Take it off the shelf

Letting go of habits is hard. Even when you’re finished with them and you know they no longer serve you in a positive way, letting go is hard.

Those cigarettes breaks you’ve been taking with your coworkers every day for ten years? If you quit, where will you get your social interaction if not around the ash tray?

Those late night drinks that make you feel great at the time but make you feel shitty the next day? What will you do to fill your evenings if you’re not at the bar?

Those coffee dates with your girlfriends where you all bitch about your thighs or your job? What will you talk about instead?

See, here’s the thing. We’ve been holding on to these habits for so long that we think they are a part of us. We think smoking and drinking and talking bad about ourselves is just who we are. I mean, we’ve put thousands of hours in to these habits and, dammit, even if they’re bad for us, they’re part of our identity. Even if you never meant to talk critically to yourself. Even if you didn’t intend to spend every night after work on the couch watching Netflix in your pajamas. Now those actions are part of the story you tell yourself and others. You’ve woven these bad habits in to the tapestry of your character. You’ve connected this random assortment of actions to your very being. You’ve identified yourself as these things: I’m a smoker. I’m not a gym person. But you’re wrong.

You are none of these things.

Your identity isn’t tied up in a pretty little bow. It’s not a static thing that can be defined once and then placed on a shelf to be viewed, admired, and contemplated from a distance. Identity is messy and vibrant and constantly changing.

So let go. What part of the story you tell yourself no longer positively serves you? Take it down from the shelf, dust it off, look it over, maybe even say Thank You to it for helping you when you needed it.

Then throw it away.

Let it go.

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