Reflections: Letting Go

That’s my final Zone of Discomfort challenge of the year complete!

This challenge was probably the hardest of them all! Because I’ve realised that I am someone who does indeed like to hoard!

Letting go, didn’t necessarily mean throwing away. Although a fair amount went in the bin, I was able to give things to people who will gain more value from them and a few bits went to the charity shop.

As the challenge went on I began to notice a shift in my behaviour. Firstly, I stopped automatically saying yes when asked if I wanted a receipt at the till and secondly, before purchasing something I asked myself a quick few questions:

  1. Do I really need this?
  2. Will it serve a purpose?
  3. Do I already own something similar that will do just fine?

During this process of letting go it became apparent to me that memories are in my head and not in the items themselves. Getting rid of an item did not remove, alter or change said memory in any way.

I began to understand it wasn’t the attachment to the things that brought me joy, but rather the memories of them that do.

Yes, having something physical can act as a reminder and bring back memories which are attached to an item, but really and truly when the item is gone the memories believe it or not still remain.

I have become more purposeful with what I own and use my space with intention and felt like letting go was a freeing experience. As the challenge progressed the desire to hold on to material possessions diminished and it became much easier to let go.

The biggest thing that the challenge did for me was reveal that I’m not living in line with one of my key values, which is to live in the present moment.

I held (and still hold) on to a lot of things and have learned that is for two main reasons;

1. As a ‘just in case’ in preparation for the future

2. I hold on to things to remember a time that has passed.

I will never get tired of saying that the only moment to exist is the here and now. And this is why I am so big on mindfulness.

Rob Bell puts it so well:

There is only now.

All of your memories can only take place right now.

And all of your thoughts about the future can only take place right now.

And the only thing that goes on forever is the present.

Learning that I wasn’t living in line with my key value inspires me to do better and continue to let go of and stop holding material things to such a high regard.

As obvious as this sounds, when you let go of something believe it or not nothing bad happens.

I’m talking generally now, but in terms of relationships with others, the thoughts you have and whatever else you may be holding on to which doesn’t serve you, that initial sense of loss will go.

If anything, this entire challenge was more about self-inquiry: asking questions, being more aware and exploring what things meant to me.

So to remember: keep what makes you happy and let go of what doesn’t serve you.

As the minimalists said, letting go is a superpower.

Letting go gives you space, clarity and can help create a new perspective.

I’m taking what I’ve learned from this challenge into the New Year. I don’t buy many things but when I do I’ll most definitely be more mindful not only about the financial cost but the space and energy spent to keep and maintain said thing also.

Not buying something is simply letting it go in advance – The Minimalists.

This will be my last post of the most unpredictable 2020 we could have all imagined.

Thank you to everyone who’s taken part in my ZoD challenges. And I hope my posts have been of some value those who have read them.

I’m going into 2021 with less clutter and more clarity on who I am and what I value.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a mindful 2021 🙂

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