Unless you have been on a social media hiatus, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo. She’s a Japanese organizing queen. Soft spoken, always smiling and amazing at teaching people how to let go.
Marie Kondo teaches that in order to decide what to keep in our homes and what to let go of, we should hold each object and ask ourselves, does this spark joy? She says that the more that we practice this skill, the easier it will be for us to feel what sparks joy and what doesn’t.
If an item sparks joy, we keep it, finding a special place for it in our home. If something doesn’t spark joy, we thank the item for being in our lives, and then with gratitude and love we let it go.
This is a far cry from what usually happens when I go through my closet. Trying on clothes that no longer fit, stuffing things that are worn into a garbage bag to be tossed or feeling guilty for not loving that shirt I paid too much for but never wear. It’s a process filled with guilt and mostly negative feelings, a stark contrast to the calm and peace that Marie Kondo creates while she is letting go.
It got me thinking, what if we did this with people? What if I let go of people in the same way that Marie Kondo suggests for letting go of physical things?
I’d been treating the ending of relationships the same way I was treating those clothes in my closet. Holding onto items out of guilt or because I’d had them for so long. Getting rid of things only when there was something clearly wrong with them by throwing them into a trash bin. I’d picked up somewhere along the way that getting rid of things meant that the thing no longer had value. I’d carried this into my relationships, mistakenly believing that if someone ended a relationship it meant that someone wasn't good enough to make the relationship work.
No wonder letting go of relationships had felt so painful.
The guilt that I felt when I didn’t want to hang out with someone anymore and feeling not good enough when someone didn’t want to hang out with me, both stemmed from the idea that we could only let go of things that weren’t good.
What if letting go didn’t have to feel like that? What if letting go could be as simple as thanking an item for being in my life and gently placing it in a box to go to it’s next home?
Letting go could be done with gratitude and love, instead of guilt and hate.
It would sound like this:
Thank you for being in my life.
I’m so glad we had all of those great times. Remember that one night? The best.
No feeling guilty.
Just love and gratitude.And you’d only be left with relationships that spark joy.
When we thank things before we let them go, something magical happens. Instead of letting go being full of grief, sadness and hurt, it becomes something else. It becomes something open, full of love, and hope for what will be - for both people.
Is there a relationship in your life that no longer sparks joy? Do you need to let it go? Take a minute and write down 3 things that you were thankful for in that relationship. Then, from love and gratitude, let it go.