Letting go can be difficult.
We see it when a relationship ends. We see evidence of it because of all the things we hold onto. And most obviously, we see it in children.
I babysit a boy who has Angelman Syndrome.
He has a strong grip on his toys. He doesn’t communicate by talking, so it can be difficult to take away a toy since he doesn’t understand that I’m taking it to be washed. One technique the parents showed me was that if I wanted to take away a toy, I could simply put a clean toy in front of him. As he saw and reached for this new option, he loosened his grip from the messy toy.
You have a new option.
When given the choice between having debt or being debt-free, I’m pretty sure you’d usually choose debt-free.
Cluttered room or simplified? Simplified.
Out of shape or in shape? In shape.
But when the choice is between making an extra payment toward a loan or having cable, many people choose cable.
A month’s worth of clothes or a week? A month.
Jog a mile or eat a bag of chips while reading a good book? Chips, please!
A 13-year-old I babysit gets annoyed when asked to clean her room. Once it’s clean, though, she gets annoyed when anyone messes it up. She takes special care in preserving and enjoying its beautiful state.
See, my room isn’t a mess because I don’t want it to be clean. It isn’t even messy just because I don’t want to do the work. If I see something as worthwhile, I will put in the effort. My room is messy because for years I didn’t see how keeping it clean was an option. A simplified space didn’t seem practical or realistic for me.
I don’t have enough space for my stuff.
I don’t have time to get rid of what doesn’t fit.
I want to keep my stuff.
I have more important things to do than declutter and organize.
Those were my excuses. So every day, I accepted a cluttered room. I didn’t fight it, didn’t try to have a clean room.
Just like the 13-year-old, I get annoyed when thinking I have to declutter my room. But once I get a section simplified, I get annoyed when it starts getting crowded again.
Loosening My Grip
Still, for the most part my grip on clutter is tight…
until I see a picture of a room on Pinterest.
Then I want to throw everything out my window. Sadly, that’s also impractical.
But at least my grip is loosened. I’ve seen another option.
I read a few articles on regular people turning into minimalists. I start to believe it’s possible for me. As I reach for this new option, I loosen my grip on clutter a little more.
The Secret to Letting Go
Letting go of anything is a daily choice. There is always the option to pick up the old–the clutter, the credit card, the cupcakes.
The secret to letting go isn’t just seeing, wanting, and believing you can have a better option. It’s seeing and choosing that option over and over in the little things even when that choice means giving up something you love, something familiar, something safe.
That is sacrifice. And it’s the secret to the habit of letting go. It’s knowing you gave up something good for something better.
The more you do that, the easier it will become.
You won’t see sacrifice as a drudgery but a joy, an opportunity. You won’t focus on what you lost but on what you gained.
Sometimes that messy thing you gave up will return to you clean. That money you kept choosing to put toward a loan can now be put toward cable or whatever you want. That almond milk is drinkable because you’ve gotten used to it. That 1-mile run is no harder than walking used to be.
What is it that you aren’t letting go?
I don’t want to tear it from your grasp.
I just want to tell you there’s another option. Freedom.
Freedom is real.
Forgiveness is real. Paying off debt is real. Getting in shape is real.
Real people do these things everyday.
Find their stories.
It really is amazing, but these aren’t exclusive clubs. It can be you.
It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Find the stories that make you believe it is possible for you. They took steps to letting go. Follow them. Make it happen. And, if you must…and I mean only if it really helps, sing that little song from Frozen while you do it.
What has helped you let go of things that hold you back?
Share your secrets to letting go in the comments below.
This is part of a series on developing 3 habits for living tiny. Read the previous post here. And be sure to sign up for the newsletter to enjoy some freebies and reminders to live tiny!