I have a tendency to get attached to things in my life that hold some sort of sentimental value – particularly, birthday cards. For years and years I have stored every single birthday card I’ve ever received in a little cubby, where I can go back and look upon them whenever I feel the need – to remind myself of happy times, that I am and have always been loved, and to pull up memories that may have already begun to fade away.
Looking at my birthday cards makes me feel good about myself, and that is why I keep them. I’ve developed a sort of attachment to them though, and as a yogi who aims to practice non-attachment, this is not good.
The other day, my husband and I were cleaning the house and he came across some cards from my recent birthday (back in April) that hadn’t yet been stored away. He asked me if he could throw them away and I immediately got a pang in my stomach.
I didn’t want him to throw them out. I wanted to put them in my little cubby, so that one day I would be able to go back and look at them and remember what life was like for me when I turned 28.
Every card has a private message meant just for me: well wishes, words of wisdom, love. They make me feel good about myself and they make me feel valued; but I don’t need them.
I know that these people love me and value me, and I don’t need a card to tell me that. So why do I feel so attached to them? Why am I so hesitant to give them up?
I think it’s because there have been times in my life where I have felt less than loved, valued, appreciated or worthy. There have been times in my life where the messages on these cards have been everything I needed to hear to pull myself out of the dumps. There have been times where, without the words on the cards, I haven’t been able to see or feel my own value. When you come from a place like that, it’s hard to let go of things that create those feelings.
Even though I’m not that girl anymore. Even though I know myself, and I recognize my own value, sometimes I look in the mirror and I see the girl that I used to be, and she is the reason I keep those cards. Should she ever resurface, I want her to be able to see those cards and know that she is loved and valued and appreciated. I want her to be okay.
The thing I’ve come to realize though is that she doesn’t need the cards anymore either, because she has something now that she didn’t have before.
She has me.
So, after thinking about it briefly, not only did I allow my husband to throw the cards away, but I also went into my cubby, without giving it a second thought, and I threw all the other cards away too. Boom. Attachment-free (in that aspect at least).
Do you have any attachments that you can’t seem to let go of? Sentimental items that feel important somehow? Why do you think you’re holding onto them? What purpose do they serve and is it really serving you?
Photo Creds to Ben White