“Step onto a clean slate each morning and you will be miles ahead of the rest.” – Michelle C. Ustaszeski
About 18 years ago I learned a very valuable lesson. I still remember writing down the above quote for a line of bookmarks and framed art that I was creating while watching my kids play outside. I was 29 and my two older children were 2 and 5 at the time.
Even though I was newly single, raising two kids on my own, working full time during the week days, cleaning houses on the weekends, going to college, and working on starting a new business, it was by far one of the happiest times in my life. I eventually saved enough to buy a small town house, graduated college, and bought the kids their very first puppy, Buddy. My third baby.
And so there I was, sitting outside with a cup of tea, watching the clouds pass by, listening to the kids giggle while chasing the dog and each other around the yard and thinking to myself, “Wow, life sure is good when you let go of yesterday.”
There’s a few turning points in my life and this was one of my favorite realizations. I wouldn’t have accomplished everything I did if I kept holding on to my past and the people in it. I wouldn’t have been so happy if I didn’t let go of what wasn’t good in my life and focus on what I wanted today and tomorrow rather than where I was yesterday.
We all go through difficult times and make poor decisions in life and I was no exception when I was younger. I held on to a relationship that tore me up inside and after six years, it was no surprise that I found myself to be so happy in the present moment. You see, once you regularly go through high levels of emotional torment, a day where you are simply accepted, loved (even if it’s by yourself), and can move around your home without criticism, drama, and hatred, comparably feels like heaven. The smallest and calmest experiences tend to become the biggest pleasures in life.
Do I wish I could change any of it? No way. If not for all the rough times I went through, I would not be so happy today nor would I appreciate all that I have, including the wonderful people in my life. If not for rough life lessons, making mistakes, and difficulty, this website would not exist and perhaps many of it’s contributors would not have lessons to share themselves.
If you are going through difficulty, know that just like the bow and arrow, the further you are pulled down and back, the higher and further you can ultimately go in the other direction…
BUT ONLY IF YOU LET GO.
And it’s true for most things in life.
When you let go of hate, you will be propelled forward toward more love.
When you let go of criticism (yours or others), you will find more acceptance.
When you let go of anger, you will find more peace.
When you let go of worry and fear, you will find more confidence and opportunities.
When you let go of negative environments, you will find yourself surrounded by more positive ones.
And when you let go of people who tear you down, you make room to find people that will raise you up.
We ALL let things pull us down from time to time. That’s just life and sometimes we need to learn some pretty painful and valuable lessons… But it’s ultimately our choice as to how long we choose to pull back and hold on.
The trick to all of this happiness stuff is learning when to let go and there’s no better time than the beginning of a new year.
What can you let go of this year? How can you get exactly what you want?
About the Author: Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson is the Founder of The Teen Mentor and Creator of The Total Mind Development Program for Teens and Young Adults.