When There's Joy and Pain

At a recent clutter busting workshop, someone brought in some Christmas tree ornaments.

As she started talking about them, she began to cry. She loved the ornaments. But last Christmas her daughters came over to her house and when they saw the ornaments, they made fun of them. They were critical of her. This hurt her heart. Those memories were making her cry.

When she looked at the ornaments, she felt joy and pain. She didn't know what to do with them.

I said sometimes things are a mixed bag. They make us feel good and they hurt us. Often what we tend to do is hold on to the item for the pleasure, and (try and) push away the pain. But we can't successfully hide what hurts. It will negatively affect us even if it's not obvious in the moment.

That's why I encourage honesty and openness when taking an inventory of what's in your life. You want to know if something brings you discomfort. Seeing the pain can be difficult because you can be invested in the benefits it also brings, or that you wanted it to bring.

But it all comes down to loving yourself enough to say no to what hurts, no matter how shiny it is.

The woman with the ornaments didn't like living with that hurt anymore and she put them in the donation pile. I sensed her feeling of relief.


I'll be in San Diego March 2nd-23rd. If you live in the area and would like to hire me for an in-person clutter busting, send me an email at brooks@clutterbusting.com