Sometimes during a clutter bust a client will want to hold on to something they don't care for because they are worried about how someone will respond if they let it go.
I remember a couple who didn't care for a painting the husband's brother gave them. But they didn't want to hurt the relative, so they hung the painting on their bedroom wall. For over 15 years! I once worked with a woman who hated the bed that she and her husband slept on, but she kept it a secret from him because he liked the bed.
It's not always stuff. I worked with a client who told me horror stories about the mean things her friend had done to her. She didn't want to end the friendship though because she worried it might hurt her friend's feelings.
We're encouraged in life to make decisions so as not to hurt another, when in doing so hurts ourselves.
I remember breaking my wrist as a kid. I went to the hospital and had a cast set on my wrist. One of the hospital workers gave me a sling and then put a safety pin on the sling to give it a snug fit. The thing is, the pin went through the skin on my elbow. I was afraid to tell the person who did this because I thought they would feel badly about having hurt me.
We put what we think the other person's reaction will be in front of the effect it's having on us. That doesn't stop the pain though. We get used to living with the discomfort.
What I encourage my clients to do it to put the effect things have in their life in the forefront. I want them to feel the discomfort that they are already feeling. It takes some courage to consider yourself first. You're admitting that you don't need to take a hit for someone in order to be okay in their eyes.
Once you see the full effect of the pain you took on to protect another, you want to let go of the source.
The couple took down and Goodwilled the brother's painting. The woman told her husband she didn't like the bed, and he was glad she was honest with him, and they got another bed. The woman wrote a letter to her friend telling her that she couldn't see her anymore.