This morning I worked with a client who is going through a very intense divorce and child custody battle. She seemed brittle and fearful. She looked down a lot. She felt lost.
We went through boxes in her bedroom closet. There were a lot of photos in boxes. I asked if she enjoyed having photos in her life. She said no. She said it felt too overwhelming trying to look at the pictures. I said most people feel that way. I suggested I'd hand her a small number of photos at a time. She would look through them and make a decision based on whether or not she liked the picture she was looking at. She agreed. We quickly went through many pictures. Most of them ended up in the trash.
We came to a golden metal box. She said she couldn't look at the photos in that container. She said they were photos of her marriage. I asked if it would be okay if I handed her one at a time. I said it would be worth going through because the presence of pictures that made her feel that badly would have a detrimental effect on her in her home over time. She agreed. It was slow going. There were hundreds of photos of her marriage to her ex. She felt anguished. In a quiet and broken voice she said, "I think I need to hang onto all of these for my son to look at when he's older" I said, "The thing you need to do for your son is to be happy now. He needs you to be strong, present and open in his life. Choose the ones that will make you that way." She smiled and sat up. She quickly looked through and picked five photos and happily tossed the rest away.
Sometimes we rationalize hanging onto things because we think we are supposed to, or we worry about how others will respond to our letting them go. Rarely do we take an honest look with the intention of seeing what we enjoy and what makes us happy. I encourage everyone to notice what makes you feel tired and uninspired, and what actually brings you joy and fulfillment. It's worth rooting out the things that don't add anything to your life. When you do, you blossom on the inside and it radiates out to the rest of your life.