I’ve found that to make room in my life for what matters, I must let go of what doesn’t.
Things I’ve let go of … anger, resentment, whole people. College papers, superfluous books and magazines, objects that conjured unpleasant memories. Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent years letting go of what no longer serves me. (That may be because I have.)
After clearing all this clutter, I find that I have space. Room to breathe.
When I let go of insecurity and preoccupation with myself, I was able to see what was really going on with other people, and hear what they were actually saying.
When I let go of my collection of all the nasty notes and letters anyone had ever written me, I let go of the negative emotions around them.
When I let go of my college papers, I was able to come into my own as an adult more fully.
Letting go really beats hanging on.
One of the most satisfying things I’ve ever let go of was the truly hideous variegated brown enamel kitchen sink that came with my house, a darling 1920s English Cottage-style bungalow. I gather this brown stuff was popular sometime in the late 60s or 70s, but it’s never been popular with me. Before I moved in, a friend and I went over to scrub the place down. She ran a paper towel along the edge of the sink, and it came back the same brown as the enamel. Later on, I knew the sink was clean because I’d cleaned it myself, but I never could shake that image.
So one day when I was reading Josephine Collins’ Home As a Sanctuary and one of her lists of “10 things you can do right now,” no. 8 jumped right out at me:
8. Get rid of or replace one possession that you really don’t like or use very much. If you can choose something that you have had to look at every day, the improvement will be more obvious.
Right there in black and white, definite encouragement to kick that awful sink to the curb. I found a lovely white porcelain Kohler sink, and a beautiful old-fashioned nickel faucet with white porcelain Hot and Cold taps, and had them installed. Ah … sooo much better.
If it’s bothering you, it matters.
See also: How to eliminate and prevent clutter