Wait! Don’t “give that away!”

Do these words sound familiar? We’ve either said them or heard them from someone we know and love. It’s hard to let that old sweater go, even though we haven’t worn it in years. It used to be the “favorite” or it’s reminiscent of a happy time in our lives, or maybe it “broke the bank” and we swore we’d wear it forever. We can find every excuse in the book for not letting go. Until the day we’re faced with making the “big decision” because we realize that the stuff is occupying valuable real estate in our home. What makes letting go so difficult?

The difficulty lies in our internal conflict. The conflict between following a value—something that is important to us-- and following fearful thoughts--something that is familiar to us. When we consider letting go of something we are in touch with the value around our space and sense of spaciousness. At the same time we are giving value to the fearful thoughts about the outcome of letting go. Choosing between the two is stressful. Only one can win!

Imagine for a minute that we have two selves. One that is wise and all-knowing and another that is irrational. This wise part can see the big picture and remains calm and trusting. The irrational part has tunnel vision and perceives everything as negative. The wise part knows what’s truly important, while the irrational part believes that it must cling on in order to survive. The wise part is accepting and loving and the irrational part is judgmental and fearful. Let’s look at an example.

A former client of mine, an entertainer, had a very dressy jacket that she bought fifteen years ago and couldn’t let it go because she paid $600 for it. She agonized over giving it up because all she was thinking about was how much she loved it, the check she wrote for it, and the great times she had in it. It didn’t matter that it was out of style, didn’t fit, and hadn’t been worn in ten years. Together we processed her fears around the money and the “what if’s” around it coming back in style.

The wise part of her knew that having more space in her closet would allow for new clothes. The irrational part of her was saying she would be giving up a part of her life, throwing good money out the window, and being reckless. As we processed her inner conflict she allowed the irrational part to “speak” accepting all its tantrums and fears without judgment. Talking it out allowed her to come to the conclusion that her fears were unfounded. She let go of the jacket with ease.

When faced with fear—false evidence appearing real—the best line of defense is acceptance not resistance. Notice it, name it, and welcome it. See it for what it is. Conflict and struggle are clues that we are dealing with fear. We might even experience physical feelings, for example, tightness in the stomach. Learn to laugh at the irrational part. Laughing will help loosen the tension and pump oxygen into the blood stream. Being relaxed allows for more clarity. Giving the irrational part a name is another useful technique.

Struggling with letting go of something? Have a conversation with your selves. Acknowledge, express, and release the mental clutter dominated by fear and find yourself lighter mentally and physically. And you’ll have a home for another favorite sweater!

Author's Bio: 

Maggie McCauley is an Organizer Coach--Certified Life Coach & Professional Organizer. She has background in clinical social work. She is the sole proprietor of A New View, a life coaching, organizing and speaking business. Visit her SelfGrowth.com Expert Page and website: www.anewviewforyou.com to learn more about her.