Remember ‘snow days’ from school? Wasn’t that just the BEST feeling in the world – when you really didn’t want to go to school, and it got canceled just in time?? Maybe there was even a test scheduled for that day – even better!
What about other times when you’ve been spared some sort of undesirable fate?
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- A meeting that gets canceled, giving you more time to be better prepared.
- A scheduling conflict that makes it impossible to attend your co-worker’s cabaret act.
- A long holiday weekend at home, instead of traveling many hours to visit challenging relatives.
These are all examples of being ‘let off the hook’. You thought you were going to have to follow through on some sort of dutiful obligation but, for whatever reason, you were granted a reprieve.
There is such a glorious sense of relief that comes from being released from an obligation that we didn’t necessarily sign up for. Sometimes, even if it’s something we thought we WANTED to do – there is still a sneaky, luxurious sense of relief when we don’t actually have to do it. It feels freeing! It’s fun being let off the hook!
Obligation can be complicated. Duty can be tricky. It’s important to distinguish between the duties and obligations that you consciously choose to honor in your life, and those that have been handed to you by other people, based on what THEY would like you to do. Just because someone thinks you ‘should’ go to Sally’s party doesn’t mean you have to. The ‘should’ is usually coming from someone else who has their own agenda in play. Whose agenda would you like to live by?
We often have a hard time letting ourselves off the hook for certain things. We become ruled by the ‘shoulds’ – the beliefs, duties and obligations that we never consciously chose. We are hard on ourselves about a whole host of things – and it makes for a less-than-joyful life. Here is a short list of some ways you might begin to let yourself off the hook in your life – and enjoy yourself a bit more.
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1. Re-examine your ideals for how much you ‘should’ weigh and how you ‘should’ look.
How did you arrive at those ideals – and are they realistic? Maybe it’s okay to ease up on yourself for not looking like you stepped out of a magazine. Let yourself off the hook for not weighing in at the very lowest possible weight for your height. Maybe your goal can shift from achieving a certain number on the scale, to achieving maximum health and longevity. Maybe you can take pride in how effectively your body functions at this point in your life. How often does anybody besides your doctor ask you to declare your weight out loud, anyway?
2. Choose sleep.
There are no medals handed out for who worked the latest and who slept the least. Sleep is fun, free, and a vital component for your overall health and well-being. Let yourself off the hook. Take a nap when you need one and prioritize your sleep at night.