Beat The Grief Of Letting Stuff Go In Five Stages

Do you struggle to get rid of stuff? Even if it’s something you never use? Grief is something we all have to deal with. When we let things go, we’re losing something. We grieve. It’s coming to terms with that grief that will help you become a minimalist. You can beat the grief of letting stuff go.

We’ve all lost things important to us. Most people have lost loved ones, ended a relationship, or lost a job. These losses cause grief. According to The Grief Recovery Method blog: 

Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind.

Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. That definition packs a big punch. It means something as simple as losing $10 can cause grief. A change in your yoga schedule can cause grief. Letting go of the stuff you once used and held dear can cause grief.

How To Beat The Grief Of Letting Stuff Go

So how do we beat grief on the road to minimalism? You may have heard of the five stages of grief. The five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with something or someone we’ve lost. But here’s a secret in regard to letting stuff go: You go through these stages before you give things away. That way you’ll beat grief. Here’s how it works:

  1. Denial: You deny that you have too much stuff. Although you really know you do, you try to pretend you don’t. You have to get beyond this.
  2. Anger: You become angry with yourself because you know that you’re not being honest with yourself. This healthy anger pushes you another step closer to letting stuff go.
  3. Bargaining: This is when you actually begin to consider what to give up. You bargain with yourself. You convince yourself that you can keep the jeans you rarely wear if you let go of the shoes you never wear. This is okay because you’re getting closer to letting stuff go. You can beat the grief.
  4. Depression: I love my CD collection. I’ve let go of 900 out of 1000 CDs. I get depressed just thinking about letting more CDs go. But the fact that I’ve reached this level of grief almost guarantees that I’ll follow through. I know I don’t need CDs I never listen to, but I need to accept that fact so I can beat the grief. 
  5. Acceptance: When you accept that it’s time to let things go, you’ll be ready to take that trip to your local charity. You’ve already dealt with the grief.  

Grief Hurts A Little Less Each Time We Let Go

It’s been my experience that losing someone or something close to me gets a little easier with age. It’s the same way with giving up the excess stuff in your life. The more stuff you let go, the easier it is to let go of more stuff. Why? Because you’ve become more practiced in the art and the power of dealing with grief. You beat the grief because you do the grief work in advance.

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James Ewen
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