How to Let Go of Things That Hurt Us

We all have things that hurt us. I’m not talking physical hurt, but emotional hurt. Especially the ones caused by items we surround ourselves with.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s those items that bring up bad memories each time we look at them. They may remind you of hateful words said by the person who gave you the item. Or remind you of an embarrassing event you’d rather forget.

There is also an emotional hurt called guilt. How many times do you feel guilty about wasting money on supplies for a sewing, craft, or home improvement project you never finished. Your intentions were good when you bought those things but you never got around to finding the time to complete them.

I know I’ve had many items like this that have caused a lot of painful guilty feelings.

If you look around at your possessions I’m sure you’ll see some things that bring up bad feelings. Maybe they are bad memories, guilt, or anger.

Some big questions we have to ask ourselves are:

Why am I keeping these things?

Do I feel I deserve to be punished?

Do I feel I don’t deserve to be happy so I keep these things around to punish myself?


Emotional Ties – What Are They?

Emotional ties to an object can be either good and bad. But when they affect our lives in a negative way we need to question why we continue to keep the items.

Here are few things that are hard to let go of and the reasons we use to keep them.

  1. An unfinished project you paid a lot of money for the materials.
  2. A gift from someone and you don’t want to hurt their feeling by getting rid of it.
  3. An item reminds you of a bad experience but it’s practical or was expensive.


How to Break Emotional Ties

You deserve to surround yourself with things you love. Don’t let illogical thinking keep a hurtful item in your home to punish you.

One of the best ways I have found to break those emotional ties is to ask yourself questions about each item. Sometimes it is painful to deeply examine our feelings. But once you realize how many of those feelings are false and the reasons for keeping an item is unfair to you, it will be easier to let go of them.

  1. Do the negative feelings I get from this item serve me any purpose?
  2. Does this item and how it makes me feel move me forward?
  3. Do the negative feelings I get from this item work in my favor in any way?

Below are some questions on a few specific kinds of items.

Unfinished projects: Eliminate the guilt.

  1. Do I still want to finish the project?   If yes, schedule time on your calendar.
  2. If no, give it away to someone who will finish it (schools, other crafters, charities, etc.). The money is gone. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Move on to things you enjoy doing.


Unwanted Gifts: You don’t want to hurt the giver’s feelings.

  1. Are their feelings more important than mine?
  2. If so, why do you think it is this way? Don’t your feelings count?


Practical or expensive items with bad memories:

  1. It may be practical but do I avoid using it because of the bad memories?
  2. Could it be given away or sold, then replaced with another item I will use or enjoy?


A few other things to remember:

  • Gifts given to you do not come with strings attached. If the giver is expecting something in return it is not a gift. It is an exchange of goods and services.
  • Don’t sacrifice your happiness just because your taste isn’t the same as the giver.
  • Many inherited items are just clutter your deceased relatives couldn’t get rid of it themselves. Don’t let their baggage weigh you down.
  • We all make mistakes and/or change our minds. Just because you spent good money on something doesn’t mean you have to let it become your ball and chain.

The article Is It Junk or Treasure has more questions to help you cut the emotional ties that are preventing you from letting go of your clutter.

Let go of what weights you down. That is the only way to move forward.

To a lighter load along the way.


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