home. Unfortunately, I only ended up creating more work for myself and felt like a failure when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to.
Today I have what I consider to be a normal life. It’s not the perfect life I tried so hard to create -it’s better. I have an adoring husband, two wonderful children, a fulfilling career that I never expected or planned for, and I do not control any of it. I have learned to let go and live instead of trying to control everything, and to trust that my deepest needs and desires will be met – though maybe not in the way that I want them to be.
Lesson learned? Don’t micromanage your life. Set goals, but be flexible. Goals should be fluid, changing as you change.
This spring, give your life a spring cleaning. And don’t forget to clean out your closets.