How do you let go of what no longer serves you? I see a lot about this subject especially in the ongoing Marie Kondo frenzy. Letting go is so much more than cleaning house, or downsizing, or de-cluttering. It is an act of knowing yourself well enough to have the courage to believe there is something richer on the horizon.
I can pack things up and take them to charity, but if the essence of those things still weigh me down, then all I have accomplished is making space in my closet or my cabinets. Letting go requires a little soul-searching and a lot of opening our hearts and minds to what lies ahead.
I am a sentimentalist. I cling to tactile things that hold memories for me. The thing is, I am also guilty of holding onto things that trigger unpleasant memories just because it was a gift. This year when packing up my Christmas decorations, I finally let go of a music box I have held onto for 15 years. It was a gift from a very close friend who one day just decided the friendship was over. Every time I saw it, it brought back those bad memories rather than the joy of the initial gift. So, I packed it up and took it to a favorite charity thrift shop. I am hopeful someone will stumble upon it in the thrift store and it will again regain its joyful energy.
I am confident and content in who I am. Confidence is a blessing and the result of many long years of feeling unworthy. I quit wearing makeup 10 years ago after a lifetime of feeling like I looked terrible without it. (My mother warned me that would happen, but I didn’t listen of course.) So one might ask, why did I still have makeup in my bathroom drawer? If I look closely, maybe it’s because there might be an occasion when I would need it. Need it?
Learning to listen to our internal dialogue serves us well. Yesterday I threw it all out with the exception of a tube of lipstick that I love and an eyebrow pencil. No more reminders of the woman who felt she didn’t measure up unless she was ‘made up’. I kept two things I love because I love them. Nothing else sparked joy for sure!
I have also let go of other’s expectations and in many ways, my own expectations of who and what I should be in this phase of my life. I am excited to let the days unfold and I find myself enjoying every little morsel. Yesterday I noticed the camellias were blooming outside the guest room window. It is not unusual for this time of year when we have a sudden warming trend. I love seeing them knowing it won’t be long before the squirrels find the blooms and devour them.
6 thoughts on “Letting Go”
It does feel so freeing to throw away old thoughts and habits that don’t serve – like the makeup, not just the actual stuff but the feeling that you are less without it. I’m glad you can do it! 🙂
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Yes, my friend! The feeling of being less than is so destructive!
OMG I love this. I so agree it is not just getting rid of things. This past holiday I gave away many things because I do not need so many decorations and because someone else wanted them. I also have drawers full of make-up and don’t wear it ever. This weekends chore is set now, I still really need to de-clutter kitchen cabinets. I have way too much because I used to bake all the time. Time to let go and look forward to what makes me happy.
I want to enjoy the moments more and the need to have less.
Thank you for this post dear Maggie.
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Glad you found a bit of inspiration, Lauren. I am learning more and more about the seasons of my life. Things we used when we had young families are no longer the things I want or need now.
I have already gifted some treasured items to my family. I would rather make that decision than leave it to someone else.
Loved this post. I ditched makeup about a year ago, not that I ever wore much. But. And HomeExchange really prompted getting rid of anything extra in any bathroom cabinetry, closet or drawer spaces. When I cleared out the “medicine” cabinet, I’m thinking — how old is this? do I use it? most of it was discarded.
Amazing to look at your kitchen through eyes of someone else, too— it was all good.
But I’m so appreciative of your sentiment around holding onto to gifts, that don’t necessarily carry good thoughts — I managed to shed those when we moved to Asheville, but it’s always a sifting process.
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Hi, Lisa. The clearing out takes some work as does the letting go. It is well worth the process, though.
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