A recent client uncovered a painting that was given to her by her mom. We found it hidden in the back of a densely packed closet. She disliked the painting, but she didn't want to let it go. The difficult part for her was that it was given to her by her mom who had passed away.
My client said, "I know, but it's from my mom and I think it would be wrong to let it go." I could see the tug of war going on inside of her. In some way it felt like she was having to say goodbye to her mother. I think that's why it was buried in the back of the closet behind a lot of other things.
She was feeling defensive, so rather than challenge her, I went with her intention. So I said, "Okay, then let's hang it on the wall." She cringed and said, "Can't we just put it back in the closet?"
I said when we try to bury things that have an emotional hold on us, a part of us knows we are hiding something. And it's hard on us to live with fugitive things.
I said, "Plus you don't like the painting, so by hanging on to the art, you associate your memory of your mother with something you dislike. That's hard on your heart. If you let the painting go you won't forget about your mother. Your connection with her will become deeper when you don't have to depend on something you don't care for to remind you of her."
My client looked at the painting and then put it in the donate pile. The anguish she'd been feeling over this was gone.