Is letting go a privilege?
Is the ability to easily let go of things a privilege?
I want to explore this idea, but first I want to talk about chapstick.
I own too many chapsticks. I don’t easily forget the discomfort when I lack it and really need it, so I kind of overdo it and keep too many… Just in case. Anything to avoid discomfort!
I think how much somebody is willing to part with comes down to one thing: Trust.
How did you grow up? Were you well provided for? Were your basic needs met for food, water, shelter, and clothing? How was your experience with love? Were your needs for connection met, or did you experience rejection, neglect or abuse? When we see the world as a place that provides, we don’t feel the need to keep as much stuff, as a buffer- as a just in case. If we have known loss, trauma, need, hunger or deprivation in any form, it can make getting rid of things rather tough. I believe that how people act in a moment to get rid of stuff reflects their own trust in the world they know. Sometimes people with not-much-money are not only satisfied but wildly appreciative with what they already own, and live very simply. Sometimes folks with lots of money still yearn for more, not trusting that long back stock of supplies will hold out. Stuff can make us feel secure and safe when the world has shown itself to be very much of neither.
Do you trust the world to provide for you? When you consider giving something away, what’s your thought process? Pay attention to your justifications the next time you go through this process.
I do trust life to provide. I’m not a spiritual person- talking about manifesting and affirmations makes me squirm. But I grew up very privileged- not only in the sense I was well cared for, sent to good schools and never wanted for anything (except for maybe another toy here and there, as a young child). I was also supported, bolstered and loved. Things weren’t always epic- my mother was seriously ill for 11 of the 16 years I knew her. But I still experienced a wealth of care and love from her and others around me. These favorable circumstances and privileges created trust in me. I feel that I have all the love, money, success, connections and possessions I need to not only survive, but thrive and be a happy Eliza.
Not everyone has the trust that I do. Too many people don’t get their basic needs met, nor love and care on the level we need for our entire lives. When something precious is taken from you, and you remember how that felt, it is understandable that you wouldn’t want it to ever be taken from you again. I’m not just talking about poverty- it could be your belongings being thrown away without your consent. It could be that you grew up wealthy and provided for and even loved, but were told you couldn’t do or be something that you wanted to do or be; that could make somebody feel deprived of a lost dream.
Deprivation, or the perception of it, makes us hold on tight.
Satisfaction and abundance, or the perception of it, makes it easier to let go and feel generous.
I already have everything I want and need.
… Except I could use like, three more chapsticks. Just in case.