Thursday, May 28, 2009

Letting go is a major theme!

I was looking through years of photos recently, and came across the picture of these shoes. They were my favorite shoes for such a long time! They were easy to slip on and off, comfortable, and because they were white, matched everything. This is actually the second pair, as the first became so dilapidated that I had to throw them out…but not before I had found an adequate replacement.

Actually, I had to resort to extreme measures to get rid of that first pair. I just could not part with them to save my soul. They were ratty looking and a filthy that even bleach and detergent could not correct. I had worn them so much and in wet and warm temperatures, and they didn’t smell very well. But I loved them! Every time I tried to throw them away, I would immediately fish them out of the garbage for “one last wear”. I finally put them in the garbage one day and then left the house. I called my husband to make sure that he would dump the garbage and take the temptation away from me!

Eventually, this second pair met the same death. I think this time, I left them in a hotel garbage, knowing that I could not go back to get them.

First of all, I’m a cheapskate. I love a good deal, and I will make something last forever just to make sure that I get my money’s worth. I rarely own more than five pairs of shoes at one time, because I am so practical; one set of black heels, one pair of black flats, tennis shoes, one pair of light colored heels, and something that I can slip on in a hurry. With these five, I can pretty much cover any outfit that I might wear, and I just can’t bring myself to buy cute shoes for every outfit.

I’m also hesitant about change, because with change, there is the possibility that I will not be as happy with it as if I had stayed with my original option. I get attached to things and people easily, and it’s hard to break that attachment. I actually miss those shoes, even now, and it’s been years. Which is one of the thinking patterns that I need to break. I hold on to things (as previously discussed, like grudges) even when they are not good for me. My poor white shoes, for instance, that were stinky! I knew that they were stinky, and I sprayed them and washed them and all of that to try to get rid of the smell, but they were still stinky. Even so, I was comfortable in them, and I couldn’t bring myself to just throw them away. I keep clothes that don’t fit or are ugly, because I might need them someday. I keep odd things because they are sentimental or might be used in a craft project. Every so often, I have to purge my stash, just to keep my home from being overrun. I have to take full advantage of those moods, because it’s the only time that I can get rid of things and not feel bad the whole time!

I know that this is what happened in my last job. It had become something that I wasn’t benefitting from, and might even be hurting me. Yet, I could not let go because letting go was scarier than facing the facts.

I held on to the friends that I had because they were my friends. Even when it became apparent that they were not making me feel good about myself, or supporting me in the good things that I did. I held on to them because I was afraid of not having any friends. I held on too long, and it made the separation that much more painful, because I had let them hurt me before I walked away. I should have stepped back when things were still good, so that I was able to say goodbye without the anger and resentment.

I love the email that circulates that talks about friends being there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes, people come in to our lives for a reason. It might be fleeting, and when they have served their purpose, they move out of our orbit. Other times, they are there for quite a season before falling out. Some friends will be there for a lifetime. I just haven’t figured out how to use this in my life. I keep trying to hold folks close when they are past their time -- their expiration date, if you will! I don’t want things to change, I just want to add to my life. But that’s impossible; one cannot continue to add people to their lives and never change their roles. My counselor says that I miss them because I haven’t replaced those spots in my life, and she is right. I’m working on that. We do need to maintain a certain number of people in our lives, or we will be lonely and isolated.

This doesn’t change the importance of those people in my life at the time that they were supposed to be there. I had some wonderful times with them, I learned from them, and I value the memories that I have. I’ll keep the memories. But the old shoes have got to go!

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