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Kat VonTesla

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How to let go of your old/past self

After doing a great deal of digging over the past five years or so, I've found countless books and articles on advice you'd give yourself in your childhood, teens years, 20's, etc. I've also found articles on how to plan for your future and how to visualize what you want as well as a sort of "plan of attack" in doing so. But there seem to be little to no resources out there for how to just be in your own skin, presently. I honestly don't have advice for my younger self. I had some good and bad times. And with my ego as a child/teen, I wouldn't have listened anyhow ;) I have some great plans for the future... but my problem has always been in comparing my current self/partner/job/physique/lifestyle to the one I had (nostalgic "had", not actual). I'm always trying to get back to who I am. But that "am" doesn't fit who I honestly AM now. I'd love to hear how others get in touch with reinventing their current self and how to acknowledge, honor and then let go of the old self without it feeling like some kind of a death.

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    Aug 20 2013: Hello Kat,
    There are many interesting comments in reply to your quest, but I will focus on the last phrase of your introduction where you say you are seeking a way to let go of the old stuff "without it feeling like some kind of death".
    Sorry; it's going to feel like some kind of death - and inevitably so. Why? Because our current identity is grown out of, and maintained by, the beliefs and habits of that old self - so in letting go of that old self we have to let go of our identity that is enmeshed in it, and in so doing it feels like a (partial) death.
    However, I would say that this process is a normal part of growing into psychological and spiritual maturity. Mystics have called this experience "dying to self so that we might live" and "the dark night of the soul". We can choose to have little "dyings" every every day, or wait until a big crisis comes along and then we have an opportunity for a bigger "dying".
    {From a zen perspective I can recommend Cheri Huber's "There is nothing wrong with you"; from a Christian perspective I can recommend Thomas Keating's "Invitation to love"}

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