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  • Writer's picturePoppy Wonnacott

Letting Go Of The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

In December I cleared out a drawer full of paper documents. It was an overflow of statements, bills and letters. I know many might consider this a job for Spring, but I didn’t want to take unnecessary items into the New Year.

So, I shredded bills, then old course notes before moving onto personal mail. I’ve kept cards and letters from close ones over the years as receiving snail mail is such a treat in our online world. But I found some letters from friends I hadn’t spoken to since childhood. There was no need to hang onto those, so I shredded them and ended the year feeling like I was carrying less.

Within a week, I felt an urge to make my living space feel as light as that drawer. So I looked in each room and wondered, do I use this? Do I love this item? Or is this item a tenant taking up valuable space and not paying rent via use or beauty?

So a Lloyd Loom chair in need of repair got listed on Ebay. Clothes not worn in two years joined three piles: recycle, charity, or something lovely to keep and stare at. Some of the books I’d read and felt ‘meh’ about are now with my local charity shop. And that was huge for me as I am a serious book hoarder.

But the main thing I let go of was a gift and a story I told myself about it.

Someone gave me this gift and said something flippant about it at the time. They would never have dreamt how I heard the words they spoke, because the gift was one of love and care. But their words reminded me of something I lacked at that stage. I didn't see the gift for the joy it could give me, I could only see the gift as a symbol of what I didn't have.

So every time I looked at this item it reminded me of my ‘lack’. It made me think outside of myself, imaging that this was how others saw me. And I kept on telling myself that same repeated nonsense story when I looked at it.

But it was nothing more than a story. It wasn't my truth. It wasn't the truth of the person who gave me the gift. And if my brain associated the item with the nonsense tale, then the item had to go.

So, I took it to my local charity shop. I let it go. It will be useful for someone else, but it wasn't for me. I don’t want to hold on to stories that aren’t my truth, I don’t want to let them linger like they’re tenants. Old stories are guests who can leave, so show them the door kindly, and let them go.

What stories are you telling yourself right now? How can you challenge them and let them go?


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