When you consider whether something is part of your life or not, you sometimes have to contend with a powerful emotional attachment that doesn't want to let go. It wants you to avoid asking, "Do I like and use this, or can I let it go?" It does this by distracting you with an intense feeling of sadness, hurt, or anger. It's very much like a dog growling to get you to back away.
If you don't know what's happening in this moment, it's easy to drop the clutter busting altogether. But knowing what's happening can help you take a pause in the moment. When this great pain shows up inside you, you can feel compassion, as if you are listening to a friend tell you their feelings. It's an intense feeling that wants to be felt. It wants to be heard. You can help by listening with understanding.
Yes, there's pain, but it can't hurt you. Your listening helps release the pain, and with it, the attachment.
Someone wrote about her experience to me recently:
"It's been an extremely emotional process for me, but a healthy one. My attachment to items, or rather the level of attachment, was never truly understood. There have been many tears in this process but they are purging of squelched emotions. With every bag of stuff I release, released too are the negative emotions and need."