Learning to Have Compassion for Ourselves

You may have a reason for hanging on to something (a thing, a person, an activity) that is no longer a part of your life. At the same time, you try and ignore that the presence of this thing has some harsh side-effects like mental chaos, exhaustion, and depression.

It's like the drug commercials on TV where they tell you the benefit and then list all the terrible things the drug will also do. It's presented in a way that deeply hooks you to the initial benefit and makes your shrug off the side-effects.

When I work with clients, I like to disregard my client's attachment to something and completely look at the effects. They hired me because they are in pain and they want to feel better. I expect the attachment to the things that are causing them pain. I ask them questions so they can hear themselves say the side-effects out loud. It helps to matter-of-factly say, "I don't like this." "It's driving me nuts having this in my home." "My closet is driving me crazy." "I hate to wear this." "This is keeping me from falling asleep at night." "I just want to feel good in my home."

It's learning to see things as they are. A chair may look very comfortable. You may have spent a lot of money on it. Maybe it was comfy at first. Perhaps it was a gift. Maybe the ads made it look like heaven on earth. But if sitting in the chair is a pain in the ass, the pain is all that matters. Learning to see if something is bringing us joy or causing us grief is clutter busting.

By clearly seeing how something negativity effects us, without the intimidation from the attachments, we get the strength to let it go. It's like when we see someone else in pain and we help them. If they cut themselves, we get them a band-aide. If someone is crying, we sit by their side and help them feel better. We start to have that same kind of compassion for ourselves. We're learning to tend to our needs.