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Tiny Wisdom: What Stuff Are You Holding on to and Why?

“Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” ~Steve Mariboli

While preparing today’s reader-submitted post about Spring-cleaning, I started to think about my collection of old journals, which I wrote from age twelve through twenty-one.

Many of these are depressing. They paint a picture of a sad, lost little girl who struggled with self-esteem and chose a number of self-destructive habits to cope with overwhelming pain.

On many occasions, I’ve considered burning these to symbolize transformation, but a part of me always resists.

On some level, I see these as badges of honor. They’re reminders of who I used to be and how much I’ve overcome and grown.

But I wonder sometimes if it would serve me better to acknowledge my current strength without needing to compare it to former weakness.

For years, whenever I met someone new, I told them my whole life story, as if to say, “When you judge me, as I know you will, keep in mind how far I’ve come!”

Perhaps I keep these journals because on some level, I say the same thing to myself.

That stack of old books on my shelf may seem insignificant—and it may seem unnecessary to analyze why I’ve chosen to keep them—but I believe the things we hold onto speak volumes about where we may be subconsciously stuck.

And the attachments we form can give us insight into how we can set ourselves free—if, that is, we’re willing to peel back the layers of our motivations.

Sometimes we hold onto things simply because we want to appreciate, enjoy, or honor those memories. But other times, they tether us to the past and serve as physical representations of the limiting stories we tell ourselves.

It’s not the stuff that carries an emotional charge; it’s the meaning we give it.

It’s not holding onto stuff that weighs us down; it’s how we think about it.

That box of old letters from an ex can be a trove of happy memories, or it can be a reminder of what you fear you may never have again. The difference is literally all in our heads.

I haven’t committed to getting rid of those journals, but I have started exploring my purpose in keeping them to ensure it empowers me instead of limiting me.

What stuff and stories are you holding onto—and why?

Photo by AlicePopkorn

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and co-producer of the newly launched podcast Next Creator Up, which helps people overcome their blocks and create what they want to create. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here.

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