Sometimes you simply need to hit delete in your life. Whether it is the actual delete key on your computer to delete a mistake you type, the delete icon on an email or other online item you no longer need, or a metaphorical delete to something in your life which no longer benefits you. It is incredible what this one small action can do for you. And yes, it may be a very painful act to complete, but it is often the best (or only way) forward.
That is the key. You are deleting so you can move forward in a better way. If your email inbox is too cluttered, deleting a few (or many) unnecessary emails will not only present a cleaner view, but it will make searching for things you DO need much easier. If that picture of your dog who died 2 years ago makes you sad and cry every time Facebook adds it to your memories, save it somewhere else (so you can see it WHEN YOU CHOOSE) and delete the memory so you don’t get a surprise anniversary reminder. If there are people in your life who only make you feel bad, delete them from your life. Perhaps more important that people who make you feel bad are the people who aren’t necessarily negative influences, but they TAKE infinitely more than the GIVE. These are the often unseen, or ignored, influences who end up dragging us down or holding us back. When they give, they brighten us and fulfill our lives—in that moment. That moment doesn’t make up for multiple others which have little or no benefit to us. DELETE!
Guess what, you may find out you deleted something in error or at some point you want it back. Most things in life have a failsafe if you regret your decision. You can find that deleted email or load a previous version of a file. That friend may reach out to you and offer something beneficial. It may take time and effort, and it may come back to you in unexpected ways and times, but the things we need in life do come back—IF WE ACTUALLY NEED THEM.
I went through a “Facebook Purge” several years ago because I thought, “Am I really friends with this person? No. Delete.” Many of those people have found their way back into my life and I have “rediscovered” a true friendship and “un-deleted” them.
I have maintained files and collections of my past and overlooked or ignored deleting them. My initial thought was, “This is part of my past. It is part of me. I am who I am and where I am because of these experiences.” Recently however, an aspect of this was brought to my attention in a glaring and uncomfortable way.
As I was looking for a specific picture I had to scroll through hundreds of pictures. As I scrolled back in time I was reminded of things, situations, and people who didn’t have a positive influence on my life. The details of all of these experiences is not the heart of the story so I will omit them. The point was, as I scrolled through picture after picture I became increasingly uncomfortable with the whole thing. Yes, these pictures represent my life and where I have been, but they don’t all represent who I am today. It was in that moment I chose to hit delete. It wasn’t a complete erasure of the past, it is who I am.
Some may argue, as I did before this event, that cleansing the past isn’t helpful either. So much of our versions of history have been cleansed of all the dirty details in light of the good that ultimately came through the event, but to ignore the ugly details isn’t helpful either. To that I say, in my own instance, the ugly details embodied in the pictures are all a part of me. They have made me what I am today. They have brought me to where I am today. Everything about me is representative of the details and pictures I am choosing to delete. I don’t need a constant reminder of them to remember the lessons I have learned and the knowledge I have gained.
Scrolling through a seemingly endless barrage of images which didn’t bring me any form of joy, but rather escalated my anxiety and frustration, was not something I needed to repeat. So, did I edit history? Yes? I didn’t eliminate it completely, but I learned to power of delete.
I can easily delete files and pages of text I have created in order to consolidate and de-clutter my life. Through one experience I learned the value organizing another important part of my life by hitting delete.
Do yourself a favor… Hit delete on the things you don’t need—the things taking up unnecessary space in your life (physically, emotionally, metaphorically, mentally, digitally, or any other form they possess).