Tell me if this has ever happened to you: For the millionth time, you’re mulling over something troublesome – maybe it’s a belief you’ve had that’s turned out to be false, or it’s an opportunity you’ve missed, or it’s some level of lack where you feel you’re not measuring up or doing enough – whatever it is, you’re mulling over it and mulling over it until you’re sick to death of mulling and ask yourself, “Why do I even f-ing care about __________ anyways?”
Last week I found myself knee deep in mulling. I was mulling over two classes I thought I could have delivered better, mulling over opportunities I believed I had missed out on indefinitely, and mulling over feeling like I can never do enough in my current role and that maybe I’m not cut out for all of this.
Mull – Rinse – Repeat
I was so deep in this cycle that I didn’t even realize I was in it. Sure, I felt deeply overwhelmed, but it was something I chalked up to my current workload and not having enough hours in the day. It wasn’t until I caught myself saying, “I hate how I look” and, “I just don’t want to leave the house today” that my red flags were raised. This was more than a case of overwhelm.
For me, when I’m overwhelmed – when I’m obsessing over every little thing, when I’m holding onto things that are outside of my control, when I’m just generally giving way too many fucks – I go right to my body and hating it. It took many years and a great deal of therapy, coaching and self-love work to understand that my body – how I looked and what I weighed – was never the issue…or the solution. Hating my body was an easy cop out, a crapload excuse that allowed me to not have to deal with what was truly bothering me. If my body were to blame, then I didn’t have to deal with any of the things I was worrying about.
Mull – Rinse – Repeat
As humans, we tend to hold onto our hang-up’s and even more than that we love to mull over them. On any given day, the following scenario can play out:
- Something triggers us
- We decide to give a fuck about the situation
- We hold onto said situation and how it left us feeling
- We mull over the situation and think about:
a) what we could have done differently
b) who/what’s to blame
And so, by the end of any given week, depending on how many fucks we’ve given, we can find ourselves holding onto and mulling over several dozen things – that’s a lot of crap to hold onto and carry my friends. And yet we carry it until one of two things happen: we have a breakdown or a breakthrough. If we allow the Mull – Rinse – Repeat option to go on long enough, the first is sure to happen (take it from someone who’s been there more times than she’d like to admit). But, if in the moments we are triggered, we can identify that we are triggered, we can begin to shift the cycle and take steps toward letting go.
As soon as I caught myself shaming my body (which wasn’t the first time I heard the thought, by the way) I asked myself, “Why do I even f-ing care about this?”
Now, I’m not knocking caring about those things because they do matter to me. What I’m addressing is the pressure around it. Wanting to keep growing as a teacher and leader is important to me, but if I continually take myself down and mull over every detail, I derail myself from making any progress.
Any time we invest too many fucks in the situation and what’s wrong, we allow ourselves to be pulled into the mulling cycle.
Getting out of the Mull – Rinse – Repeat cycle requires us to stop giving so many fucks. It requires us to only give a fuck and focus on what really matters. In the grand scheme of things, is the weather-induced traffic, the long line at the grocery store or someone’s unpleasant comment enjoyable? Heck no. Is it worth giving a fuck over? Definitely not. Bottom line: a lot of the things we’re mulling over, aren’t even worth the time, attention and energy we’re giving them.
Shortly after I started questioning why I cared so much, I found out that the two classes I was mulling over, people were raving about. The feeling I was holding onto of “I’m not doing enough in my current role” – it wasn’t justified either. And, while I don’t know what will happen with my goals – those opportunities I “missed out” on – I do know it’s not worth mulling over. What will be, will be and all I can do is keep working towards those goals while trusting in the process.
Life is far too short to lug around fears, failures, doubts, disappointments, resents, regrets and assumptions. And the longer we hold onto those things, the heavier we’ll find our load until our load becomes a heavy life.
If instead we choose to reserve our fucks for the things that truly matter, if we choose to let the things that trigger us act as an impetus for consideration, if in our moments of overwhelm we ask, “Why do I even care about _________?” we welcome ourselves to the first day of the rest of our life: a life of freedom, self-acceptance and peace.
My friends, if you can’t love it, make peace with it, find joy in it or gain strength and wisdom from it, the time has come to stop mulling and let it go.
What have you let go of that has transformed your life? Or, what are you finally really to let go of? Share in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!