When the pain of hanging on is greater than the fear of letting go, we let go. We’ve all been there – from having our training wheels taken off our bicycles to ending a relationship that no longer serves us, from parting with a favorite pair of jeans that haven’t fit for the past 4 years to saying goodbye to our kids going off to college for the first time, it is not always easy to let things go. But what if hanging on to things that no longer serve us or that we no longer enjoy were actually interfering with our ability to move along in our life and allow new people and opportunities to come to us?
In practical terms, we would have nowhere to move in our homes if we held on to every piece of clothing we ever owned throughout our lives or every piece of mail we received or every photograph we’ve ever taken. We understand this on a rational, logical level. But why do we hang on to things that no longer serve us, that are not helping us get to where we want to go in our lives and that create obstacles for us, not to mention taking up space where something we truly love could be placed? There are many theories and psychological/emotional reasons for why people keep things around – fear of loss, what if I need it one day, fear of moving forward, fear of change, it belonged to my deceased relative, fuzziness. The list goes on and on.
You have to be willing to be real and honest with yourself about who you are in present time as well as where you see yourself moving in your life to be able to know whether to keep the trophy you won at the bike rodeo from 1972 or the picture with the avocado earth tones your great aunt left you or any other item you choose to keep in your environment.
It’s about knowing who you are and where you are going and what it will take for you to get there. Will this _________________ (fill in the blank) bring me joy? Does it represent visually who I am and where I am going? Do I love it? And if none of those questions help you reach clarity about whether to keep or discard or donate one of your treasures, ask, would I pack it and move it 5 times? That usually helps seal the deal.
It’s also helpful and appropriate to invite an objective person to assist you in navigating through the clutter clearing process. Sometimes we are so connected to our things that we cannot see what no longer belongs or “fits” with the rest. The challenge of deciding to keep or not to keep is also the key to unlocking the freedom to adventures and opportunities that are awaiting. Seize the opportunity and release your stuff and yourself.