It’s important to have things in life that mean something to you, and to have the freedom to choose what holds value.
Many of us could easily reel off a list of what matters to us – family, friends, work, health etc.
But what about the other things that take up our time and energy without us really realizing?
Here are 8 things that you need to let go of because they’re just not that important…
Success means something different to everyone, but there is also a general, social construct of success that we all hold ourselves to.
The image of a successful person tends to be someone attractive and healthy with a well-paid job and a good car. We place so much importance on this ideal that we forget about our own successes.
For some, being successful is a 6-figure salary and extravagant holidays; for others, it’s raising happy children.
Comparison holds too much value in this society, and is a mostly unhealthy habit. Social media projects false images and standards that we hold ourselves to, which leads us to feel unsatisfied or inadequate in our lives.
2. Doing It For The Sake Of It
Many of us feel obligated to do things for the wrong reasons – often because we’re putting too much value on them.
Doing things for the sake of it is inevitable at certain times, such as when it comes to making a living to pay the mortgage, but can be a waste of energy at other times.
We place so much importance on specific rituals or activities that we don’t actually care that much about. Rather than doing things for the sake of it, we should do things because we enjoy doing them, or because they serve us in some way.
A lot of us think that certain things are more important than they actually are, simply because we’re used to doing them. We get stuck in habits or behavior-cycles and stop questioning why we’re actually doing what we’re doing.
3. Social Media Validation
We get so hung up on how we come across on social media, to the point that the amount of ‘likes’ we get on photos or posts reigns over us.
How we feel about ourselves is so affected by social media, and we place far too much value on the image we project of ourselves.
Many of us find ourselves ‘doing it for the ‘gram’ – we go out of our way to do things so that we can take photos, or ‘boomerangs’. Be honest – do you rearrange your coffee cup before posting a snap of it while you check in at a trendy cafe?
Look around you on a night out – how many people are having fun and how many people are taking photos of themselves ‘having fun’?
If you find yourself forcing certain situations so that you can document them online, think about why you’re really doing it.
Social media can be a great tool, but it leads to a false sense of validation and we place far too much importance on how we present ourselves on it.
Real life makes real memories, and that’s what we should all be aiming for.
4. Our Appearances
We all knew that this one was coming! Of course, many of us place far too much importance on how we look.
Taking a level of pride in your appearance is perfectly healthy and normal – it’s nice to feel as though you look good and have made an effort sometimes.
The problems arise when our appearances become a bit of a fixation and we become overly-critical of ourselves.
We assume that, because we think about our bodies and hair and makeup so often, everyone else is thinking about them too. In actual fact, most other people are busy thinking about their own appearances.
As a little grounding reminder – how many strangers did you walk past today and how many of them are you still thinking about?
You may have had snap-judgements, e.g. “her hair is nice,” “she’s attractive,” or “his coat is ugly,” but did you really put any more time or effort into thinking about those people?
Remember that most people wouldn’t spend time thinking about you either!
The way we look and the labels on our clothes and other superficial aspects of our lives are nowhere near as important as we think they are. Most people think about themselves more than anybody else thinks about them.
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Some opinions matter. Your loved ones have your best interests at heart, so it makes sense that you’d listen to their advice and take their opinions on board.
Agonizing endlessly over other people’s opinions is unhealthy and leads to so many issues surrounding confidence and mental health.
Sure, think about the opinions that really matter, but don’t let those that don’t ruin your mindset.
While it’s important to be self-aware, many people need to learn to just let go of what no longer serves us and move on with our lives.
Easier said than done? Sure, but it’s something to aim for.
6. First Impressions
A lot of us care too much about first impressions, which makes some sense, but is something that we need to let go of.
The way we initially view other people can be important sometimes, and trusting your instinct is something that can be really helpful.
That said, we often judge other people based on their appearance and quickly make up our minds about how we feel about them.
Being honest, we’ve probably all missed out on potential friendships or relationships because we assume we won’t get on with someone based on how they look.
“That girl doesn’t look like my friends” is a snap-judgement that can stop you chatting to someone who you may actually get on really well with.
“He’s too short” is something that a lot of people have probably said when approached on a night out – for all you know, that man might actually have a lot in common with you.
We place too much importance on these first impressions and often miss out on opportunities because we’re not willing to be open-minded.
7. Online Connections
The internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to making and maintaining connections – how else would you keep in touch with your friends across the globe?
On the other hand, the lines are often blurred when it comes to connections, as it can be all too easy to forge ‘friendships’ online that aren’t genuine.
The way that we put ourselves across and the emphasis we put on our online relationships can be very unhealthy.
The internet often represents a very different experience to reality, and it’s all too easy to get swept up into believing that certain things should really matter to you.
While it’s nice to have people to chat to online, and the internet can be a great tool of communication, not all online relationships are as important as we sometimes think.
8. Want Want Want!
On the note of superficiality, many people place too much importance on material goods.
We live in a consumer society and are essentially just living in pursuit of the next ‘thing.’ That might be a new car or a new pair of jeans, but it’s still an aspect of many of our lives.
Whether it’s down to this social media comparison, society in general, or the media, we’re ‘trained’ to think that possessions are far more important than they actually are.
Some buy things in order to fill the ‘void’ in our lives, which is a whole different issue, and some just like having new things. Either way, we place too much value on material possessions.