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Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I’m delighted that you’re here with me today. And today we’re gonna talk about the power of letting go. And I think this is such an important topic because it’s really hard to rise to the occasion of your life, when you are constantly weighed down by things that no longer serve you or maybe never did. And letting go of the familiar and stepping into uncertainty can feel so damn hard. So in this episode, today, I want to share some of the most common things that I see my clients clinging to, to the detriment of their own well being. And more importantly, I want to share ways to help you reframe the act of letting go. So you can do it with a lot less unnecessary struggling.
Courtney Townley 1:29
Now, I’m probably going to date myself here, but I don’t know if some of you remember the movie the great outdoors with John Candy and Dan Ackroyd. And in that movie, there is a scene where John Candy is trying to help his son waterski. And he mistakenly is the one who gets pulled out into the water on skis. He doesn’t want to be there. But he also won’t let go. And so ultimately, what happens is he gets drugged around the entire lake, tell terrified, expending a tremendous amount of energy, causing himself a lot of trauma, and a lot of discomfort. And a lot of big emotion, like he’s very angry at the driver, which of course, is Dan Ackroyd, because he thinks he’s doing it on purpose.
Courtney Townley 2:28
And in reality, the power for John Candy to let go was in his hands the whole time. All he had to do to avoid that crazy ride around the lake was to let go of your rope. And the craziest part is at the end, when he is done skiing, everyone is celebrating his success. But he was miserable. He didn’t feel successful. He felt terrible the entire time he was on the skis. And I feel like this is how a lot of us go through life. We’re creating so much unnecessary work, and so much unnecessary suffering, because we are refusing to let go of something. And there’s a lot of some things that we cling to. We cling to beliefs that don’t serve us. I know for me personally, a belief that I had for a really long time was that I’m too much. I know I’m not alone in this belief.
Courtney Townley 3:37
By the way. I know a lot of you listening have been told similar things. I’m too much I had been told my whole life, that I’m too strong. I’m too powerful. I’m too dramatic. I’m too animated. I remember when I was in college, my ballet teacher would give everyone these individualized exercises to work on. And for most of the dancers. Those exercises were quite literally exercises have certain ballet positions or movements that they were struggling to get. But my exercise was always the same. She always wanted me to lay on the floor and do absolutely nothing. And so I walked through a lot of my life not just because of that situation or that scenario, but because I had repeatedly heard my so much of my life that I was too much that for a while I played really small and I was unfulfilled and I was afraid of being fully me.
Courtney Townley 4:56
I know I’m not alone in this. I know will probably every single one of you listening to this episode today are carrying around beliefs. That number one maybe weren’t even yours to begin with, they were someone else’s, that you adopted them. And yet, you keep playing that belief over and over in your head. And so of course, it’s a massively influencer in your life. So, it is worth considering, what are some of the beliefs that you might need to let go of, to be more full you.
Courtney Townley 5:41
Another thing I see a lot of people clinging to our expectations of how things are supposed to be. I see this a lot in the space of women’s wellness. This expectation that our body is supposed to be the same throughout our entire lifetime. And so we spend our precious life energy trying to stay in that box from our 20s or 30s, or 40s. Chasing the past, rather than accepting and being in the current moment, and really moving into our future. When we don’t let go of expectations that no longer serve us, or again, maybe never did, we can create a tremendous amount of pain for ourselves. We also cling to strategies that no longer serve us.
Courtney Townley 6:49
When I had my son, I was about 34 years old. And prior to having my son, I would get up every morning at four o’clock. So I could be at the gym to start training clients at 5am. And my my day was jam packed with clients, I would get in my own workouts after my clients. And my time was my own, I didn’t have a lot of other responsibilities. And so when my son came into the world, I continued to operate that way for the first year of his life, which was insanity. So I was still getting up super early, I was still jamming my schedule full of clients. And of course, it makes sense that I really struggled to heal my own body in that first year of motherhood, because I refused to let my life look different. I refused to remold my life, given the fact that I had this gigantic new responsibility. And of course, I suffered the price for that.
