Luminita D. SaviucÂ is no stranger to hard times. The blogger behindÂ Purpose Fairy.comÂ grew upÂ with an abusive father, spentÂ part of her childhoodÂ in a Romanian orphanage, and then struggled in a toxic romantic relationship as an adult.Â But she refuses to let those difficult experiences define her.
âThe story of your past doesnât have to become the story of your life,â Saviuc says in her new book,Â 15 Things You Need to Give Up to Be Happy ($12;Â amazon.com), which is based on one of herÂ blog posts that went viral (1.3 million Facebook shares and counting).
In the book, Saviuc shares many of the lessons sheÂ learned during her healing process,Â as well as insights from ancient Eastern wisdom, contemporary spirituality, and scientific research on positive psychology. While many of theÂ concepts are rooted in complex ideology, the takeaway is simple: To move forward, you needÂ to let go of the things that are holding you back.
We reached out toÂ Saviuc to find out where to start.Â Below are the four thingsÂ that she recommends giving up first.
In her book Saviuc quotesÂ novelist Roderick Thorp: âWe have to learn to be our own best friend, because we fall too easily in the trap of being our own worst enemies.â
Sound familiar?Â By focusing on our shortcomings, we lose sight of what we can do, explains Saviuc:Â âThe quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your beliefs, which then determines how you live your life.â
Try to catch your self-criticisms as they runÂ through your mind, andÂ ask yourself: Are these things true? and Would I talk to a loved one this way? The answer to both questions is likely no.
The more you factcheck yourÂ negative thoughts, the less power they will have. In time you will becomeÂ kinder to yourself, says Saviuc, and more self-assured. When that happens, letting go of all the other things willÂ be muchÂ easier to do.
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Apprehension, nerves, anxietyâthey're all in your head, says Saviuc. Unconvinced? Try to visualizeÂ your own funeral.Â âIf you take yourself to the very end and imagine your death bed, you realize in that moment all your fears have no power,â she says. WhatÂ doesÂ matter is your sense of regret for all thatÂ you did not doÂ because you were scared.
To begin shedding your fears now, try redirecting the unpleasant emotion whenever it crops up, sheÂ suggests. The idea is to crowd it out of yourÂ mind. WhenÂ you feel frightened (of rejection, failure, loss), shift your focus to somethingÂ you love or enjoy (your family, your friends, a run in the park, a day at the beach).
This trickÂ worked for Saviuc. "I immediately started letting go of fear, replacing it with loveâlove for myself, love for my life, and love for the world around me."
The first step to giving upÂ your past is accepting it: You can't change it, but you can learn from it,Â SaviucÂ points out.Â âThe painful things Iâve experienced taught me to forgive, look beyond appearances, and know that if people treat me badly, itâs because theyâre in a bad place,â says Saviuc.
Once you reframe your pastÂ as a learning experience, you start toÂ free yourself from old wounds. Remember that your future is in your hands, she says "There is plenty of happiness waiting for you in your present life."
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Most people believe that havingÂ things (a car, a house, a significant other) leads to happiness. But ironically, SaviucÂ says, itâs our attachmentsâor our fear of losing thingsâthat causes so much of ourÂ suffering.
âItâs important to explain to yourself that nothing in this life is ours to keep,â she says. âOnce you embrace this idea and make peace with it, life becomes so much more beautiful."
You will notice an improvement in your relationshipsÂ too. When you give up your fear of rejection and loss, the love that you give becomes selfless and more pure.
As with anyÂ mental block, givingÂ upÂ your attachments will take time and practice. Just try to be better today than you were yesterday, says Saviuc. "It all starts with the intentionâafter that, everything falls into place."