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Releasing What You've Outgrown

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Little Orphan Annie. She just seemed to have things figured out and know exactly what to do when life was hard. I wanted to embody her way of being, so my mom made me an Annie dress (red with a white belt), and I cut my hair and got a perm so I could look just like her. Minus the whole red hair part, much to my disappointment.

I loved “being” Annie. I even wore that dress to my first day of kindergarten. It felt safer to pretend to be someone else while facing a situation that seemed scary.

And then I graduated to the first grade. Somehow, being Annie didn’t feel right to me anymore. In addition to the Annie dress no longer fitting my size, I had also outgrown embodying someone else to make it through tough life experiences. But I still felt vulnerable and unsure of how or who I wanted to be. I had a sense of who I might be, but how did I go about expressing that?

Realizing I’d outgrown an important part of myself was challenging. Without realizing it at the time, I needed to grieve the ending of a version of myself. This may have been one of the first times I ever felt STUCK in a transition between who I had previously been and who I now wanted to become.

Over time, I did figure out who I was and how I wanted to express myself. And I would experience that process of navigating uncertain territories within myself as I grew into each level of development.

In fact, I’m experiencing one of those shifts right now! There are things in my life that I have long since outgrown, but I haven’t fully released them yet. I’m holding on for as long as possible because letting go is hard and sometimes scary.

The same old questions pop up for me. What if I don’t like the next steps I take in my life? What if growing into what’s next isn’t as good as I hope it is? What if I miss my old life so much that I want to get back to it, but by then it will be too late?!

Of course, as I look back to every time I stepped into the next phase of my life, I’ve never regretted it. I can simultaneously be grateful for having gone through every stage of my development AND not want to go back. This is something that can be hard to remember for when it’s time for a major life shift.

So, in this episode of Growing in Uncertainty, I share some of the things I do to help myself during the process of releasing the old and stepping into the new as I transition out of the things I’ve outgrown in my life.

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