I want to talk about “letting go.” I know a lot of people, maybe you’re one of them, have a really hard time letting go of things. You look around your house and you want to have less stuff, but you just have a hard time making the decision to let it go. So… what do you do?
You want to be able to release the things, but how do you do it?
I wanted to share a couple of reasons why you would have a hard time letting go.
1. Your identity
The way you are – having too much stuff – this may have become an identity that you’ve created for yourself. It’s what you say about yourself. Other people may say it about you, too.
It doesn’t mean that it’s true. It just means that’s what you BELIEVE is true about yourself.
Take a moment to think about this.
When you think, “I’m emotionally attached.” How does it feel when you say that?
“I am emotionally attached to my things.”
“I don’t like getting rid of my things.”
After thinking about what feeling that brought up for me, I had this picture: I thought of the little rubber ball that kind of looks like a COVID drawing with the little suction cups all around it. All of my things are just attached to me on those suction cups.
Or, I think of a mom with an umbilical cord attached to a baby. It becomes part of you and it’s hard to separate from it. (We love our babies, but it’s a GOOD thing, an essential part that our babies don’t stay attached to the umbilical cord.)
Of course it’s hard to make a decision to let something go when we have the identity defining us… I AM emotionally attached.
2. Closed fist
Try doing this: clench your fist really tight and hold onto the stuff that you have. You can see how it would be hard to let go of your stuff when you’re holding on so tightly.
Now, try this: Open your hand up. Just try it and practice that feeling of letting it open and being loose.
This is an illustration to yourself that you can have your hand open, but you’re choosing to have it really tight and closed.
The next time you need to make a decision to donate something or to keep it, practice this physical act of opening your hand up after having it clenched.
You can ask yourself, “What if I don’t hold onto this thing so tightly?”
3. I ‘should’
Another reason people have a hard time letting go is they think they should keep it.
We should keep gifts that people give us.
Parents should keep every picture that our children draw for us.
We should keep the things that we inherit or the things that were special to other people. If my grandma loved a certain teacup or blanket, then I feel like I should keep it to honor her.
But I like to just question all of those “shoulds.”
We think we should do it. Why do we even think that? Where did that belief first come from?
You don’t have to change and there’s nothing wrong or right with any of it.
As you think about it, you loosen it up a little bit. You can discover and be curious about why that is.
4. Hurt feelings
The other thing I was thinking about, which is kind of tied into the shoulds, is that if we get rid of something, it will hurt someone’s feelings.
As a coach, we learn and are trained in the fact that our feelings are coming from thoughts that we have. We have a thought and then it creates an emotional response in our body. That’s what we feel.
The feeling doesn’t come from another person’s actions, it comes from a thought we think about that person’s actions. Our thought causes us to feel something.
If you donate an item that someone gave you, THEY might have a thought it like, “She shouldn’t donate it. She should have kept it.” Their thought might cause them to feel sad.
YOU might think that, but we have no idea what they’re going to think.
Even if we think we know, we don’t really know.
If you really want to know what they think, you could simply have a conversation with them.
Just to emphasize again, none of this is right or wrong. I’m not telling you whether you’re emotionally attached to something or that you need to change. You don’t. But…
If you want to reduce the amount of stuff you have in your home, you could explore these four reasons.
One of the simple action steps you could try is to take a few minutes to journal. If you’re not a journaler, at least take some time to think about this.
What is your identity?
Write down what you believe about your identity.
- Are you an emotionally attached person? Do you have a hard time making decisions and letting go of stuff. That’s fine. Write that down.
- Now, write down who you WANT to be. If that sounds hard, I have some ideas to help. What do you want to believe about yourself?
Did you know…
💥 You can be anything and believe anything!
💥 Changing your belief (how you think of yourself) is available.
Maybe you want to believe that you are someone who allows others to think and feel what they want.
I’m going to allow that person to feel happy that I got rid of stuff from my home or feel sad that I gave a certain item away.
I’m someone who can allow them to feel what they want.
Maybe you want to think that you are someone that only keeps what you enjoy and love and use in your home.
What if you believed…
“I am a person who allows others to feel how they want to feel?” Then you took action to prove this true.
“I am generous with my things and donate freely what I’m not using.” So instead of believing that you are emotionally attached, you believed you were generous.
“Freely donating things I’m not using is easy because I love knowing other people want them and need them.
What have you been believing and what would you like to believe instead? Don’t these other thoughts bring hope to your soul?
Here are some more thoughts to “try on”:
- I trust I will have everything I need exactly when I need it. (That’s one of my favorites.) When I let something go, I can look at it and think, “If I trust that I’ll have everything I need when I need it, I can let this go right now.” I can believe that I will have it if I need it. Maybe I’ll buy it again. I could borrow it. Maybe someone will give it to me, but I believe I’ll have it. Right now I’m not using it.
- I’m someone who’s generous and donates my things so people can have them if they need them.
- I LOVE a spacious home.
- I feel light and free when I only have what I’m currently using around me.
Want more help?
Play around with this identity of yours and write a couple of sentences about things you want to believe about yourself.
Maybe at this exact moment, you don’t necessarily completely believe them. That’s okay.
We work on this in Organized Life Academy. I help you grow into that belief.
There are tools you can use along the way. If letting go is challenging for you, then jump into Organized Life Academy HERE.
You might like this post 5 Simple Habits a Professional Organizer Does to Stay Organized.
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