I receive a lot of emails and direct messages from people embarking on their journey to minimalism. There is often a common thread among them – excitement to get started, overwhelming anxiety, and uncertainty about where to begin. And there is often concern that the task is going to be “too hard.” As I’ve shared before, my journey was slow and steady for many of the same reasons. It makes me wonder, “Why is it so hard to let go?”
For many, our attachment to things is rooted in more than necessity. Things can be/represent:
- status symbols of wealth
- items that impress others
- items purchased on impulse with the hopes of filling a void
- too pretty to use but too lovely to let go (use the pretty things!)
- an emotional attachment unique to an individual
Perhaps it seems particularly hard to let go of certain things because it’s a choice. When we lose things through disaster or unfortunate circumstances, the same standard doesn’t apply. In those situations, most people are simply thankful and grateful to be alive. In those situations, it’s so much easier to recognize things that are seemingly so hard to let go of are just that – only things.
Learning to value life and experiences over the need to accumulate things continues to be a part of my journey. Of course, I am not suggesting that such values must be mutually exclusive or cannot coexist. The next time you are considering letting go of some thing that you haven’t used or worn in awhile and it seems “hard”, ask yourself why. The answer might surprise you. Understanding the “why” is a part of the journey.