Sometimes we hold on to things long after they’ve outlived their usefulness.
1. Clothes that haven’t fit for years. Do you know that pair of jeans you’ve been holding onto for years because “I’m sure they’ll fit me again after the holidays”? Maybe, but which holiday? The last time they fit you was 1990. Our bodies change over time. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means that your dimensions have…morphed. So it’s okay. It’s time to say goodbye.
2. A “hair-do” that doesn’t…or at least shouldn’t. I worked with a woman who had a beehive hairdo for longer than bees have been making nests in that shape. If a style looks good on you, keep it. But don’t hold on to a style just because you’re too lazy or scared to try something new.
3. Christmas lights that your mom gave you. I admire frugal people, and I’m not above grabbing secondhand stuff when it’s an option. But when you plug in that strand of lights, you’ll likely find that a burnt out bulb prevents the whole things from working. You can find that bad bulb and replace it. But unless you like the ROI of spending 12 hours to repair a $2 string of lights….well, you get my point.
Those things are obvious. And I’m sure you know people who hold on to the pants, the hairstyle or the hand-me-down far beyond what is considered healthy, normal or right. Just as obvious to others is when we hold on to personal traits that don’t serve us well.
4. A grudge that gathers dust. From an evolutionary standpoint, fear and negative emotions have a purpose. Those feelings trigger cortisol and other “fight/flight” chemicals in our bodies to get us to move out of danger. Having a grudge for a while can be useful if it serves as a reminder to stay clear of a person until the emotions heal. But “a while” isn’t defined as three generations. You might find that it’s time to part with a longtime grudge you’ve held. And anyway, the only person who’s hurt by your feelings is you.
5. The need to be right. Frequently, the two “little people” (what I call my youngest daughters) in my home feel the need to argue with me. I’ll say, “Sierra, please pick up your coat.” She’ll say, “It’s a sweater” as if since I’m too daft to tell the difference between a coat and a sweater, she has no need to obey me. It’s not cute when kids feel the need to be right. And it’s even less cute when adults do. Psst, if you’re one of those who needs to be right, here’s something your friends won’t tell you: you can be insufferable to be around. Be “wrong” occasionally. It’s the rightest thing you can do.
What other kind of things do people hold on to for too long? What would you add?