Learn to let go

Getting rid of junk has a therapeutic effect. It creates more space in our homes and in our hearts, too.

BY NATURE, many of us are hoarders. We tend to keep stuff that we no longer use, in case some day they come in handy. The result: we end up cluttering our homes. When we are unwilling to let go, the clutter around us weighs us down emotionally and physically.

This year I decided to clear all the unwanted items in my cupboards. So, does this mean that I now have more space?

No, not this time around. My resolution is: less for more. With less stuff I will have more space in my cupboards and I am going to leave it that way.

Just looking at the empty space makes me feel lighter. Besides, it is time-consuming and laborious to get rid of unwanted stuff.

Letting go isn’t easy. Doing so doesn’t mean that we are giving up.

Not wanting our belongings doesn’t mean that we are preparing to die. It merely indicates that we are moving on to another phase of our life. Just like a child giving up his toys for books, CDs or sporting equipment.

By giving away things that are no longer of use to us, we may be doing a good deed, too. Television sets are most welcome in old folks’ homes, orphanages or any organisation for the less privileged. If you have one that is still functioning and you no longer need it, give it away and spread some joy to others instead of letting it gather dust in the storeroom.

Memories hold treasures from the past. The pleasant ones are for us to cherish, while sad moments often bring a tear to our eyes. Remembering them only makes us human, but dwelling too much on them may not be healthy. It is distressing that some old folk have a strong emotional attachment to their possessions, and cite sentimental reasons as an excuse not to let go.

I used to get a few ringgit in return for old newspapers and periodicals, which I sell to the lorry man who comes around the neighbourhood.

Now I find it strange that he’s paying me to cart away my junk. When I moved house last year, I was delighted to find that my new neighbourhood has a recycling centre, which collects recyclable items for charity.

Now, I send my old newspapers to the centre as a way of donating to charity. By doing so, I have turned my clutter into “treasure”, for a good cause.

I have also donated my children’s books, toys and reusable items to a nearby orphanage. I’ve sent loads of old clothing to the Red Crescent Society for distribution to flood victims and the less fortunate.

Decluttering is therapeutic. By giving something away, we create more space for ourselves – in our homes and in our hearts. It’s good to know that someone else can make use of something we no longer need. It gives us a chance to share and care for others. Instead of dragging ourselves down with the extra baggage, we can shed unnecessary weight.

Besides our homes, our lives need decluttering too. Positive thoughts and better communication with our family and friends will result in less arguments and stress, and give us more peace of mind.

Despite their advanced age, it’s sad to see that some elderly folk just won’t let go. They continue to harbour negative thoughts, grudges, hatred and resentment.

Friends and family members who might have wronged them in the past have never been forgiven. Some remain prejudiced against their offspring who do not do well career-wise, or have brought shame to the family.

It is sad that they have hung on to the past with bitterness, cluttering their hearts and minds for decades. Learning to forgive and forget would help release us from such bondage. Unfortunately, because of pride, some find it difficult to do so, for doing so is akin to losing face or power.

If only we could learn to accept, be willing to forgive and let go. It would be so much easier to shed our emotional baggage and move on with our lives.

The Star


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