Giving up things can be really complicated.
There’s a reason why a whole industry exists abound professional “declutterers” who support and organize peoples’ efforts to give up physical things that they don’t need or use in their spaces.
Sometimes we “know” we need to give something up…but there’s a difference between knowing something in our head, and being ready to do it in our gut.
Sometimes we “know” something’s toxic for us…but we can’t imagine life without it.
Sometimes we “know” something has outlived is usefulness…but we get anxious about not having it if we suddenly need it again.
Sometimes we “know” that something is no longer consistent with who we are or what we’re all about…but we can’t quite let go, because we’re not at all sure that WE truly understand who we are and what we’re all about.
Giving things up can stir up all kinds of memories and emotions.
We remember times when we were forced to giving something up before we were ready.
We remember times when we didn’t have any choice BUT to let go, because something beyond our control had taken a thing or a person away from us.
When we give something up, we also have to give up the fantasy of our life with that thing in it.
Letting something go is an admission that we’re never truly going to have a life with that thing or person in it.
Acknowledging those realities can be painful. They can be sad. They can be infuriating.
Giving certain things up can be a blunt reminder that our lives haven’t gone how they were “supposed” to go.
Letting something go may feel like admitting defeat— especially if we’re letting go of a thing that we purposefully let into our life in the first place.
We allow certain things and people into our lives for specific reasons.
We think we have an idea, a vision, or what our life can look like with them in it— and we like that idea. We want to move toward that vision.
Giving the thing or person up is an acknowledgement that we were wrong.
It can make us feel silly, stupid, or immature for having hope that things could be different.
Letting go of certain ways of thinking about or being in the world can feel like we’re just asking for pain or victimization. Especially if we’re talking about beliefs and habits we acquired in the aftermath of trauma or abuse.
Even if we “know” that certain beliefs or habits aren’t serving us anymore— aren’t actually keeping us safe, even if that was their original function— it’s not easy or simple to just let them go.
We have to give the “letting go” process the time, space, and work they deserve.
We have to let our feelings be exactly as they are, at least for a minute— exactly as big as they are, exactly as confusing as they are, exactly as painful as they are.
We have to come to terms with exactly how important this thing or person has been to our life.
We have to acknowledge that, even if we’re letting go for a good reason, letting go is always going to entail loss— and loss is always going to entail some form of mourning.
We need to not insist that this process be quick or easy.
You’re going to run into plenty of people who will advise you to let plenty of things go.
The way they say it will sound effortless and obvious.
Some people will suggest that the only reason you’re NOT letting something go is “you must not really want to let it go.”
You’re allowed to have mixed feelings. This whole thing is complicated.
To effectively let go, we need to know that our decision is coming from a place of committed, consistent self-care.
Letting go is a risk. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.
But some risks are absolutely worth taking for our own health, safety, and realistic growth.