Difficulty letting go is one of the reoccurring themes that I frequently encounter in my organizing work with clients. In fact, this is often one of the first steps in the organizing process. You can’t organize if you haven’t gone through the editing phase. Many clients find it extremely challenging to let go of their physical stuff, places, ideas, unhealthy relationships, items from their to do lists or unproductive habits. Of course the challenge with letting go isn’t reserved only for clients. I see this also with family, friends, colleagues and myself.
The tension between holding on and letting go is part of being human.
I find it interesting too, that even nature is finding it hard to let go this year. Winter just hasn’t seemed ready to transition. Just this week, what should have been a beautiful spring day was anything but that. I was surprised waking up to plants covered with snow and cool temperatures to match. Spring wants to arrive, but winter isn’t ready to let go and make room for growth.
Isn’t that what our challenge with letting go is all about? We hold on tightly to what we think we might need or want even if it’s value or usefulness has long passed. We hold on because it’s familiar or comfortable. We hold on because we’re fearful of letting go.
So what makes it so hard to let go? For me it depends on the what. Letting go of clothes I no longer wear or don’t feel good in, I can easily donate. However, books that I’ve read and might want to refer to again, I have a much harder time giving away. Papers that need to be saved or archived for tax purposes I keep, but junk mail, read magazines or notes that I’ve attended to, I recycle without hesitation.
I suspect that you are much like me. There are things you can easily let go of and others that prove more challenging. I also recognize that sometimes it’s OK to hold on. We might not be ready yet to let go. However, when we are ready to clear those things and thoughts that are holding us back, it is liberating and energizing.
What is hard for you to let go of? What’s easy? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.