Courtney Townley 7:57
I see a lot of people clinging to relationships, that no longer nourish them. So being in relationship with somebody who has a completely different standards for the relationship or for their life, can really can be very detrimental to our own health. I was having a conversation recently, with a gal at the gym, who was talking about being in a relationship with somebody for almost a decade, who always felt that she should look a certain way and dress a certain way and present herself a certain way. But really deep down all she wanted was to be herself and to be accepted for that. And until she was able to let go, she really got to a place of being so unwell. I see a lot of people clinging to jobs, spending the bulk of their life in jobs that make them miserable, that aren’t aligned with how they want to be spending their time or the real work they want to be doing in the world. And if you think about it, we’re spending the bulk of our life in our jobs.
Courtney Townley 9:24
So if we are unfulfilled there, if we are miserable there, what do we do? We go home at the end of the day. And we buffer with things like food and alcohol and Netflix to try to make ourselves feel better. And on and on the cycle goes. And we’re wrestling with ourselves, struggling to understand why we can’t do better why we can’t take better care of ourselves, why we aren’t doing the things in our free time that we really want to be doing and it has a lot to do with how we’re spending the bulk of our time. We cling to identities. And this shows up in a lot of different language.
Courtney Townley 10:14
When I’m working with clients, I hear things like, that’s not who I am. When we’re talking about behavior change, right? I’m just not a patient person. I’m just not someone who would cook a healthy meal for dinner. I’ve never been a confident person. Or I hear people really arguing for the idea of this is who I am, even though that argument isn’t serving them. So I am a runner. Even though every time they’re running, they’re getting injured. Or I am a runner. They haven’t gone for a run in five years.
Courtney Townley 11:01
But they’re clinging to that identity that that because it was a part of their life at one time, it should always be a part of their life. arguing for identities that don’t serve us also sound like I’m not smart. I’m not business minded. Again, I don’t have patience. I don’t have grace. I’m lazy. We argue for identities that don’t serve us. And what if we just let that go?
Courtney Townley 11:40
What if we gave ourselves permission to let go of identities that no longer serve us. So let’s talk for a minute about why we don’t let go of things that are clearly no longer nourishing us. There’s lots of reasons but a few things I would love to highlight here. Number one, we can spend a lot of time proving our worth. We try to get people to accept us by showing up in a way that we think is going to make them happy. Even if it’s not going to make us happy. Which is madness.
Courtney Townley 12:20
Because ultimately what we do is we build a relationship on a lie. I’m doing what you want me to do. But in reality, I don’t want to be doing it. And we do this because we’re afraid of disappointing people. We’re afraid of letting other people have their own discomfort with our decisions. I think we also struggle to let go because we play kind of the comparison game. So we compare the way we’re living our life to the way other people are living their life.
Courtney Townley 13:01
And I think that where that gets really dangerous is we start adopting that other people’s standards should be our standards, I should look a certain way. I should be a certain weight, because everyone says so. Because everyone else is aspiring to that. But what if forcing yourself to be that way makes you feel dead inside? Why would you cling to that? I think we also have a hard time letting go because we fear the unknown. Even though we don’t like the familiar. Even though we may be very uncomfortable with certain things in our life, and even acknowledged they are not nourishing us but depleting us. They’re familiar.
Courtney Townley 13:58
And the human brain definitely likes predictability and certainty because there’s a level of comfort there. So when we let go of things that are familiar, we literally step into unknown territory, we no longer know how it’s going to turn out. And I think the funny thing is, we don’t really know how the familiar is going to turn out either. I mean, there’s a pattern of predictability there. But I often remind my clients that you might go to work every day at 6am expecting to come home at 5pm. But there’s no guarantee you’re coming home. We don’t know that with absolute certainty.
