Why do we hold on to the pain?

Life is funny – the more space you have, the more things you collect.

I’ve noticed this lately in my own home, where some early spring cleaning has revealed that while I need things to be organized, I also have difficultly letting things go.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a pack rat necessarily, but when it comes to paperwork… well let’s just say I’ve cut down my share of the forest.

But what alarmed me most while going through a few folders buried in a desk drawer were its contents. While there were many wonderfully positive things I still find worth saving, there were also a sprinkling of negative things I’d chosen to save for some reason. Personal and professional correspondents that were littered with defamation and even hatred and yet for some reason I was storing them safely in a drawer where ultimately the wound was left to fester, rather than to heal.

Why would anyone want to hold on to things that were painful?

Simply put, because sometimes we really don’t want to let go of the people we’ve attached that pain to. In our hearts and minds we believe it’s the only way to stay connected to them, no matter how illogical it might sound.

But one day, when you’re cleaning out a drawer filled with papers, you realize that holding on to the pain you’ve associated with an inanimate object and the people who’ve created them will not change reality. All it really does is rob your life of the joy it deserves.

Finality is never easy, but if we’re ever going to find closure and move to a better place in our lives then ridding ourselves of past pains is one of the best ways to do that. Believe me, it was a pretty liberating experience for me.

I’m reminded of a quote by Frederick Keonig: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”