If you feel yourself evolving, it is in your best interest to let it happen and take you where it will. Be it a new hobby, a new hairstyle, moving to a new country, or simply buying new clothes. I say follow your evolution wherever it goes because no matter how odd, embarrassing, or out of the blue it may seem, this is your body exploring new lands and reaching beyond its comfort zone in order to grow into its highest potential.
Those who love us most may think the new horizons you’re exploring are too weird, out of the ordinary, or even irresponsible. They may feel compelled to stop you and keep you right where you are. Our environments act very much like the clothes you wear on a daily basis. They hold your identity in place, and remind you of who you are and the role you play in society. But when the time comes to shed your skin and evolve into who you must become next, you must have the courage to stay true to yourself, even if that means leaving the people that care about you most.
Take into account all the things you’ve collected throughout your journey and reassess whether or not those things still serve you. Often times you will find many of the things you hold onto have already achieved their purpose, and you are more than ready to let them go and move on. Like an old sweater, I encourage the disposing of old items, ways of thought, and surroundings to make room for things that better suit who you are now and who you are to become.
I have been feeling an immense change in myself. I realized I have been clinging onto negative thought patterns that have only served to hold me back. I was, in a way, addicted to my own self-loathing. I was never good enough, and therefore, not good enough for others as well. I didn’t love myself, and as a result, I also never allowed myself to be loved. I expected and accepted disappointment with open arms. Opportunities came my way, and I’d push them away. People came my way, and I wouldn’t let them in. Happiness was constantly beyond my grasp. I was convinced life never gave me a chance, when in reality I just never gave myself a chance.
These thoughts no longer serve me.
Nor do the physical manifestations of these thoughts.
In order to move on, I had to go through all the emotional baggage I collected in my life. I shone a light at all the problems I’ve been running away from, the terrible coping habits I’ve formed, to the dystopian world I built around it. I began breaking down these walls by forgiving those who hurt me in the past. I also forgave myself for the mistakes I made, along with the mistakes I will continue to make in the future. I let go of notions of having to be flawless and began acknowledging the possibility that despite all my imperfections, I am enough.
This wasn’t easy, but avoiding my anger, my damage, and my grief wasn’t getting me anywhere. I had to face them head on. I had to spend time in the dark. Alone. Asking questions I couldn’t find the answers to. Feeling helpless. But it was only by acknowledging the pain that I was then able to finally let go and move on. Perhaps you, too, will have to spend some time alone to make sense of all your disappointments and upsets in order for your metamorphosis to truly take shape.
Nobody else can do this for you.
When you sum up the courage to face your demons and let go of the things that no longer serve you, a new space will be created. And it is in this space where you will grow into the person you were always meant to become.
Your body will begin to react.
As I began growing into the greater version of myself, my body began to form a different relationship with the physical world around me. My clothes. My hair. My car. The conversations I was having. The weather. The food. The way I rolled out of bed. The way my feet hit the pavement. Everything began to feel different and that was because I was now operating in an environment associated with a world that had a sadder, more insecure and fearful me that no longer exists.
I was evolving.
I donated my old clothing, sold my furniture, and redesigned my entire living situation. With this new space I created for myself, I began taking photographs the way I wanted. I began dancing the way I wanted. I began wearing the clothes I wanted. Most importantly, I began allowing myself to be myself and live the way I’ve always wanted to live.
Letting go is not wasteful, nor is it neglect or giving up. Letting go can be a powerful act of acknowledging all the invaluable lessons you’ve learned from the people, places, and things that have come into your life. Let go with pride. Let go with confidence. Let go with the understanding and respect that though you may have outgrown certain things in your life, these very things, even the darker periods in your life, are what prepared you for this very moment to grow and prosper.
We are ever-changing and evolving in more ways than our physical manifestations can perhaps keep up. Evolution is not about finding a final resting place where we can finally sit back and relax, but about cultivating a habit of allowing oneself to change as our mind and bodies call for it. Sometimes these changes may feel difficult because we’re forced to face inner demons that we’d much rather avoid or it requires physical changes that might clash with our immediate environments. There is a reason why we fuss over little details like the color of our bathroom walls; it’s because deep down we know the greater impact our physical environment has further down the chain of events from mind, to body, to our entire lives.
Life takes so many twists and turns. Evolution can feel like a filthy mess. But when it comes to growing into our most authentic selves, I truly believe that deep down, our body already knows. We just have to listen to it.
by Jason Lam
Originally published at www.jlam.com on September 21, 2016.