Courtney Townley 14:46
And yet, because we have a pattern of doing that day after day, we convince our brain that there is certainty so the cost of not letting go of things that are depleting you, is pretty high, right? We waste a tremendous amount of our precious life resources, like time and energy and mental bandwidth in this space of incongruency. And what I mean by that is we are allowing things into our life that we know deep down, don’t belong there, we’ve just outgrown them, they are complete. Maybe they never really fit us.
Courtney Townley 15:41
But again, for all the reasons we mentioned earlier about why we don’t let go, we end up spending a tremendous amount of our resources to keep that thing in her life. And the cost of letting go is also, like I mentioned at the start of this Podcast today, a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. So we generate, we are the cause of a tremendous amount of unnecessary pain and suffering, because we refuse to let go.
Courtney Townley 16:18
And again, I go back to that example, at the that I was talking about at the beginning of the Podcast, John Candy being pulled around the lake, you know, through through these, these grasslands, and over boats, and over docks, all these obstacles, he had to go over unnecessarily, because he refused to let go. I think the cost of not letting go is also a lot of self doubt. Because we kind of not even kind of I do think we we move against the grain of what it takes to have a healthy relationship with ourselves. It’s like we’re betraying ourselves. Deep down, we know that something doesn’t belong. No longer has a place in our life. And yet, we refuse to acknowledge that that’s true.
Courtney Townley 17:20
And think about if a loved one came to you, and said, look like, I know you’ve been cooking salmon for years, on Monday nights for dinner. And I just gotta tell you, I really don’t like salmon. Now, initially, you might be a little hurt by that, because you might really like salmon. But if this is a very healthy, loving relationship, you would either maybe you would explore other ways of cooking salmon, maybe you would just completely omit it from the menu. Maybe you would just have it when you go out to restaurants. But you would probably work with that information in a way that respects the other person. Why don’t we do that for ourselves?
Courtney Townley 18:12
Ultimately, the cost of not letting go is a huge lack of fulfillment. We don’t feel happy, we don’t feel satisfied. So how do we know when it’s time to let go because I know this is something a lot of people rumble with. And I think this is a very sort of, it’s a conversation that really needs to be customized to the circumstance and the person that we’re talking about. So the things I’m about to go through here, obviously are very generalized. But I think some of the indicators that it might be time to let go of something is number one, the bad outweighs the good. You are feeling consistently more depleted by the thing. Then you are nourished. I’ll tell you I obviously have like anybody, a lot of really hard days in my business. Things don’t go as expected problems arise. I didn’t see coming. I have lots of moments of self doubt and frustration and all the things.
Courtney Townley 19:25
And when I talk about these things with my husband, one of the things he always asks me is Hey, honey, do you love it? More than you’re frustrated with it? Do you love it enough to find a way to move through this? And the answer has always been a hearty Yes. And I know that when the day comes if the day comes, I hope it never comes but it might where I can no longer answer. Yeah As to those questions, it’s probably time to bow out. I think another sign it’s time to let go of something is when you are, you’re bitter. You’re complaining all the time you’re blaming all the time.
Courtney Townley 20:18
Inside of my Rumble & Rise community this month, we’ve been talking a lot about the Power of Pleasure. That’s kind of our theme for the month. And one of the things that we talked about in the masterclass was that our complaints are often hiding our true desires. So it is absolutely worth investigating the things you are complaining about, to find what you’re truly after. And when you are consistently complaining about a person about a job about a situation, what is it that you really want, and often you’re gonna find that you want to let go of the thing, you’re just not giving yourself permission for it.
Courtney Townley 21:13
I think another indicators that we think about it all the time, we think about letting go all the time, whether it’s the job, or it’s a certain form of exercise, or it’s a diet that we’re on, right, like, if you are thinking more about letting go than you are about leaning in, it’s worth looking at another indicator, it might be time to let go, you are consistently not showing up. You say you want something, but you are consistently showing up in the opposite way, meaning you’re probably not doing the thing. So you say you want to lose weight, but you aren’t doing anything to move in that direction. You’re only when you go to work, you’re only showing up at like 25% capacity.
