My son wanted new toys so I responded by telling him he needed to get rid of some toys. At that time, he was 6- years old and he looked like I had told him he was to bed with no dinner. How do you explain making room for new toys to a 6- year old? We were sitting on the floor in his room playing with cars so I asked him to pick up two cars putting one in each hand, he did. There were other toys around the room, I picked up two toys, and said, “If you want new toys you have to let go of old ones. Do you want these?” I showed him the toys in my hands and he responded affirmatively. “How can you get these with those in your hands?” I asked. In his eyes I could see him thinking deeply as I sat silently waiting to see what he would do. One car was placed on the floor followed by the other and the response, “I have to put these down.” Exactly. My son has a room full of toys. It was not that he did not like his toys, it was the desire for something new and different that had him engaged in the conversation. Yet, a conversation about new toys presented him with an uncomfortable choice. Letting go of something he liked and was familiar to get something he wanted. Holding on to those cars and other toys because of familiarity or comfort was the only thing keeping him from the new toys. All he has to do was choose to open his hands. Often that is what keeps us all from getting what we say we want or our deepest desire.

We hold onto the familiar or comfortable tightly. That familiar or comfortable may be a job that provides benefits, but you have dreamt of something new or different. It could be living in the same city for years and talking continuously about going somewhere else, but the city and people are familiar or provide a level of comfort. Then, there is you. Yes, you. You are the culprit in it all conspiring against yourself to only be familiar with the same things you have seen from yourself. Being comfortable with who you have come to know yourself to be. The concern, guilt, anger, frustration, mediocrity, and other self-defeating talk has become familiar and comfortable. “What would people say?”, “Can I do it?”, or “Last time I did that it didn’t work” come up. That past stays in your present like an ever-present headache promising not to go away. Better yet, it is that ever present voice that speaks, questioning your every move and decision, even when you never asked for its opinion - it’s incessant. Nevertheless it is familiar and comfortable. It gets louder when you start to consider that you might be able to do something different and especially when you begin to look at who you truly are at your core. That means looking at the toys you have in your hand and deciding to open your hands to get something new. A new view of who you are, your purpose, and what is possible for you in your life. Only you can open your hands and let go. Only you can choose to step into something new. Only you can begin to embrace what is available when you get out of your own way and open your hands.

The comfort of what is in your hands makes it seem safe but also acts as a barrier. It seems like what you have is all right, and it might be. Yet, consider, my son went through his toys and got rid of broken toys, donated some toys, found he had duplicate cars and got rid of them, and once that was done he had space in his room for toys he never imagined. I bought him a large helicopter, action figures, Jeeps, more Matchbox cars, and it was all because he let go of the familiar and comfortable and opened his hands. Opening your hands may be scary right now because things, places, people, and even who you know yourself to be is familiar. However, opening your hands will open up a greater world that you could imagine, but it is you that has to be determined that holding on to the familiar and comfortable is no longer acceptable.

How do you proceed with opening your hands? There are four things necessary to make opening your hands happen with ease:

1. Determine what you want: We often say we want certain things, there is one thing that pulls at you. What is that thing? It might be that you want to move to a larger house, you want a different relationship, or even you want to be paid a greater amount of money. Determine what it is you want.

2. Get strategic: Being strategic is simply having a design or master plan; call it a road map. That road map includes the people who are necessary supports whether you know them personally or not, places you need to go, your vision, and deadlines. You do not have to see everything or attempt to predict the “how” of it, have the plan and strategize, the “how” will open up. Being strategic can reduce the anxiety and fear that will stop you from completely opening your hands.

3. Choose to move on it: Now that you have a strategy, it is time to move. No one has to live your life, but you. You have to choose to take the step to get to your goal. There is no magic bullet except to say “Yes” to your desire, dream, or want, then, take the necessary steps to get there. No one is saying that it will be easy, but will be worth it once you see things opening up.

4. Be determined: Rome truly was not built in a day and neither will your goal be achieved in one day. If it can be achieved in one day it is not big enough and you are playing small. If you are going to jump, jump far, go for the deep end. Be determined that you are going to make it happen no matter what. Determination and belief in yourself as well as in your abilities is crucial. Be determined, believe, and jump.

You may not see the way now, when you open your hands the way will begin to emerge. Something greater is waiting for you, just open your hands and let go.

Author's Bio: 

Sidney Gaskins is a trained coach, consultant, grief and pre-marital/marital counselor. She has worked with Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools, Sunny Delight employees, and many professionals in creating productivity both in their organizations and personal lives. She is adept at strategic planning and development, increased productivity, expanded opportunities, and effective communication for both business and life. Her impact has come through facilitation, workshops, presentations, and one-on-one sessions with individuals, families, employees, business owners, and executives. Sidney has a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Urban Studies, and is currently earning an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.