site stats
Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Letting Go

If you’re like me, you like being in control—not that I’m a complete freak. I’m learning, though, to let go. In fact, it’s become a goal of mine to relinquish more and more things that, quite frankly, aren’t that important in the grand scheme.

Helicopter Parenting
Okay, I admit I haven’t completely succeeded with eliminating this tendency. But the helicopter has shrunk to a little toy size. My daughter succeeds or fails. My job is to help her process the success or failure. As much as it kills me not to badger her into telling me when I know something is bothering her, I stop when she says she doesn’t want to talk about it—most of the time.

Volunteer Work
Several years ago, I assessed how much time in the day I had to accomplish my goals, and I discovered that volunteering was sucking away my writing time. I whittled down my list to only things I loved, like sewing for my daughter’s ballet company and volunteer opportunities that helped my career. Are people disappointed in me when I say “no”? Probably. But since I no longer feel the need to be perfect, I’m fine.

This is has been the cornerstone on the foundation of change for me. I am not perfect, and I no longer expect it of myself. I don’t expect it of others. I make mistakes. Some people dislike me, and that’s okay. Unless I have guests arriving, my house is messy, my office needs a good dusting, and there is clean laundry not yet folded sitting on my dining room table.

What are some things you’ve let go of to have a richer, happier life?
Because she's let go, Maureen had the time to write "A Tale of Two Kitties" for BelleBooks' Critters of Mossy Creek, Book Seven of the Mossy Creek Hometown series. Critters will be released on September 28th ! Visit Maureen's website at

Labels: ,


At 11:55 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Yay, Maureen! I love this post! Everyone should let something go every once in a while, especially if they don't have enough time in their week to do something they like to do...or WANT to do. Like writing.

My kids are getting older which is making it sooo much easier for me to do more ME things. I love it. I don't volunteer much any more but I do drive around my mom who can't see. Not enough women out there do things just because they want to. But the more you do for yourself, the happier you will be and everyone around you will appreciate it SO much!

Love all of the points you made, Mo! Good job!

Okay, enough rambling.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Judy said...

Perfectionism is a huge one for me. When I started counseling with Kevin, (my third, the first two were great for where I was at the time, but Kevin is what I was working toward all the time) anyway, I had this image of myself of what I ought to be like. I wasn't anywhere near that "ideal." As Kevin has worked to help me become healthy, I came to realize that my "ideal" was a creation of those around me, built on "you should" "you ought" "why haven't you" "why don't you" "if only you" etc. I was so proud of myself, and so was Kevin, when I was finally able to admit that I didn't even like my "ideal." Yes, there were circles she fit into very neatly, perfectly, but I actually hated being in those circles. Talk about having to do a major overhaul of my self-image. It's a slow painful process, but it has been sooooo worth it. It does mean that those who wanted the original "ideal" are unhappy with the changes I've made, but I have never been more at peace with myself.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Good question, Mo. I have a brother who very literally tries to do everything that interests him. Most of those projects sit unfinished in the garage or driveway. He has never let his interest in music fade, though.

He's been disappointed that I haven't maintained my music the way he has. But long ago I realized I simply could not do everything. I allow myself only one or two major creative outlets at a time. When I began writing, I had to let knitting and my guitar go. And I had to give up gardening anyway to relieve back pain. Do I miss those things? Yes. But writing consumes my creative needs, as does Photoshop artwork. To try to do more would eat me alive.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Judy, that is one of the BEST explanations of what counseling or therapy can do for a person that I've EVER read! It is so hard to explain to people how "talking" can help and how therapy is not just buying friendship.

I am sooooo glad you persisted and traveled the journey to the real you. I think you are terrific!!!!!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Judy said...

Thanks, Diane. Kevin has no trouble reminding me that he is not my friend. He isn't, nor should he be. He was quite pleased when I told him he was my touchstone. It's a proud moment when I ask his advice, and it's what I was considering already. I would never have stopped lying to myself if Kevin hadn't given me the occasional nudge, when I was ready, in the right direction, largely because I didn't even realize I was doing it. It helps so much to have someone outside the situation who is able to point out what is and is not healthy behavior. I certainly didn't know, but I'm learning.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Yay, Judy! You are on your way. You certainly have the right attitude. Good job!

And you too, Delle, we can't do everything. Sometimes I have fun trying and other times I drive myself crazy!!! Right now I'm making jewelry, taking a spanish class, practicing piano, judging contest entries, making photobooks on Kodak, and trying to find my muse to start my next book! Shoot me now! :)

And hi Diane! You seem like one of those naturally born happy people! Love your attitude with life and your nurturing, caring persona!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Wow, Judy. And good for you :-)!

Like everyone else, I love this post, Mo! I tried to think of something to add, but then I realized I've let so many things go I'm starting to think I should get a tiny bit busier, LOL!

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Fantastic post, Mo! And Judy what an amazing discovery you have made - the real you - a treasure hiding there all the time! Congrats!

I was definitely the perfectionist the first 30 or so years of my life. I did a lot of things because they were expected of me. Some of them turned out really well - my music career - and some of them did not. By the time I retired from opera, satisfied with all I had accomplished, and moved on to being the perfect doctor's wife (volunteer work out the ying yang, dinner parties, you name it) I thought I had the world by the tail.

When my DH died that tiger turned and bit me hard. I fell apart. I didn't care about perfection or anyone's expectations. I worked, I payed bills, I ate and I slept. That was it.

Thank God one of DH's best friends and fellow shrink was bold enough to tell me exactly what he thought about it.

He reminded me that I was a person before Roger and that I had two choices - get busy living or get busy dying.

It took me a number of years after Roger's death, but I finally like the person I am now. I don't live by other people's expectations or rules. I do exactly what I want and I am exactly who I want to be (except when I'm at Wal-Mart. I NEVER acted so well on stage as I do at this job! LOL)

And I did have to let go of a number of things. As I become more and more involved in trying to become a published author I have given up even more things to spend more time writing. And I have discovered who my real friends are. Those who understand the hours I spend sitting at the computer are not just a way to blow them off but necessary to my happiness (Even when it makes me miserable.)are my real friends. They like me. And so do I.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Louisa--thank you for sharing such a moving story.

And I love the way you said writing makes you happy, even when it makes you miserable. Only your fellow writers would understand that :-).

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

And hi Diane! You seem like one of those naturally born happy people! Love your attitude with life and your nurturing, caring persona!

hahahahaha, Theresa! I am happy now. Life is not perfect, but I gave up my expectation that it should be long ago. I've wrestled with unhappiness and used psychotherapy to help me (psychotherapists are not usually shy about seeking help for themselves). I learned that I alone am responsible for my happiness. When I realized that, I started writing!!!

Terry, um.... aren't you on the RWA Board? that's a big commitment, I'm sure!

O Doggie One, I think you are terrific and it is a testament to your strength that you have gotten yourself through such tragic times. Way to go!!!!

Mo, I forgot to say that I'm looking forward to your story about Kitties. Right up my alley.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

That's so wonderful that you drive your mom around. And you're right not enough women do things for themselves.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Bravo, Judy!!!

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I could easily be your brother, but I've narrowed down my creative interests like you. On occasion, I do scrapbook, but that's usually last on my list.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I'm looking forward to being you some day. Needing to be busier sounds like a good place to be!

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

This line is priceless and probably true of me as well (but for different reasons): "I do exactly what I want and I'm exactly who I want to be (except when I'm at Walmart)." :)


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]