Letting go of something that didn’t quite work, that perhaps shouts “MISTAKE!”, or brings to mind a significant amount of money spent (for little gained) every time you see it, is a hurdle that many of my clients face when detoxing their environment. Such things are often ‘props’ that assisted at certain times in a person’s life to help them explore a part of themselves or deal with a particular situation.
Everyone has many roles and personas that come together to make their identity and their life. Possesions can reflect this. For example, I was a university student, I had dreams of taking up the violin again, I was an avid thimble collector, I used to think that tartan high heels were cool. If I hadn’t donated or sold things related to these past roles and interests, but had held onto them in the hope to return one day to these hobbies and stages, there would be a lot of unnecessaryand complicating clutter in my home. That’s not to say that I don’t keep some sentimental items but those kept are very special and support the evolving history of who I am now and who I am becoming.
The question is often how do you work out the difference between something that is just contributing to the clutter in your life and a possession that adds to your present life? One aspect to notice, and something I focus on when working with clients, is to observe and draw attention to language choices.
What do you notice about these two phrases?
“I used to love this dress!”
“I can’t wait to wear this again when the weather gets warmer!”
Yep! One is past tense and the other is future tense. To me this shows that someone is still going to use an item and enjoys doing so!
Being alert to such language helps in two areas: it lets you think expansively about releasing ideas you hold about yourself. And it creates more spaces to honour who you are now and all the amazing things you are doing at the moment that are leading to your future.
It’s empowering to replace guilt or the label of “MISTAKE!” with the possibility of being, as Amanda Brooks says, ‘inspired by your own past triumphs and amused by your mistakes’.
As for the most sentimental objects or those favourite old clothes and shoes you may be having difficulty letting go of, thank them for the joy they once brought you and the points of departure they provided.
Another empowering and leveraging technique is to take photos of sentimental items, such as awards, trophies and old t-shirts. Such photos can be the bridging tools to deal with a fear of completely forgetting something and yet still moving it along so you can also “move along”.
With those thoughts in mind, looking around now, do you see things that represent the you that lives in the present? Are they part of the thread taking you towards the future or the anchor holding you back?
Organising heart, head, and home