Throughout our lives, we are offered many opportunities for rebirth. These occasions of renewal are essential for growth. They allow us to let go of habits and behaviors that no longer serve us, and step into a life that’s more healthy, more mature, and more joyful. Without them, we stay in the same ruts, with the same outcomes.
Emotional growth doesn’t just happen – we must choose to participate in the opportunities when they come. And sometimes, we need to create those opportunities to usher in the next step in healing, growth, and happiness.
Here are four tools for you to use that will help cultivate rebirth.
1. Decorate your space to embody new beginnings
Our environment has a strong influence on our emotions and thoughts, which is why it is imperative that the places where we spend the most time remind us of who we truly are, what our goals are, and that we are supported and loved. Take a look at the place(s) where you spend the most time. Do they inspire you? Do they focus you on the things that matter most to you?
If not, it’s time to shift things to create a space you want to be in, one that calls the best out of you. Some things may need to go, to make way for new decor, furniture, tools, books, “stuff” (like colors, sounds, and smells) that remind you of what’s true, good, and beautiful in your life. Around this time of year, it can feel renewing to decorate your space with elements that remind you of rebirth. That’s what Spring is! These elements could be fresh flowers, branches, eggs…whatever you believe will ignite a deep recognition for regeneration and the celebration of life.
2. Honor Your Feelings
This last year, for many of us, was very unsettling to say the least. A lot of us are still isolated from our families, which can bring feelings of fear and anxiety to the surface.
An essential tool for rebirth is acknowledging what challenging feelings are present for us. When we stoically deny our emotional experience, we stifle our actual growth for the sake of looking like we’ve got it all together. The problem is that this approach impedes renewal, and actually just keeps us stuck in the same ruts.
When you have a challenging feeling, like sadness, fear, or anger, understand that this feeling doesn’t have to be carried around with you. It may seem counterintuitive, but when we acknowledge feelings – and actually feel and express them – we are better able to move forward. Whatever the feeling is, it’s okay to feel through it, to scream, to cry. Do whatever you need to do to honor your feelings. Denied feelings will simply continue to control you because feelings are made to move, not be coddled for days, weeks, or years. So, find healthy ways to be expressive and let them out.
3. Let Go of What No Longer Serves You
Stepping into something new always involves letting go of something old. We have to make room for the new. For example, a baby lets go of crawling in order to walk. As adults, we often have to let go of habits and beliefs that keep us from growing. If I want to sing, for example, I have to let go of the old story that “I can’t” or that “people won’t love me if I fail.” For any step in rebirth and renewal we take, we have to consider what needs letting go of in order to take this step forward? Then, we must consciously choose to let go of it. There will likely be growing pains involved, but that’s the cost of growing!
Think about what this might be for you. What do you need to let go of to find a new sense of freedom? This “thin” doesn’t necessarily have to be a person, job, or tangible object, but maybe a Survivor Self habit. For example, you might be someone who complains a lot, or someone who doesn’t practice gratitude as often as you could. As an exercise, try journaling and self-reflecting on what is ready to die and what is ready to be reborn.
4. Cultivate a habit that encourages rebirth
Once you find out what you want to rebirth, find a daily practice that allows you to cultivate this new way of being. Just having the idea isn’t enough – you need to ground it in your everyday life. LIfe is made of habits, and just as old ways of being and doing become ingrained in us by daily conscious or unconscious habit, so do new ways need to be practiced habitually. This doesn’t just apply to our thoughts, but in what we do as well. Otherwise, our renewal won’t gain traction or become a permanent part of our life.
The challenge – and gift! – of rebirth, once we are past childhood, is accepting opportunities for renewal when they are presented to us and consciously choosing renewal when we need it.
Sadly, we can go our whole life without actually growing up. That’s what’s at stake when we set aside rebirth and renew. But, if you’ve made it this far in this reflection it means you’re listening to that voice in you that wants a new beginning. Congratulations!
Here is an idea to get you going: set a reminder on your phone or stick a note on the fridge to remind you to practice whatever habit you would like to build on.
Most importantly, remember to celebrate your new way of being or doing! Celebration is important because it allows us to access joy, and connect that joy to our new choices and habits. You may have noticed that we humans have a bias toward the negative, and that often keeps us from risking and stretching into something new and better. So, celebrate what is good and what is beautiful in your life. It’s a proven way to help us see opportunities for rebirth that we might otherwise miss, and to fully embrace them once we step into that new beginning, bringing renewal, peace, and joy.
Choose celebration in the midst of all the chaos. Dance, move, call a friend to chat. Do whatever you need to do to celebrate the life that you live.