Courtney Townley 22:15
When I transitioned from being a brick and mortar business to an online business, I had been working in gyms in wellness facilities for the bulk of my career, like 15 years at that point. And I knew it was time to shape shift what my career looks like. Because I was going to work at maybe, I don’t know, maybe 40% capacity. So I wasn’t really bringing my all to the table. I wasn’t really lit up by what I was doing anymore. And I knew that for a really long time, before I gave myself permission to shift. And I absolutely caused myself a lot of unnecessary suffering, and struggle, because I didn’t give myself that permission sooner.
Courtney Townley 23:15
So how do we let go with more ease and grace? Well, I think first of all, we have to like our reasons for letting go of something. Are you letting go because you just don’t want to do the work of making it feel better? Right? So are you wanting to let go of a relationship because you just don’t want to lean into the discomfort of difficult conversations? Do you want to let go of a job because you aren’t willing to find creative solutions to things that probably could be easily solved? I think there’s a difference between giving up and letting go. Right giving up to me as is knowing that there’s a possibility of success and still wanting the success. But not being willing to be uncomfortable. We’re letting go is really a conscious decision that this thing No, that doesn’t serve me it’s not what I truly want. And it’s a very Grace filled act.
Courtney Townley 24:32
We also can let go with more ease and grace. When we reframe the concept of letting go I think a lot of people aren’t letting go because of what they’re making it mean that I’m a failure that I didn’t try hard enough that I’m a bad person. But you could also make letting go mean that whatever it is you were involved With is now complete, there’s something else waiting for you. And you can’t get to that something else unless you make room for it. By me stepping away from this opens up resources for me to find what truly nourishes me. That’s an option to think that way. And I also just want to say that I think letting go with more ease and grace, in part, is giving yourself permission to practice with small things first, right beat, letting go of a relationship that you’ve had for decades, is a really big thing. Where letting go of like a piece of clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn in decades is very different. It’s still hard. But it’s an easier thing to practice with.
Courtney Townley 26:01
And, you know, I always joke with my clients when they say they want to improve their relationship with food. And yet, they’re refusing to actually acknowledge what they’re eating. So they don’t have they’re not recording what they eat. They’re not tracking what they eat, they’re not willing to look at the data. And when we really get underneath that and get curious about why the answer they come up with is often it’s hard. Tracking is hard. And I always, of course, ask them the question, is it hard? Or is it uncomfortable? Like, explain to me your process of what makes this hard. And as they explained the process, they start giggling because they realize it’s not hard. It’s simply uncomfortable. There’s a difference.
Courtney Townley 26:52
And so of course, the more we practice, the thing we’re resisting, the easier it becomes, the less uncomfortable it becomes. And then we can graduate to harder things. And so like with any practice, which letting go is letting go is a practice. If you struggle to let go of things that no longer nourish you, start practicing with very small things. Letting go of things you no longer use, letting go of a few beliefs that you know, are not serving you. Letting go of a commitment that you have been pulling out of for a while, but haven’t really given yourself full permission to step away from. I’ve done a lot of coaching around that, especially with volunteer opportunities. I’m all for volunteering. I mean, what an amazing contribution to the world. And when you are in the throes of a lot of responsibilities in your life, volunteering may not always be a great fit. Maybe it is for you, maybe it isn’t.
Courtney Townley 28:14
But what are the things you are committing to right now that you committed to with beautiful intention? But now you feel like it’s costing you on the level of wellness. Alright, my friends, that’s all I have for you today. Just inviting you to consider what are you clinging too tightly to? Where are you causing yourself unnecessary pain and suffering? Because you refuse to let go? And how might you start building a practice of letting go of things with more ease and grace? I hope there was something helpful in there for you. And that’s all I have. So I hope you have a wonderful day. I hope you have a great week. And I will see you again next week next Saturday. All right, my Friends Take care.
Courtney Townley 29:13
Thank you for listening to the grace and grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self-care You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.