Letting Go of the Measuring Stick

A client last week found a bunch of papers in her files from an old job. She hadn't worked there in three years. She wanted to hold on to the papers. I asked if she ever looked at the papers. She said she hadn't since she left the job. I asked if she needed to keep the papers for any reason. She said no, but she still wanted to hang on to them.

My client seemed nervous. I pointed this out to her. She said, "But I did a lot of great work at that job. Don't I need to keep these papers to prove that?" I asked who she needed to prove that to? She thought about it. Then she quietly said, "To myself."

My client said she realized that keeping the papers was hard on her because it supported a critical judgement of her worth. She wanted to be easier on herself. She let the papers go.